As any parent will attest, the topic of sleep is never far from our minds. It starts before the little stinkers are even born with everyone and their mother telling you to “Sleep now before the baby comes!” It’s used as an excuse for why you (you=pregnant mom to be) are getting up 847 times each night to use the bathroom “That’s just nature’s way of getting you ready for the baaaaabbbyyy!!!”
Then your little bundle of joy arrives and you don’t really sleep again…ever.
Unless you get a sleeper.
Now, I know many of you are rubbing your tired, weary eyes, shaking your head and saying: “No way, man. Those are a total myth. Don’t exist. Hold on – I’ll be right back.” (Explanation to the non-parents: the above parent’s child just got out of bed for the 3rd time tonight because of some reason that has already been explained doesn’t exist and the parent is so tired that they have started speaking to the computer like it’s a living thing. Now we can continue.)
I know that it’s easier to believe they don’t exist. I understand; if they aren’t real then your child is totally normal. If they aren’t real then all parents feel this kind of blurry pain each and every freaking day.
But they are real. They do exist. I have seen them.
I have seen a healthy newborn sleep six hours straight – the day she was born. Baby, toddler, now into school – she kept doing it. This little one is a sleeper.
I have seen a preschooler sleep through a tour that I was given of his room while he was sleeping in it. He’s a sleeper.
I have a friend who looks forward to school vacations so she doesn’t have to set her alarm. Sleepers.
This topic is especially painful to me, as we do not have sleepers. Never have and probably never will. My first was up every hour and a half to two hours for the first 11 months of his life. I got three hour stretches for six months with our second and was thrilled! Our third was the best of all, and she was still up a lot. Now, even though they are getting older, they all still wake up a lot: bathroom, bad dreams, binkies (sleeps with 6), lost lovies, too dark, too light, loud car, unknown baby angst…they are up. Adding insult to injury is the fact that our oldest has always woken up incredibly early. 6:15 is sleeping in. There was a time when he would be up for the day before 5am. We are le tired.
The other morning when our son woke us, his sister with whom he shares a room, and then the baby in the room next door, at 5:44am, I wondered – not for the first time – “What would it be like to sleep?”
I can only imagine what it would be like to live in a world where children stay in their beds after being tucked in, go to sleep, stay asleep the whole night, and then get up at a reasonable time the next morning…
(insert dream sequence here)
In my head it would a world full of rainbows, with soft, fuzzy Glamour Shot-type of edges full of well thought out activities. I would be annoyingly chipper and obnoxiously productive. People would be genuinely shocked when they heard my age insisting that I had to be much younger – “you look so well rested and youthful!”
It sounds wonderful.
The problem is that we live in a world nowhere near Glamour-Shot Sleepy Town. We live in Grumpy Tired Town. It’s not fun to live in Grumpy Tired Town all the time.
So if you are the parent of the rare and wonderful sleeper, try to downplay it a little. We know it’s great –we can tell from your naturally glowing skin and lack of under-eye concealer that you are rested. It’s all in the delivery. You need to sell it like “Yeah, I won a free vacation to Cabo, but our luggage got lost and we got food poisoning.” You know: Awesome, but enough not awesome that we don’t hate you for it.
Someday we’ll join you in Glamour-Shot Sleepy Town, until then enjoy it but keep it mostly to yourselves – we’re too tired to be polite right now.
Sleep on, my friends!