Ikeapalooza
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Meanwhile, On the Sleep Front...

If we're lucky, Ike settles down for a "long" stretch around 10 pm. Four, maybe even five hours while swaddled up in his crib. A few weeks ago, that same exact number seemed glorious, decadent, a brilliant stroke of luck. Now, I can't help but feel impatient, waiting for him to take another step forward and sleep juuuuust a little more, a little longer.

Sometimes I attempt to carve out some (ha ha ha) "me" time. I'll jog around the dark, quiet neighborhood. Or just watch TV and have a glass of wine. Or think about painting my toenails, but that's just way too much of a time committment. The minute he goes down, the clock starts ticking.

Sometimes he wakes back up at 11. And then 12. And then so forth. 

But on the "good" nights, I usually just grab the monitor and head to bed at the same time, but am unable to sleep. The exhaustion that drags after me all day gets replaced with a weird, amped-up overtired state as I stare at the clock and mourn each passing minute as a missed opportunity, as my body stays primed and ready for the inevitable first waking and maybe around midnight I manage to close my eyes and get some sle...

BAM, it's almost 3 am and he's up. I hear him down the hall, even before his cries come through on the monitor, and I wait for Jason to wake up and go get him because that's our deal but Jason stays asleep and I glare at him for awhile and it would be easier to just go get the baby myself but WE HAVE A DEAL and I reach over and turn up the volume on the monitor instead because DEAL. WE HAVE ONE. 

Jason stumbles around and gets the baby and changes his diaper and brings Ike back to our bed and seems to be back asleep within 30 seconds. I nurse and doze and sit up to burp him and fumble for the rag I always keep hooked over the headboard oh crap, where is it, right as he casually yaks all over my side of the bed.

Every night, I debate whether to simply let him sleep next to me or attempt to put him back in the crib. He's so...NOISY, you see, that having him in our room means I have to listen to a non-stop stream of grunts and coos and whimpers and I jerk myself awake at every single one, so most nights I get up and carry him back to his room, feeling a slight twinge of guilt over making Jason get up when I might as well have gone in there and nursed in the rocking chair in the first place. But the DEAL, WHICH WE HAVE, is admittedly less about the practicality of shared responsibility and more about me not looking over at my husband's peaceful sleeping form multiple times a night and being consumed with a murderous, jealous rage.

So back in the crib around 3:30 am, and back up for more milk at 5:30, at which point I am beyond caring about his snuffles and noises and plop him down to sleep between my legs, as he seems to doze very nicely with my thigh as a pillow, and try to grab one last hour or two of sleep before the other boys wake up and it's time to start the day for real. 

This morning, though, he woke up, fussing, and I pulled him close. His eyes were shut, his mouth blindly rooting, but in the split second before he latched on he opened his eyes and looked at me. And gave me a wide, crooked, and unmistakable smile. 

IMG_3257

You're welcome, baby.

(And thanks. I needed that.)

Comments

Kellie

That was a good one! Made me smile...stick to that deal!!

Anthony from CharismaticKid

Gosh, I got lucky as a live-in nanny. Twins were AMAZING at night, hardly ever woke up.

The morning, however, was a different story.

Melissa

I was reading this and thinking "nah, don't think we could handle another baby, way too attached to my sleep." Then I got to the end of the post, to that most delicious photo, and my mind changed just as quickly. Ah, nature. You and your tricks.

Jenni

Ah, yes that first smile that makes all those hazy sleepless nights worth it.

My husband and I DID NOT HAVE A DEAL. I had supply issues and after the 30 minute attempted nurse, then bottle feed, diaper change, and swaddle, I would then pump and then wash the bottle/pump parts only to be woken up in an hour. I realized a couple months in that we NEEDED A DEAL because my glares at his sleeping body were getting very stabby.

His job became the diapering, swaddling, bottle/pump clean up. Even if it meant he was asleep on the couch in the same room for part of the festivities, I felt less alone (and stabby).

Jen

Sigh....

Della

Stabby, I was. Lucky to be alive, my husband is. Deal, I did not have.

My husband was unemployed for the 11 months before my daughter was born. (yeah, do the math... whoops).
4 days after she came, [and my son was 18mo], he was finally offered an hourly position... that was 2 hours away; he commuted 2 hrs each way daily.

He couldn't sleep in and call in sick for the morning... There was NO chance of him getting up in the night!

