Never Sleeping Again

I finally realized that I’m never going to sleep again. Not really, anyway. The twins are 21 months old, I get the recommended 8 (sometimes I even get 9) hours of sleep, and I’m still tired. The first 6 months of parenthood were relatively sleepless for us – my husband and I call it the “dark period” – and I feel like I’m still trying to claw my way out of the sleep deficit.

We did sleep training with the girls when they were 6 months old and, technically, it was successful. Every day, they go to bed at 7 p.m. and get up at about 6:30 a.m. Buuuuuuut, one of them still wakes up crying almost every night. They seem to take turns waking up, so although they are individually pretty good sleepers, when combined, not so great (wahhhhhh! Feel sorry for me!).

Per our sleep training guidelines, we let them cry for at least 5 minutes before checking on them…but that means I’m awake for at least 5 minutes in the middle of the night…and if I’m awake, I have to pee…and then it takes me a few more minutes to fall back to sleep…. It’s a whole thing.

Apparently, the technical definition of “sleeping through the night” for a baby is 5 consecutive hours of sleep. By that definition, my girls sleep through the night every night. Too bad that’s a terrible definition of sleeping through the night. Don’t get me wrong, the first time our babies slept for 5 hours straight, I woke up singing, “A Whole Neeeeeeeeeew World,” but eventually, everyone needs more than 5 hours in a row.

Let’s take last night, for example. The twins went to bed at 7 p.m. I was extra tired, so I went to bed at 8 (it was still light outside). I turned on American Crime and immediately fell asleep. At some point between midnight and 1 a.m. (Look at that! My little overachievers can sleep through the night by 12 a.m.) I woke to H’s crying. I checked on our video monitor to make sure she has her binky and seemed otherwise okay. I also decided that maybe it was cold in our house so I turned up the thermostat 2 degrees. Her crying tapered off and she was quiet after about 6 minutes. Sometime after that, I fell back to sleep. At about 5:50 a.m. I woke again to H’s crying (uh, by that time, she had slept through the night twice in one night). Since I have a personal boundary of not getting them out of bed before 6 a.m., I let her cry for a little while, and she actually fell back to sleep. But I was awake, even though my eyes were stuck shut.

I don’t know why the 15 minutes of wakefulness in the middle of the night is so tiring – I still got over 9 hours of rest last night. Some glorious nights, neither of them wakes up at all. I’m still tired, though.

This morning, with my eyes still closed, I finally accepted that I’m just going to be tired for forever. I know I’m not going to get more sleep when they’re no longer confined to a crib, or when they’re potty training, or when I go back to work full-time, or when I’m waiting for them to make curfew, or when I’m awake just worrying about them. I’m still going to be tired.

I realize this post sounds a little complain-y, but I’m not really complaining, just documenting my current state in hopes to look back fondly and laugh someday. It’s corny, but the tiredness is worth it.

Anyway, how much coffee is too much coffee? [Asking for a friend.]

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