Sweet Slumber, or Don’t Worry – It’s Normal
|Goofing off late into the night|
I have been fortunate enough to stay relatively well-rested during much of my first year as a mom. That’s not to say that I have not known exhaustion, because believe me — I have, but I know that it’s normal, and I do my best to push through it, knowing that rest will eventually come, and come it does.
This has definitely been a pushing through kind of week, however, which is why I have been absent from the blog world for a few days now. You see, life, or at least sleep, as we know it, has been turned upside down. Annabelle has yet to settle into the mythical “sleeping through the night” pattern, and really that’s okay with me. On an average night, she sleeps anywhere from one and a half to three and a half hours on a stretch. Thanks to bed sharing and nursing, this has never caused much of an issue for me. In fact, once I’m in bed, I hardly notice her waking. She lets me know she’s hungry, I help her get settled into nursing, and we both fade back into dreamland. No big deal. I don’t think her or my eyes even open most of the time.
Lately, however, our dear girl has little to no desire to ever go to bed! Instead of nursing herself to sleep sometime shortly after her bath, she nurses and then pops right back up again to play. And play. And play. For the past several nights, we have finally had to give up and take her to bed with us, rather than getting her down and having a bit of time to wind down before going to bed ourselves. I had come to rely on having a few hours after she goes to bed to write, read, and catch up on mom things before I join her. Of course I love time with my girl, but I also need a bit of time to regroup before I hop in bed at the end of the day and prepare to do it all over again. For the past week or so, I have had to find different ways of regrouping that do not involve being alone, because the lack of nighttime sleep has not been made up for at nap time. Quite the opposite actually.
I am so very thankful, as I have been many times in the past year and surely will be again, to know that this, as with many other perplexing infant behaviors, is normal. It’s funny to think that I spent twenty some odd years avoiding anything and everything that was considered “normal.” I considered the word itself an insult. Suddenly I, like many new parents before me, want nothing more than to hear, “it’s normal.” That simple phrase can put all our worries to rest. When it comes to sleep, one baby’s normal is not the same as another’s – there is a wide range of “normal” sleep patterns.
The issue at hand now seems to be that Annabelle has mastered walking and moved on to running, while at the same time refining her motor skills at a very impressive speed. As I am learning is often the case with children who are in such a stage of rapid development (within the already rapid stage of development that is childhood), Annabelle appears to be driven to practice these new skills as much as possible, and that drive has been overriding her need for sleep this week. I trust that she will settle in, yet again, to a more balanced routine in the next several days. Why? Because that’s what babies do. It’s normal. All routines are subject to change, as the infants themselves are constantly developing and changing.
So I may be a bit sleepy and disjointed for a few days, but don’t worry: it’s normal.