Even now that he works from home, that arrangement still pretty much stands - I watch the kids all day, and if they get up in the night, I get up. Finally a few months ago, we had to make a Deal - I get Tuesday nights off. I have to leave the house; if I stay, I'm tempted to meddle (because he doesn't jump up and take care of things soon enough for my taste).

So, anyhow, I feel ya on that whole "yeah I could get up and carry the baby to the chair myself, but he needs to do SOMETHING, dammit".

Katie

Jenni--I was in your exact same boat--I should have insisted on a DEAL, but since I was having to do the whole pumping rigamarole anyways, it seemed stupid to make my husband get up too. Usually after the first pumping, I just crashed on the couch with the baby on my chest (gasp! bad!).

The biggest problem was that bad habits: they were formed. I was not blessed with a good sleeper, and 14 months later, am still up once or twice a night. I'm now pregnant with #2, and am thinking that a deal is in order: after 14 months on duty, I'm resigning the shift :)

Olivia

Oh, I hate not being able to sleep when the baby sleeps. Every time my daughter managed to sleep through the night I...didn't. Nope, she's blissfully conked out and my brain is still on "It's time to feed the baby" schedule. *sigh*

Susan

I think there needs to be a "It Gets Better" campaign for new moms regarding sleep, nursing, sleep and sleep.

And, oh yeah... It does get better.

Karen

Our deal is we alternate the baby once he's down for the night...until about 4 am, because between 5 and 8 am? You cannot wake me up without risking death. I seriously am in a coma during those hours. And my husband does not do well when he's woken between 11 pm and 3 am.

We learned this during our second-born's infancy, and it durn near saved our marriage. I do better in the early night hours, he does better in the night-to-dawn hours, and all is well.

Then again, I can't breastfeed, so I think I have a better deal than you, poor Amalah.

Heather

Unplug your clock. Jason can use his phone for an alarm. Best move I ever made to get totally delusional about sleep and to not get all tightened up on every.passing.minute.

Also - soooo sweet. I agree that he looks like Noah.

cindy w

My baby is a whole 12 hours older than Ike and I want to cry with jealousy that you get a 4 or 5 hour stretch of sleep. I've gotten that exactly twice, and then she went back to waking up every 2.5 hours. I'm DYING.

And the murderous jealous rage directed toward your spouse? Yes. That.

E  Oh! Apostrophe

I think Ike and my son Finn would get along really well... as in, they could hang out at 4 am and talk politics and spit-up while the rest of us got some sleep. I'm also with you on the insomnia thing... feels SO especially awful when he finally falls asleep and I cannot!

Julie

I love your deal. That's a great deal. That's my biggest frustration in the middle of the night-- well, that or when the baby starts crying and crying and the hubby can't make him stop... so again, it becomes my sole responsibility. He'll start sleeping longer again I promise! Until then, savor every moment (like I know you are) because today by oldest baby is 4! You know this. How does it go so fast?

Karen

Oh, hello. This is mah life too!
I am so glad you posted this because the pediatrician told me this morning that it is my fault for nursing too much. Like I can control the kiddo at 3:00 a.m. I'm just gonna give the little terrorist anything he wants...just let me sleep!

Jaime

My husband and I did not have a deal, which means I kicked him sporadically in the night while I was up nursing and he was sleeping peacefully next to me. Bastard.

kim

Both my girls got Daddy-given EBM bottles every night until they slept through (whichwas early for #1, and remarkably so for #2. #2 coslept with her daddy while I was in the guest room, because noisy mama-waking infants get me pretty stabby, too. It's our deal, it works, for now anyway.

Amy

See, this is why Mommies need to Blog. So we (collective we) have those reminders of what it was like when our babies were so little. It helps us understand and appreciate each other a bit more, I think, to have those memories a little fresher in our heads.

I completely remember that feeling of missed opportunity when each minute of baby sleep passed that I was awake. It was brutal.

Amy

See, this is why Mommies need to Blog. So we (collective we) have those reminders of what it was like when our babies were so little. It helps us understand and appreciate each other a bit more, I think, to have those memories a little fresher in our heads.

I completely remember that feeling of missed opportunity when each minute of baby sleep passed that I was awake. It was brutal.

Amy

See, this is why Mommies need to Blog. So we (collective we) have those reminders of what it was like when our babies were so little. It helps us understand and appreciate each other a bit more, I think, to have those memories a little fresher in our heads.

I completely remember that feeling of missed opportunity when each minute of baby sleep passed that I was awake. It was brutal.

