There is a seven year gap between Ethan and Zoe and for a few good reasons but the key reason is that Ethan.
For the first two years of his life. It was a major shock! Sleep deprivation ranks as one of the worst torture my 30 something body has had to endure. We really did battle to cope on 2 or 3 hours sleep a night for over 700 days. They were 700 loooong days especially if you do the math and work out how many of those days were spent awake. So when people enquired about giving Ethan a sibling the idea of an only child seemed very desirable.
In hindsight, knowing what I do now, I realize we broke all the rules and if anyone was to blame it was us. We rocked him to sleep every single night and when he got too heavy we put him on our lap and we bounced him to sleep. If he woke every hour on the hour we would make a milk bottle every hour on the hour. Routine, ha, that word didn’t exist in our vocabulary ~ after-all we didn’t even have a routine for ourselves, how could we try and create routine for someone else. We never taught him to fall asleep on his own but we were young and naïve and luckily no serious long term damage was done to either of the parties involved. Even though there were times I would rather have stood in front of a moving train than get up for the 4th time that night and it wasn’t even 3 am yet.
Fast forward 6 years and the idea of an only child seemed to lose it’s appeal and the sleepless nights became long forgotten memories that didn’t seem so bad anymore. This time I decided I was going to be prepared so I read the baby books on how to teach your children to sleep and more importantly I hoped and prayed for a baby that slept regardless of the mistakes we made the second time around. The reading and prayers paid off and Zoe slept like an angel (the time she was awake was spent crying non- stop….but that’s going off the topic now) and 8 months on the dot when the nurse said she didn’t need any more night time feeds she started sleeping through from 7 at night until 7 the next morning. Twelve hours of sleep and me time…bliss!
Fast forward 2 years later and the de Souza household can normally be found in deep slumber from 10 at night until my abhorred alarm goes off at 5:30 am.
Except for Monday night that is! Zoe had developed a little cold at school and came home with a delightful snotty nose and a cough. It was that exasperating cough that woke us ALL up at 2 am. Normally a spray of Illiadin or a snuggle on the couch would have sorted her out and I can get her down as quickly as she woke up but Monday night she had decided sleep was for the birds and princesses like to play. It started off as fun but by 3:30 am there were big crocodile tears because mommy took the bottle of bubble bath out of her cot. Bubble bath in the cot may seem bizarre but not when you are a two year old and the bubble bath is in the shape of Dora Explorer. Why oh why did mommy take it away from her? Because she likes to pull Dora’s head off and squirt the bubble bath on her face, legs and everywhere it shouldn’t be which I didn’t think was a good idea in the middle of the night especially when it’s time to sleep and not play. SO The big bad wolf took it away and her prince in shining armour aka Dad came through and emptied the bubble bath into a Tupperware and cleaned / towel dried Dora so she was bed ready but alas it was too late. Zoe was in a state. There were tears, screaming, head banging, back arching and a totally inconsolable 2 year old until mommy rocked her. Yes the rocking thing that I promised myself I wouldn’t do again. I rocked her for half an hour. My arms are still aching. It worked though…..for awhile. As soon as I tried to put her in her cot, her eyes would snap open, there would be crying and the arching would begin again. We’re back to square one again…in the lounge with a wide awake toddler.
It’s 4 am.
By 5 am she’s asleep on my chest. I wait until she’s in a deep sleep. I wait some more. I carry her to the room and put her in the cot. She snaps her eyes open and starts crying and arching her back. NO NO NO! I go to my room to de-active that abhorred alarm clock that’s supposed to be waking me up from my 8 hour uninterrupted sleep and I’m quite bitter about it but nevertheless. I decide I’m putting her in her cot whether she likes it or not. I’ll put her in the cot, I’m walking out and closing the door.
I do that.
She cries for a minute.
She falls asleep and wakes up at 9 chirpy eyed and happy like last night never happened.
Tonight we do the bed time routine again. Bath bottle and hopefully bed. Keep your fingers crossed for us please!
(pics taken with iphone Plastic Bullet)
People who say they sleep like a baby usually don’t have one. ~Leo J. Burke