Sep 25, 2015


One year ago, I wrote a letter to my boys pleading with them to allow me some time to sleep.

If I were to write them a similar, sleep-related letter today it would be much shorter.  In fact, I think I could sum it up in two simple words, "Thank you."

Oh, we are far from the sleep-happy days that existed before parenthood.  But.  And it's a big but.  We are also far from the sleep-disaster of one year ago.

Considering that I am a mama to a one year old and a three year old, I'd say we're doing pretty darn well.

Our usual pattern looks something like this:

Eli goes to bed around 8pm.

We read him two or three books, say prayers, give him lots of kisses and squeezes and set him in his crib with a few stuffed animals, his "night-night's" (small pieces of knit fabric with binding around their edges) and a sippy cup of water.  His animals give him a few more "kisses" and then we tell him how much we love him and close the door on our way out.  We put him down wide awake and he falls asleep on his own.

He sleeps until somewhere between 5:30am and 7:30am - probably averaging right at 6:30am.

He naps for two to three hours most afternoons - something like 1pm-3:30pm - and we follow a pre-nap routine that is very similar to his pre-bed routine.

Sam goes to bed around 8pm.

We usually do a puzzle or play a game together in the half hour or so leading up to bed time - with jammies already on and the understanding that after the activity we will be going into his room for bed time.  He "reads" me a book from memory while I snuggle next to him on the bed.  I climb out of his bed and sit beside him while he says his prayers and then I hold his hand until he falls asleep.  It usually only takes two to three minutes for him to fall asleep.

He wakes up anywhere between 4am and 6:30am - averaging about 5:15am.

He does not nap and it is for the best that he doesn't.  If he is sick or wakes up at 4am and falls asleep in the afternoon, he tends to fight bedtime until 10pm or later and that makes me a crabby mess.

Eli doesn't care who puts him down.  Sam wants me and only me  Every time.  He is almost mean to Brian about even being in the room, unless I am not home, in which case he puts up with Brian because he doesn't have a choice.

The most common exceptions:

Sam comes into our room in the middle of the night one out of every three nights (or  so) and wants to sleep with us.  We let him climb in until he falls back asleep and then one of us carries him back to his bed.  Sometimes this takes all of ten minutes, other nights he wiggles around in our bed for an hour or more before he falls back asleep.

Eli has random nights of middle of the night crying, but this is pretty rare - maybe once every two or three weeks.  I go in his room, check to make sure he doesn't need his diaper changed and then hold him / walk around his room while I count to sixty in my head.  After the minute is up, I put him back in bed and leave the room.  Often, that's all it takes.  Sometimes, he goes back to crying when I leave.  If so, I wait a full ten minutes and then go back for another minute of holding / walking around.  And we continue that pattern for a while or until I give up.

Giving up equals holding him in the rocking chair and letting him fall asleep on me - which happened one day a week or so ago, but hadn't happened for many months before that.

- - - - -

My biggest frustration is still the early mornings with Sam.  I love having some quiet time to myself in the mornings before I have to move into my mama role.  I usually get up right around five, so some mornings I manage the quiet times and other mornings not - just depending on how late he sleeps.

It's been a while, but at some point we tried moving his bed time later to see if it would help him to sleep in.  It didn't.  He got up at the same time, but was just more tired from fewer hours of sleep.

In the big scheme of things, I'm really happy with where we are sleep-wise.  It isn't perfect, but I am actually getting many consecutive hours most nights of the week and this makes for a happy brooke.

PS: If you're interested in toddler sleep posts, Kathleen has written a few about her family's sleep situation recently.  Here and here.  

Photo: Shutterfly offered a coupon code for free 8x8 books, a few weeks back.  I downloaded their app, synced it with Instagram and chose the 20 most recent photos in my Instagram account that included both Sam and Eli.  The book is tucked away on a top shelf and will be a Christmas gift for them.   

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