When you have a baby, you expect to be up at all hours and to be completely exhausted. What you don’t realize until much, much later is that you will never recover. You will never get a full night’s sleep again, ever.
I have often felt like my children are participating in some kind of twisted conspiracy to ensure that I never sleep again. It’s like some kind of modern day torture; a parental initiation. I think they communicate telepathically. It must go something like this:
“Ok tonight you get out of bed 17 times, keeping her up til the wee hours. Then, just when she’s finally drifted off for a few hours, I’ll sneak attack with the 5am wake up poop!”
God forbid I should go to bed late. That pretty much guarantees that I will be woken up in the middle of the night or at the crack of dawn. Or both.
When my second child was born, our plan was for him to sleep in his pack and play in our room until he was a little older, and then share the room across the hall with his brother. I naively thought this would occur much, much sooner. The child is almost 16 months old and there’s no end in sight. It feels like he will never vacate our bedroom. It’s definitely not that I don’t want him out of our room, and not so much that I think he would mind sleeping elsewhere, but most certainly due to the fact that there's a fairly good chance his brother would injure him. His big brother (almost 4-holy where did that time go?) has a penchant for pushing, poking, and throwing blankets over his little bro. I do not trust them in the room alone together all night long. Besides the threat of injury, there is also the possibility of complete and utter mayhem, because I’m pretty sure they would find a way to get the little guy out of the pack and play and initiate destruction of everything in sight.
It’s gotten to the point that my husband and I are afraid to enter our room once the baby’s sleeping. We creep up our stairs (not an easy feat since our stairs make more noise than a freight train on crack), gently push the door open, and tiptoe into the “danger zone”. He’s sleeping soundly-win! We silently signal to each other to fix the bedding. The whooshing of the comforter echoes through the stillness and the baby begins to stir. We freeze, then slooooowwwwllllyyyyy climb into bed. CREAK goes the mattress. The little dude’s head pops up like a gopher out of a hole. “WAAAHHHHHH!!!!!” Fail.
One night we even tried sleeping “college style”-that is, squished into the twin sized bed in our downstairs office/spare room. That might work when you're 10 years younger and 40 lbs thinner but these days it's a recipe for a stiff neck and numb arms.
Last night I fell into bed at 9pm, exhausted from the previous day's late night/early morning combo. I was almost asleep when my cell phone started shreiking and vibrating like it was warning the end of mankind. I scrambled to silence it as the baby began to stir and make "num num num" sounds as he sucked on his thumb. Phew! Crisis averted. I fell asleep only to be awakened at 12:30 by the sound of my older child going downstairs. Hmmm.... Should I get up? I heard the bathroom fan turn on. Ok, maybe he just has to go to the bathroom. He'll come back. Right? Maybe I should get up. Then I heard the sound of running feet and crying. Ok, ok, I'm getting up. I went down the stairs to find him running into the kitchen with just his pj top on, completely naked from the waist down. "Mommy I just had to go pee but the toilet is too cold! Will you warm it up for me?" Holy cripes this kid has GOT to learn how to pee standing up. We got the potty situation taken care of and I tucked him back into bed.
Just when I was certain I would need to invent a caffeine drip stocked with coffee if I was going to make it through the next 5 years of my life, a Christmas miracle occurred. I knew something was up when I woke up and it wasn't dark outside. I had a moment of panic, wondering if everyone was ok. I peeked over the covers to see the little dude standing in the pack n play smiling at me. I looked at my clock and almost passed out when I saw the time: 7:52!!!! I swear I heard angels singing the halleluja chorus right there in my bedroom. I just might make it through another day. Amen to that!