Sometimes I feel like so much of my life for the past six years has been dictated by my children's sleep. The conversation at every new mom's groups I have ever attended has centered around either sleep or feeding. Mostly sleep.
From the moment I took my babies home from the hospital I have been obsessed with their sleep schedules. Lolly and Frostine were both fussy babies and I was desperate to get them to stop crying and just fall asleep already. I had charts and schedules. If one of them slept for longer than an hour or so, I would analyze what we did that day and try to recreate the same variables that led to the two hour nap. They slept just fine in my arms. I spent countless hours in a big overstuffed chair holding both little infants in my arms, listening to them breath, counting the minutes they stayed asleep so I could enter it into my charts and spreadsheets.
Out of all that craziness I became fiercely protective of their sleep. When they finally did develop a schedule of naps and a bedtime routine, I bent over backwards to make sure we stuck to it. I think of them as sleep sensitive. They took naps up until the day before they started kindergarten a year ago. Frostine will still take naps on the weekend.
When Gloppy was born I was amazed that he would sleep for hours in his little bassinet. He sort of naturally fell into a sleeping schedule. It took him a long time to sleep through the night and that was painful. But I savored those middle of the night feedings. It was the only time I got to just sit and hold him without any interruptions. I tried co-sleeping with him, but that did not work out at all. I have a hard time sleeping with little wiggling bodies in my bed. Anytime my kids try to sleep in our bed they ask to be put back in their own bed because "Daddy is loud." I don't blame them.
All three of my kids are early risers. It's not ideal, especially on weekends, but I've learned to accept it. No matter what time they go to bed, they get up around 6am. Therefore, I put them to bed pretty early. It's not unusual for me to have them all bathed, teeth brushed and ready for bed well before the clocks ticks pasts 7pm. They don't always fall right asleep, but they stay in their beds and they're quiet. It keeps us all sane.
Last week the girls had minimum days all week long and I had to pick them up at 1:15pm. Right smack in the middle of Gloppy's nap time. It drove me crazy. He skipped his nap for a couple of days, napped in the car once or twice and was generally a bit cranky. Then on Friday night Lolly and Frostine had two birthday parties. Two bouncy, run around, sweaty, eat pizza and cake birthday parties. One from 4-6pm and another from 6-8pm. Lolly was a walking zombie by the end of the it all. The next night we had dinner with my in-laws and the kids ended up staying up way past their bedtime. By Sunday afternoon everyone was tired and grouchy and I was frustrated. I snapped and I yelled and I made everyone take a nap.
There are always exceptions to my sleep rules. The girls had a blast at the double birthday parties and we all had a fun evening visiting with my in-laws. But I feel like we paid for it. It leaves me wondering when I won't be checking the clock, worrying about getting everyone to bed on time. When will I be able to make plans without stressing about when Gloppy will be able to take a nap? I'm sure by then, I will have found something new to worry and obsess about.