It's 1:30 in the morning. Carter is having a dance party and I'm invited. My baby boy is not much of a sleeper. I've read that the average 6 month old sleeps approximately 14 hours per day. I'd like to meet these babies. I listen in disbelief as my friends talk about how their little ones have been sleeping about 8 hours per night since they were just 8 weeks old. I've stared in amazement as my friends' babies take a nap for several hours while out and about. This has not been my experience.
It's a funny thing when you tell someone that your baby doesn't sleep. Trying to be helpful, they offer any number of suggestions. Have you tried a white noise machine? How about a swing? Perhaps a bedtime story? I haven't gotten a decent night's sleep in 6 long months. You name it, I've tried it! Elevating one side of the crib slightly. Check. Swaddled, unswaddled, swaddled with arms out. Check, check, and check. I have tried introducing a lovey, a pacifier, a bath before bed, cry it out, and my favorite pearl of wisdom: put the baby to bed drowsy, but not asleep so he learns to self soothe. Does that actually work for anyone? I'm seriously curious. Carter just wakes up immediately and is not happy to find himself in his crib. I have read books, prayed to God, and made a bargain with the devil, all to no avail.
I look like the walking poster child for chronic sleep deprivation: red glassy eyes, lines on my face, delayed response time, and that far off look as my brain slowly fumbles for words. In the early hours of the morning, as I look down on my wide eyed son who is squirming violently in my arms, I realize that someday I'm going to miss this. When he's all grown up, I'm going to wish for just one more sleepless night of snuggling with my baby. I'm exhausted. I'm in love. I'm a mom.