My first baby was high sleep needs. I say this now, because I know this now. Then, I thought my baby’s sleeping habits were because I was a good mom. Hehehe.
I know some moms with kids with low sleep needs. I’d see the posts, but never comment. I’d talk to the mom friends, but never say anything. But I’d go home basking in the good boundary setting skills I had, and the fact that my son loved the eat • play • sleep routine he was on and I’d sleep all night because he did. I really suck at routines, so I was super proud of myself for knowing wake times, limiting screen time, and knowing exactly when my son would take his first and second naps and that he’d be asleep by 8pm at the latest. I read all the books and made a combination of routines and schedules from them all and was proud of my first time momming. I did it. I created nap time and I created all night sleep. GO ME. SO GOOD AT MOMMING. I WON.
He turned one, kept a nap until just before he turned three and at the ripe old age of four and some change still asks permission if it’s okay for him to sleep a little bit in the car and is asleep (ASLEEP) by 7pm sharp most nights. He cannot hang. With any less than 12 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period he is a bonafide turd. And he would prefer to be well rested otherwise he yells at us about how he doesn’t like any people or any things.
Enter: SECOND KID.
She came in like a wrecking ball, 10 days after her due date and transverse up until her birth month. She’s made the rules since day one– we planned to start trying to get pregnant in September, and found out I was pregnant with her the end of August. Earlier this week I picked her up from the nursery at the Y and the teacher was like “I didn’t know she could talk, until she started telling me stuff that she wanted. She knows a lot of words.” Yes. Yes she does. She learns them when she’s NOT SLEEPING. I also watched her babble mumble in her one year old language as we left, asking (demanding? nicely?) to pick out a sticker. TEE KUH. TEE KUH. I WAN TEE KUH. I told her four times to say please (she did not) and wouldn’t let her leave until she said thank you and finally, pushing herself in between my legs she whispered ever so faintly taintoo. She’s just very spicy. Very opinionated. Has been since, forever and now toddlerhood isn’t really doing us any favors. My son is very not spicy. He is very take-a-nappy.
TO ALL THE MOMS I JUDGED BEFORE: I AM SO SORRY. BABY SLEEP HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE MOM OR THE NUMBER OF BOOKS SHE’S READ OR MOM GROUPS SHE’S ASKED FOR HELP. I KNOW THIS NOW. BECAUSE I READ ALL THE BOOKS AND ASKED FOR ALL THE HELP AND SHE STILL DOESN’T SLEEP.
Sometimes you get all kids that sleep, sometimes you get no kids that sleep and sometimes you get half and half. We have half and half.
I’d like to think the people that have all sleeping kids have really boring vanilla lives and are deprived of the hilarious three AM shenanigan belly laughs that emerge when your 18 month old is screaming for PIZZA in the other room (you know, since mom and dad won’t come maybe The Pizza Man will? )– but nobody’s a winner in the comparison game.
But really, I am so sorry. My first baby just slept and I didn’t know that sometimes they don’t. I DIDN’T KNOW. I really thought that if they didn’t sleep as babies they’d at least sleep as toddlers.. but it turns out that is not the truth in our case, as now she just knows more words and can invent more tricky games to get us in her room. Current favorite is: WATER I WANT WATER.
Second kid upheaval was strong. She’s napped *some* in her life but I’m pretty sure that it will be gone completely before she turns 2 since her brother no longer naps. I thought nap time was a universal thing observed by all parents. Kind of like siesta. I thought it was the universal understood perk of procreating– a two to three hour break in the afternoon after lunch. I’m lucky if I get one hour where they are both in their rooms (usually screaming) at the same time and I try to recharge a little, prep dinner or just walk really slow out to the mailbox and back…
So, I know now four years and two kids in that me being a good mom is not contingent upon anything really, especially the number of hours my kid does or does not sleep. I am a great mom–- because I am my kids‘ mom. Whether we sleep or not! Hang in. Soon enough their crappy sleep will be their own problem when its their turn to adult. Hopefully they’ll get a great first sleeper who will show ’em how it’s done.