Amy

See, this is why Mommies need to Blog. So we (collective we) have those reminders of what it was like when our babies were so little. It helps us understand and appreciate each other a bit more, I think, to have those memories a little fresher in our heads.

I completely remember that feeling of missed opportunity when each minute of baby sleep passed that I was awake. It was brutal.

Amy

See, this is why Mommies need to Blog. So we (collective we) have those reminders of what it was like when our babies were so little. It helps us understand and appreciate each other a bit more, I think, to have those memories a little fresher in our heads.

I completely remember that feeling of missed opportunity when each minute of baby sleep passed that I was awake. It was brutal.

Amy

See, this is why Mommies need to Blog. So we (collective we) have those reminders of what it was like when our babies were so little. It helps us understand and appreciate each other a bit more, I think, to have those memories a little fresher in our heads.

I completely remember that feeling of missed opportunity when each minute of baby sleep passed that I was awake. It was brutal.

Candace

I'm convinced infants smile around this age because it's juuuuuuust before you are ready to kill them from lack of sleep....not literally of course! You know what I mean, just so.damn.tired. Hooray for sweet baby smiles :)

Heidi

Duuuuude. Thanks for taking me straight back to the newborn days. Turned my hankering for behbeh #2 down a notch.

Tamara

How does even THIS make me want a 3rd baby? Please stop blogging, lady, or at least stop it with the pics of a sweet bambino. :)

Kari Weber

Amy, I know that you would be on top of this... But the wakefullness, and spit-upping makes me wonder... Acid reflux? Both my boys had it, but my second? Totally sounds like Ike. Nights seemed like one wake-up after another, lots of noise and grunting, lots of yorfing... A small dose of Prilosec helped a bit, as well as side sleeping...
My first was a terrible sleeper, but it does get better!

Maggie

I think we lead parallel lives. I felt compelled to comment because this post and the post about brotherly warfare... Are exactly what i am experiencing (although there is no DEAL for us... Hubby is in residency and kind if needs the sleep lest he kill a patient.). But, my third is 9 weeks, oldest is 4, middle is 2. Crazy.

Maggie

I think we lead parallel lives. I felt compelled to comment because this post and the post about brotherly warfare... Are exactly what i am experiencing (although there is no DEAL for us... Hubby is in residency and kind if needs the sleep lest he kill a patient.). But, my third is 9 weeks, oldest is 4, middle is 2. Crazy.

Lori

Damn you are really good at this writing gig you got going. Always make me tear up.

Lori

Damn you are really good at this writing gig you got going. Always make me tear up.

Cy

Sweet. All that stuff is a blur until I read one of your posts and it brings things back--in a good way. Thanks! Jason is a good partner!

Jenna

Love your deal. LOVE IT. Anything that reduces the murderous eye daggers in the night is a good thing.

I read this all "Lalalala! Not missing any of it!", until I got to the last paragraph. GOD. I miss that part.

KimberlyC

Gah, the noisy newborns! My first was a perfect co-sleeper, she snuggled right up to me and slept tucked into my right side and OH! it was perfect, of course, until I wanted her to sleep by herself. Cuddle-baby, that one. The younger one, though. NOISY. Grunting and snuffling and even making happy noises in her sleep ALL NIGHT LONG. She sleeps in her crib in our room still and at 14 months she still sometimes wakes me up. Husband? Always still asleep, sometimes through the night wakings and crying in the night.

Kerry D.

Thanks for the reality check. Pretty sure we are done with the two kids we have. They just started sleeping all night in the last few weeks. They are 4 and 2.5, yeah, I was getting a bit tired of waking up every night for four years.

I will keep this post in mind the next time I get all dreamy about having a third baby. Keep up the good work, you are a great mommy!

victoria winters

I SO relate to this post! Our daughter is 13 weeks now, but was 4 weeks early, so in many ways she is only 9 weeks old.

We also have a DEAL and Huz gets up to fetch the screaming Charlotte (girlfriend goes from 0 to 60 in a heartbeat) and brings her back to me to nurse. We always fumble for the hand towel to place underneath her (Old Faithful) and the burp cloth. Our deal is he gets her, I feed her, he burps her and changes her diaper, brings her back to me for another feeding (other boob), I burp her and put her back to bed. We WERE getting 5-7 hour stretches but all of a sudden we're back to 4 hour stretches (midnight, 4am). UGH.

Why did I do this again!?!?!

Julia

Omg sleep. I can't even talk about it. My 9 month old is still waking up multiple times a night.

