Life is something that happens when you can’t get to sleep. ~Fran Lebowitz
Whoever coined the term” sleep like a baby” probably never had a baby. Or maybe my baby just missed this memo and behaves completely opposite what this phrase implies.
Kreade has been such an…we will just say interesting baby. He has certainly taught me a lot of things. Like it is possible to keep breastfeeding while you help your two year old on and off the potty. Or if you repeat the sounds “shhhh” over and over about a thousand times the baby might fall asleep. Oh yes, I’ve learned lots of things. And I was just starting to learn to feel human again when Kreade started sleeping nice long stretches at night.
And then he turned 4 months old.
And now the night feels like a darker version of the day time.
Instead of saying goodnight to the moon, I appreciate the light that it sheds so that I can see my way to his crib every hour or so without stubbing my toe on something that I forgot to pick up during the real day time. I mean really, who wakes up every one to two hours AT NIGHT?! Apparently babies do.
They never teach you about this in any child development courses. At least not the ones that I have taken so far. I’ve been desperate to figure out what the heck is wrong with this child now. If you look at the browsing history on my phone it goes something like this: why does my newborn only sleep for 15 minutes at a time, why does my newborn have difficulty latching, how much should a newborn be spitting up, how much spit up is too much, why is my one month old so fussy, why does my baby scream so much, how do I get my two month old to sleep better, why is my two month old crying so much…and now I find myself searching the internet for elusive answers again. Why is my four month old waking up so much at night?
Don’t google this. You will only get depressed.
Apparently this is normal. And I had no idea because Ellie apparently was abnormal (why can’t sleeping 12 hours at night at 2 months old BE normal?). There is a term for this pleasant little turn in a child’s development: Four month sleep regression. It is as painful as it sounds. Regression just sounds terrifying, and I am here to say that it is. You just start to feel human again, sleeping more than three hours at a time, waking up feeling like you actually slept. And then its gone. Your 4 month old turns back into a newborn and you can kiss sleep goodbye again.
Some internet-experts say that you should appreciate this stage; it means that your baby is growing and learning new things! They usually learn to roll over or sit up during this time, and become very interested in the world around them. They are learning how to sleep for longer and enter different stages of sleep. He might be getting teeth, or adding inches and pounds to his little body. And all these experts talk about this like it’s perfectly O.K.
I get it. Development is important. Growing is important. Teeth are eventually important.
But why does he keep waking up even after he learns to roll over…and if he is learning to sleep longer and enter different stages of sleep…WHY ISN’T HE SLEEPING? And why won’t he take his pacifier and fall back to sleep without me having to nurse him? And really, WHO WAKES UP EVERY HOUR OR TWO?
Let’s just acknowledge what a ridiculous stage of apparently normal development this is.
And not only does he want to nurse, or I guess just be awake every hour or two. But he wants to talk and chat and flirt and smile and grab my hair. And as much as I’d like to just close my eyes and will him back to sleep this little man who has caused me so much stress, exhaustion, depression, and tears has managed to wrap himself around my finger just as tightly as he wraps my hair around his.
I really don’t like that he wakes up so much after teasing me with nice long stretches, especially since it is the start of the school year and I go back to work. I really don’t like that I get my (maybe 6 or 7) hours of sleep in one to two hour chunks. It’s like taking a series of naps, except it’s night time and you shouldn’t be napping you should be real sleeping.
But I do love those middle-of-the-night-smiles.
His whole little face just lights up as bright as the moon when he sees me. And he just lays there in my arms cooing and smiling and fluttering those adorable little eyes and I feel like he can just see into the depths of my soul and know that I love him so much, despite everything. And despite the fact that it is 11 PM, 1 AM,3 AM, 4:30 AM,6 AM…I just love these little moments with him. When he needs me and wants me and I feel like I am his whole world.
I never thought that I would agree, but yes, Life can happen when you can’t get to sleep. And if you are blessed with a precious little baby the Life that happens may not be easy, or what you prefer, but it is certainly rewarded by precious smiles and baby conversations that make it all at least half better. And as I sit there awake while the world around me sleeps I can’t help but thank the One who gave me Life for the little Life that I have the privilege of taking care of. 1:06 AM or not.