Sleep, or Whatever You Call It

By Jenna Hall*

Finn was our baby cheetah who ate every two hours, round-the-clock, never-miss-a-meal, thank-you-to-my-mother’s-family-genes until he was 16 months old (no joke, this kid went through 24 ozs of milk in the middle of the night until very recently). And because he was our first child, he was our definition of normal.

Until Poppie was born.

Poppie wakes up in the morning and goes to sleep at night. She eats during the day and only occasionally snacks at night, typically sleeping 12 hours at night, and has since birth (the nurses told me to wake her up, but that is a different story). She plays when she is awake and goes to sleep easily when it is bedtime. She is pretty much a mother’s dream of a sleeper.

Poppie is so utterly civilized in her daily routine, it makes me want wrap my poor new-mother self of three years ago up in a big soft blanket and say ‘there, there, this too will pass’ and know that it is true. With Finn, I used to listen to the mothers from our baby class talk about their 4-, 5-, 6-month old’s giving them a night or two or seven per week of complete sleep-through-the-night rest and it would make me cry with envy.

And once the tears started, Nick would take pity on me and send me downstairs with the fan on loud and take Finn and four bottles of pumped milk for the night while I slept like a madwoman.

Unfortunately, the cheetah still hasn’t mastered the art of sleeping through the night (at three years old) and makes frequent forays into mother’s den at all wee hours to see what mother and daddy lion are up to.

We’re sleeping Finn, go to bed, I will say. To which he will turn on the light to see if our eyes are closed, which then leads to one or the other parent jumping out of bed and forcing Finn back to his own, and shutting the door and then Poppie waking up (they share a room) and then we are all awake and tired and mad and the next day is yet another blur of exhaustion for us all.

We have read every sleep book under the sun. We have tried all degrees of cry-it-out with this boy. And where are we today? We gave up. Completely. We decided that nothing was working so we were going to do, well, nothing. Sometimes Finn sleeps in his bed, sometimes Finn sleeps in our bed, sometimes it is half-and-half, but no matter what happens, it’s not a big deal and we just accept what he needs and sleep on. And strangely, the more cool we are about the sleep thing, the more likely he is to sleep in his bed for the whole night.

*Reprinted from an original article published here 4 years ago.  Finn now sleeps through the night

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