09 Apr pop quiz
At what age do babies start sleeping through the night?
a) 3 months
b) 9 months
c) 2 years
d) 5 years
e) none of the above
The answer is E
I have to apologize to all my new mom friends (hi, Liz!) because I know you’re looking for that light at the end of the tunnel. And I should be here to encourage you, to assure you that YES, they do sleep. One day. Eventually. All this hard work you’re doing right now in this moment pays off because THEY WILL CONSISTENTLY SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT.
Except, at age five-and-a-half, B still does not.
Granted, it’s not the same tortuous sleep deprivation we experienced when they were
barnacles babies, nursing every hour throughout the night. I no longer have to change diapers or bedding at 3 AM (unless someone is puking.) I recognize I am past that milepost on the parenting trail, as beautiful and trying as it was.
This toddler-variety sleep deprivation is different, but it’s still frustrating, because BY GOD why can’t they sleep through the night?! They know how! Time and again, they’ve proven that they know how! Sometimes, several days in a row, they might snooze a full 12 hours and my body settles into the restfulness like it might actually be a new reality. Sleep. I am finally getting some sleep! I remember what this feels like. Laaaaa! But just when I begin to take it for granted, we have several hideous nights. Up and down and up and down. Potty and water, and I see strange shadows, and Ollie is snoring, and can you rub my back? I’m hot. Now I’m cold. And I just have to tell you that I REALLY love you Mommy. Yes I know it’s the middle of the night, but I couldn’t wait to tell you I LOVE YOU and I needed to clean my room.
Last night B stumbled in at 1:00 AM and begged to sleep with us. “I’m having troubles, Mommy.”
I knew what saying “yes” would mean. I knew she would pretzel herself and kick me in the gut and exhale her not-yet-morning breath in my face. But I wanted to tuck her beneath my chin and absorb her sweetness all night, feel her back swell and relax against my chest. I wanted to rake my fingertips through her hair for a few minutes, hours, years. I could spend the rest of my life snuggling like that.
This morning? Coffee. Extra strong. Kids, rested. Mama, sleepy but happy.