My husband has also started to snore (wtf!?), so now in between wakings he wakes me up. Around month 4, stabby stares turned into stabby jabs. I eventually had to kick him out to sleep in the basement for the sake of our marriage.

Now that the baby is waking up less (haha "less", still at least once or twice), he's been allowed back to bed. But if he asks me one more time why the baby woke up at 3 in the morning, I think I might go stabby for real! (how would I know why the baby is waking up!!? If I knew that, I would make it stop!)

Ok, I'm done ranting ;) Amy, don't feel bad about keeping that noisy babu out of your room. You need your sleep woman!!

Julia

Omg sleep. I can't even talk about it. My 9 month old is still waking up multiple times a night.

My husband has also started to snore (wtf!?), so now in between wakings he wakes me up. Around month 4, stabby stares turned into stabby jabs. I eventually had to kick him out to sleep in the basement for the sake of our marriage.

Now that the baby is waking up less (haha "less", still at least once or twice), he's been allowed back to bed. But if he asks me one more time why the baby woke up at 3 in the morning, I think I might go stabby for real! (how would I know why the baby is waking up!!? If I knew that, I would make it stop!)

Ok, I'm done ranting ;) Amy, don't feel bad about keeping that noisy babu out of your room. You need your sleep woman!!

Amanda

Our deal involves the weekends. During the week, when Neal has to get up in the morning to go to work, I get up with Claire, but since I'm formula feeding, the deal on the weekend is that I put her to bed, and Neal gets up with her when she wakes up. I used to pretend to kick him in my sleep when I heard Claire fussing over the monitor, but I now just poke him and say, "Your turn."

Amanda

Our deal involves the weekends. During the week, when Neal has to get up in the morning to go to work, I get up with Claire, but since I'm formula feeding, the deal on the weekend is that I put her to bed, and Neal gets up with her when she wakes up. I used to pretend to kick him in my sleep when I heard Claire fussing over the monitor, but I now just poke him and say, "Your turn."

Beth

When I was a little girl, I remember asking my mom when babies smile.
She replied, "Just in time. Every time."

Stefanie

OMG, Julia! The asking of why! My husband does the same thing. Why do you think the baby is crying? Why did she wake up? Why doesn't she want to take a nap? As though because I birthed her I have a telepathic connection to her. If only!

When my daughter was still waking up all the time, my husband and I used to split the night. One of us was on duty in the bedroom from 8pm-2 am while the other slept in the guest room and then we would swap. We did the taking turns thing for a while, but I really needed 4 or 5 straight hours of sleep to help with the PPD, and this was the best way to get it for me. Well, that and some Klonopin. My daughter is now 20 months old and sleeps wonderfully. I, however, still get a fail most nights.

RebeccaF.

You are killing me with the baby stuff. I want (another) one so bad now. Ike is sooo sweet and Noah and Ezra, too, the big brothers. I just wanna smell his baby head, sorry if that's stalkerish. I went and volunteered at the Nursery at church to get my baby fix 'cause Hubby said h to the l no on having another one.

You will be so happy to have these posts and pictures when your boys get older.

Keep up all your awesomeness.

Eden

OH MY GOD.
1. I remember that first smile, and felt the same way! UGH, I AM DOING IT RIGHT! I thought.

2. HAHAHAHAHAHA "the deal". LOOOVE it. I too, glare at his sleeping self while I wake up to nurse multiple times during the night.

Kat

Nothing beats a booby smile.

Nancy R

I recently overheard my husband and brother-in-law 'guiding' a new Dad in the intricacies of 'getting out of if'...'Just stay still until she gets up, then sort-of half sit up and say, "sorry, I'll get him..." but since she's already up she'll say "no, I'll get him".

I encourage your murderous jealous rage - keep THE DEAL and enforce it as needed.

Au Pair UK

I am working as an au pair in uk and in my host family i have to take care of 2 angel babies. they are so annoying at night but i still love them so much!

Christine

Our deal was that I did all the night-wake stuff (because I woke sooner and was more alert in the middle of the night anyway, thanks to years of practice) and my husband took everything from 5am (or maybe 6.00) onwards.

Also, if child A woke up while I was dealing with child B, then that was his territory, asleep or not.

This works well for us because he doesn't have to leave the house at the crack of dawn to get to work on the dot of any time in particular.

But I did often feel stabby in the middle of the night.

oakley

Great article and great information. I look forward to reading more!

elsimo

And as you know - it just keeps getting better. Love those baby smiles!

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