Monday, January 15, 2007

The Natural Balance, as it pertains to Sleep

It's my theory that in every set of parents there is one naturally gifted with the ability to sleep through an attack of armed bandits, and one who awakens every time the children roll over in their sleep. It is not always the father who is the former and the mother who is the latter, but in our case, it is. That is why I scoff when I hear suggestions about fathers helping out in the night. (Ha, ha!)

It is a far, far easier task to take D1 to the potty and answer whatever questions have been troubling her in the night ("Does Papa have a night-night blanket?"), provide D2 with his requisite 20 ounces of water, repeat all bedtime routines and convince them both to go back to sleep than it is to awaken DOB. I think he would wake up if I told him armed bandits were attacking, but only long enough to run them all through. Then he would promptly fall back to sleep. Whereas if I hear a rustle coming from D2's bed I awaken and lie there, heart pounding, for half an hour, wondering if he is about to wake up.

Now, there is good cause for this, of course. If all parents were sound sleepers, the children would die of anguish in the night. If all parents were light sleepers, the parents would die of anguish after about three days with no one getting any sleep at all. But it is hard to be philosophical about the balance of nature when one returns from the third trip of the night to see a contented log undisturbed in the bed.

However, things are looking up. A bit. D2, upon weaning, often sleeps all the way through the night, at long last. And last night we tried the experiment of leaving his water in bed with him, whereupon we discovered that he can find it and drink from it unassisted when he wakes up in the middle of the night.


Stephanie said...

Yes, when G weaned at 15 months she FINALLY slept through the night. She's had a couple of bumpy weeks here and there since (she's not quite 21 months), but for the most part she sleeps a good 11 hours. A miracle!!

But all that's about to change...lather, rinse, repeat for me. #2 is due in 4 weeks...

Oh, and DH is about as light a sleeper as you can get, but he's a mess when he doesn't get enough...since I stay home (except for occasional reserve duty) he wears ear plugs and I pull the all-nighters unless I go so many days I become unhinged. Which does happen, and even more when hormones are involved (hence the weaning at 15 months...she was ready and I was exhausted and grumpy in the 1st trimester!!!)

It was surprisingly easy to wean my milk fiend. And I must repeat (because it is etched FIRMLY in my head) was aggravating but still a relief that in the four days she took to completely wean, she went from sleeping no more than 6 hours at a time (which was a record and only started about a month earlier) during the night to sleeping like a log. Grrr...

Carrie said...

HA! I laughed. heh.

I think we're a blend. J woudl wake up and then apparently had the complete inability to fall back asleep for the rest of the night. So I had to get up with J2 or else J1 would simply NEVER sleep.

Now sometimes I just don't hear J2 at all. The only reason I wake up is because J heard him and either "tapped" me as a "hint" or gets up himself. I have noticed that J has adapted in being able to fall back asleep. I do the whole "lie awake with heart pounding" thing for a bit but eventually konk back out.

the Joneses said...

Darren needs less sleep, but if he wakes up after about 4:30am, he has trouble getting back asleep before he gets up for work. So anything after 3:00am is My Duty.

I know someone who advised a newly-pregnant friend, "If you're up in the middle of the night and mad, call me instead of waking up your husband to fight with him." There's just something about being up and knowing your husband is not that brings out the monster in all of us. I'm glad you manage to take it all in a spirit of balance and zen.

And VERY glad to hear that D2 is getting the knack of all-night sleeping!

-- SJ

Queen of Carrots said...

I need a friend like that. Because the next night D2 whimpered in his sleep every. five. minutes. all. night. long. And I *did* wake up DOB just to vent my frustrations. (blush) I'm more philosophical in theory than in practice. But he slept just fine last night.

Carrie said...

I'm too tired to explain my irritation in the middle of the night. I'm afraid if I get going *I* won't be able to get back to sleep for sheer exhileration at that point! So I tend to hold it in until morning. ah hem.