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Sleep, I Love You. I Miss You.

sleep-585My oldest daughter is coming up on her 5th birthday. My middle child is 3. My youngest is 10 months.

I’ve only had a handful of uninterrupted nights of sleep in more than five years.

I often fantasize about what it would be like to go to sleep and wake up in the morning for the first time. Instead, I’ve found myself asleep in the rocking chair with a crick in my neck. I’ve crashed into walls in the night because apparently my balance is not so good at 3 a.m. I’ve found myself standing in the hall with my eyes closed as I wait to see if the baby will go back down on her own. She’s slept two 12-hour stretches, but that was months ago and now it’s clear that they were two well-timed flukes that only served to give me false hope.

With three young kids, it’s rare that a night passes when no one needs my attention. The baby wakes like clockwork around 11:30 p.m. — usually right as I’m drifting off. My body even knows this, so I have a hard time falling asleep until she wakes up. My oldest requests being woken up to go to the bathroom when we go to bed, which is usually a fine idea and prevents overnight accidents. She’ll trudge into the bathroom like a sleepwalker and head right back to bed. But every now and then she’ll wake up like a bear woken from hibernation, roars and all. The baby gets woken up and then the whole night is thrown off.

Then there are just the random “I need to be tucked in” and “I lost my giraffe” moments that happen frequently. Or my personal favorite: The other night both cell phones on either side of the bed screamed at us at 4 a.m. about flash floods in the area. Could we please limit the weather alerts to tornadoes, please? I’m not out driving in flood zones before dawn, phone.

My husband had to travel for work recently and was away a couple of nights. We were telling friends that I’d be on my own for a few nights. “Yeah, I’ll be in a hotel … three kids at home … ” he says, implying that he’d feel guilty. “I … I’m going to sleep really well.” It was hilarious — and I was jealous. (He went on to report that he did indeed sleep well. I hung on every word and asked him to describe it in detail.)

I’m seeing the light at the end of the sleep tunnel; it’ll improve soon. And luckily, my youngest is a dream overnight. She wakes but is easy to get back down, so she’s not nearly as disruptive as she could be. I have a feeling we’ll be going through a rough spell soon as her first teeth are looking to pop through any day now, and she’s started trying to move and scoot around the world a little more. New milestones and developments are always fun, but in my experience they make for restless sleep until the baby stops getting so excited about a new talent. Recently, she learned to wave and woke up in the night, waving while I tried to get her back down.

As a seasoned parent, I know that these sleepless nights will come to an end soon. With a third and final baby, I’m not nearly as anxious to get to the next stage. I’m enjoying true babyhood for a couple more months.

Do your fantasies revolve around sleep?Erin

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