Tuesday, September 7, 2010

7 blogs in 7 days. Day 2 - Sleeping Beauties

What? Jenny! Hasn't posted much about sleep recently. What. is. up. with. that?

If you know me well, you know that I'm a freak about my kids and their sleeping schedules. I didn't used to be. When we had Lily, I was all go with the flow. Babies don't sleep. SHE will fit into OUR lifestyle, and not vice versa. Ha. Ha. Ha.

Except that baby Lily didn't go along with that. And so at 3 months we started trying to make routines and stick with them. We did the no cry sleep solution, we cried it out (and then promptly switched from the pediatrician who recommended it at 4 mths old), we tried to co-sleep, we breastfed, we bottle fed. (Ha!
WE breastfed, good one). At 11 months old she was allowed into a sleep specialist at OHSU, the youngest patient ever because we had been doing EVERYTHING right for 7 months, every single night, revolving our life around it, and she would not sleep. I took a week off work and dedicated every moment during a 24 hour period to get her to sleep and by the end of 10 days, I'd turned her 20 minute naps, 3x a day to one hour each. It was progress. At that point in my life, she was a year, and I could not imagine what moms who had kids who napped for 2-3 hours, 2-3 TIMES a day did with themselves. I was literally parenting 24 hours a day. For almost a year, with a 20 minute on the dot potty break, and 2 hour stints at night. They told us at the pediatrician and the sleep clinic that a nap less than one hour doesn't even count as a nap. Huh, I told them that it meant our 10 month old had only had 2 naps since she was 6 weeks old. By the end of our time, the doctor was asking me if I could send him some of my sleep log forms that I'd created. He was asking for my advice on another patient. That was when I bid him, and his helpful staff, Sayonara. You know, since I wasn't getting paid to treat his other patients, and since we'd reached the end of his knowledge base on my daughter, his youngest ever patient who was apparently a sleep deprived enigma. I thought that maybe Lawrence and I needed marriage counseling. As it turned out, we just needed some SLEEP. And a break. And when she did start sleeping through the night, and napping for more time than just a dishwasher unloading and loading, we got our life back. And it was good.

But still, we were scarred.

So that's the back story in a nutshell. The good news is, I've read every book on sleep. I consider myself a bit of an expert on the topic. I'm not quick to judge or to accept judgment from others on the topic of sleep. I know they haven't been where I've been. I think it might have been different for us if we just didn't care, and we didn't know better, and we'd fumbled through all that time. But our pediatrician telling us how sick our baby could get if she didn't get some sleep scared us in to TRYING for so long without any results. I now know the time and place for crying it out, I listen to my babies cues, I know about "the magic window" for a perfectly executed nap. I can talk another sleep deprived mom off a ledge and offer her support, encouragement, and the-all-important-when-you-are-at-that-point-of-despair, a plan. Any plan. And I have many, many times. I've been a better mother and a better friend for having gone through all that. And I'm so thankful to my second baby, Addie, who helped me gain my confidence as a mother back, when she slept though the night starting at 7 weeks old. And when she napped well the whole time. It's not that she never woke up at night going forward, she did, lots of times here and there for her first year. But compared to Lily, it felt so easy. Getting up only once or twice a night. Once or twice a week.

Other than Bryson's colic his first weeks, he has been an easy joy, and has been sleeping through the night since 10 weeks old. I could count the wake ups on one hand and most of those are nights when we were camping or away from home. But this post isn't about him. Or that. It was actually going to be about how beautiful babies look when they sleep. But like I said, I'm scarred and I like to hash out the sleep woes and the bedtime battles as often as I can. Maybe I should write a book on sleep. Not that anyone would buy it because in the end I would say, yeah, with my first kid I did everything right and it never worked, but then I sort of figured it out for the next two. Good luck, all kids are different. I don't think it would make many sleep deprived mams feel better to read an entire book only to know that someone else has been there. :)

So needless to say, sleep is a pretty big thing in the Herman household, as it is in any household that has done without it for a straight 2 years, I'd guess. And without it, I guess I mean less than 5 hrs per night.

I only have a few pictures of Lily sleeping as a baby, and most of them are in her car seat (where she also took 20 minute naps - on the button). She would wake up at night if you went in to check on her, so I started to just hold my breath and go to bed without peeking in, knowing that she would be up shortly anyway.

But now. Lily is my best sleeper. Addie is my worst sleeper. And for the most part, my OPINION is that Room Sharing Sucks!

However, it is getting a little better. Addie still keeps Lily up a lot at night, and I hear her yelling, "WAKE UP LILY" at 6am, and sometimes she sneaks out quietly. But mostly, it's a hour an hour to an hour of messing around in there, laughing or arguing, and then quiet.

This summer, was really cute. More than a few times I went in and found Addie's bed empty, only to find her sleeping with Lily or next to Lily. And I was reminded that this is what sisterhood and room sharing really is all about. I found a new thing, and I called it, room sharing goodness. Something I didn't know about before the summer.

Addie would love to sleep on Lily's bed every night if she could, but what with Lily's stuffed animal obsession, there just is not room, so many nights when I find Addie's bed empty, she is here:
Sometimes, they even move over her clock and "night stand" in order to make her feel more at home. This completely cracks us up!
I enter into a dark room to kiss Addie good night, but this is what I find...
Oh, here she is
This night she left bear-bear behind. I don't know how on earth that happened. Please note the little sign hung up next to her bed. It is a 7am/7pm stick figure drawing that Lawrence did to show Addie when she goes to bed and when she wakes up. It is working beautifully. God bless Daddy! :)

My sleeping beauties. See sometimes room sharing doesn't suck. And all that hard work was worth it. All the hard work is ALWAYS worth it. I could kiss those lips and those cheeks ALL. DAY. LONG.
I imagine that sometimes Addie is trying to come out of bed, but Lily shuts her down. Makes her stay in her own bed. Out of pure exhaustion, Addie falls to sleep here.
I'll rest here for a minute and make my escape later...after a few winks of shut eye.
And once in a while. Sister lets her in. But not at the top of the bed, that's where the "guys" go.
Addie doesn't mind sleeping at the bottom half of Lily's bed. She's just glad to be there at all.
And you just can't help taking one million pictures of this.
And wishing you had a sister of your own...


  1. First of all, that sleeping saga sounds like a nightmare--what a rockstar mama you are! Secondly, those pictures are priceless!

  2. I'm beginning to share your assessment of room-sharing. It's sweet sometimes, but they do keep each other up and wake each other up. We do have enough rooms to split Stuart and Marcus up, and I'm seriously considering it now.