The baby is nineteen months old now. He’s not really a baby anymore; he’s a toddler and is getting to grips with the usual toddler stuff (climbing, jumping, throwing things – including tantrums). One of the important life-skills he has yet to get a handle on is sleeping.
Regular readers will know that he has never slept well. At first, it didn’t bother me – newborns are supposed to wake every two hours after all. But instead of getting easier as he grew, it got harder. Some nights, he woke every forty-five minutes and I thought I would lose my mind. Occasionally, I probably did. We co-slept, because it was too hard to coax him back to sleep in the cot only to have to do it all again an hour later. I learned how to get by, surprisingly well, on three hours broken sleep a night. My writing productivity took a nosedive, because something had to give, but otherwise I was OK. Just monumentally grumpy at all times and prone to spectacular meltdowns at the slightest provocation. Even at eighteen months, he wouldn’t sleep for more than a few hours at a time.
Then I went to a party and my husband took over the night-time duties. And it dawned on us that a pattern had emerged; when my husband did the night-time wakes, the baby went back to sleep more easily and slept better than with me. So we decided to try an experiment – we’d try to leave him in his cot all night and my husband would get up to soothe him when he woke. The first night, he woke once and slept until five-thirty the next morning – a first with me in the house. The next night was a repeat performance. Night three was a disaster, where we resorted to co-sleeping again and neither the baby nor me got much rest. Since then, we’ve been resolute – he sleeps in his cot until at least six o’clock and my husband deals with the wakings. But before you think I’m getting a full night’s sleep at long last, I should say that my husband sleeps like the dead and I have to wake him up to tell him the baby is crying.
At any rate, it feels like we might be making progress. If you’re in the same boat, i want to tell you that there is hope. Next month, I might be living in the land of an unbroken night’s sleep, and not only because I have two nights away at a conference.
Seven hours’ sleep, every night. Imagine that…