The thing about sleep

April 15, 2019

There’s one thing that parents talk about endlessly, probably more than anything else. And that’s how much sleep they’re getting. Even before the baby is born you’re totting up the hours, or lack of, that you’re accumulating overnight.

But I’m not sure you’re ever really prepared for the change in sleep when you become a parent. How much more you treasure it, and how it is so entirely different from every kid. As with all parts of parenthood, sleep is completely unique to each individual child.

Right now, we’re in a sleep nightmare.

We apparently don’t make good sleepers, at least not whilst they’re babies.

Dexter is currently in a phase where he sleeps in his cot for the beginning of the night, but anytime between 10:30 and 1am will wake, and refuse to go back to sleep for at least an hour, and only in the pushchair. It’s hard work, and not just for me. Dann actually does a lot of the wake ups in the night because if Henry wakes, he won’t go to sleep for anyone but me. And unfortunately, Dexter has been known to wake Henry over the past few weeks.

I actually miss the co-sleeping days. Henry was a pretty bad night sleeper until he hit one, but would co-sleep so at least we all got to spend time in bed.

Dexter doesn’t really like co-sleeping so much, so Dann has been spending many nights on the sofa for the last month or two at least. Lucky we have a pretty big sofa to be honest.

The thing is, sleep, or lack of it is hard to navigate. It’s hard to know what to do, what’s the right move, what’s going to make everyone sleep better. And in the dead of night when you’re exhausted from chasing children all day you just don’t think as clearly and logically as you would like. It’s instinct and tiredness.

I wish I had the magic formula to create great sleeping kids, and I definitely have that twang of jealousy for those parents with kiddos that sleep through the night from a few weeks old. But I just don’t make them like that.

And that’s ok.

It’s hard. So hard, and right now, I’m already thinking of heading to bed at 9pm tonight, just to catch up on some shut eye because I know the night is going to be hard – Dexter has a cough too which makes him throw up in the night, which is all kinds of ace, and is creating a hell of a lot of additional washing.

But I also know, that this will pass. The days of sharing beds. The rocking babies to sleep in the still night. The falling into bed exhausted. The cuddles at 2am. They will all pass. And I’ll probably miss them. Their need to be close to the ones they love the most.

So I’m going to find every ounce of patience I can muster. I’m going to make the most of the early nights. I’m going to drink all the tea and coffee I can find.

Because the thing about sleep is it changes.

Photos by Heather Lerryn Photography – gifted with no obligation to share.

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