Wednesday, July 23, 2008

There is so much more to it than "Sleeping through the Night"

Gwen is just messing with us lately, I'm sure of it.

She keeps taking shorter and shorter morning naps, later and later in the morning. Then her afternoon nap, as a consequence, is later and later in the day. So then, of course, her bedtime is later and later.

For example. She used to get up at 7, and nap from 9-11 and 2-4 and then going to bed at 7 again. Toda she got up at 8:30, napped from 10-11, was still fussy and tired so I put her down again to 'finish' her morning nap from 12:30-1:30, then had her afternoon nap from 3:30-5. It's now 6pm and of course she's not anywhere near winding down for the night. I need to be absolutely dedicated, these next few days, to getting her back to a realistic schedule.

Because on Saturday night, Chris and I are going out to see The Dark Knight. Which means her grandparents are putting her to bed.

I had to think long and hard about whether we should go see a matinee or an evening show, and I kept flip-flopping back and forth. If we go to a matinee, Keith and Karen won't have the headache of putting her to bed, but we'll get the privilege of being in a theatre full of tweens and teenage punks. Plus, if the going-to-bed goes smoothly, then Keith and Karen will have a pleasant and easy night, and the "work" part of it will be done quickly, whereas if they were to babysit during the day they'd have to keep doing diapers, bottles, and entertaining for a few hours. Neither of which they mind, of course. In any case, I finally decided to do the evening show, with dinner at the Acme beforehand - our first date in several long months. Cross your fingers that it'll go well and that we won't return home to a screaming, overtired baby!

Gwen has actually been sleeping really well these past few nights. She is back to her habit of getting up only once a night, and often that waking is around 4am, at which point I just bring her into bed to nurse and we both doze off again until 8 or so. That part is really nice, because she wakes up smiling and cheerful and I wake up pretty well rested. The subject line above is inspired by the fact that even when babies start sleeping through the night, you don't *know* they're going to sleep through the night, so you continue all your previous habits as if you were going to have to wake up in two hours. For example, you go to bed criminally early; reading before falling asleep becomes a ridiculous luxury; and you don't sleep as deeply as you would otherwise. In other words, sleeping for six hours when you know ahead of time that you're going to sleep for six hours is an entirely different experience from waking up several hours later than you expected, leaking breast milk everywhere, and discovering that no, your baby didn't suffocate, she just somehow miraculously slept through the night. And you don't even really get to celebrate this, because you have no idea if she'll ever do it again, and you certainly don't say out loud to anyone that she did this, because that will definitely jinx it. In fact, I wonder how many nights in a row a baby would have to sleep before his or her parents relaxed enough to accept that as the new norm. I suspect it's somewhere in the teenage years.

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