How I Learned to Sleep Again, and Taught My Babies, Too

by Kristen King

Over the last 4 weeks or so, I’ve become increasingly desperate for three things:

  1. More sleep.
  2. A predictable daily schedule.
  3. Unrestricted access to coffee (see No. 1).

It only took about 5 months, but the exhaustion has reached a new level. As Princess Mommy put it on Facebook a few weeks ago, my sleep bank is so overdrawn it should be in collections. Sleep when the babies sleep? Ha! When do you sleep if the babies NEVER sleep? (See Bedtime and Other Lies if you’re feeling out of the loop.)

Thanks to support and guidance from some other twin parents in my life, I revisited Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child (which should be subtitled How to Stop Your Children from Ruining Your Life) and discovered that my babies actually both had it in them to be good sleepers if I could just learn to be a good sign-reader and introduce some consistency into their — and my — day.

I’m not going to go into all the details of the book because I’ll do a crap job and then you’ll say, “Well, I tried that and it didn’t work!” because I didn’t explain it right and you were too lazy to read it, you slacker. I mean, don’t take my word for it — borrow it from the library or hit up Amazon for your own copy.

But the long and short of it is that the author, Marc Weissbluth, MD, teaches you to recognize when your child is open to sleep and create a routine and schedule that supports his natural sleep windows. For us, it was like a freakin’ miracle drug, leading to Facebook status updates like these:

 

 

And now that they’re in bed at 6 every night, I feel like I have my life back. This is a partial list of things I have done around my house after my kiddos were in bed in the last three days alone:

  1. Washed all of the glass doors and the insides of all the windows I could reach.
  2. Mopped the floors for the first time in about a year (hey, I was on bedrest and dealing with two infants for the last 12 months — cut me some slack).
  3. Cleaned out the refrigerator.
  4. Wiped down my counters and appliances.
  5. Created a list of more than 100 meal ideas that I can bust out from my freezer or pantry with minimal impact to my grocery list or wallet. (That’s for another post!)
  6. Nearly finished my baby shower thank-you notes (I know, I know…)
  7. Drank a glass of wine with my feet up every night.

I now feel that I can ask someone to watch my children for a couple of hours while we go out to dinner and not get the sense that I’m throwing that poor fool to the wolves, ’cause guess what: THE BABIES WILL SLEEP THE WHOLE TIME WE’RE GONE. No more endless screaming. Just hours of quiet, cherubic snoozing. (Insert the sound of angels singing here.) And the time I spend with my little Monkey Man and Doodlebug is MUCH more enjoyable because we’re all so much better rested.

If I’d know it would be this easy, I would have done it months ago. I should have done it months ago, but I don’t think I was ready to accept that it was possible to teach my children how to do things on a regular timetable without using cruel baby training methods like making them cry it out in their cribs for hours every night. Newsflash: If you pay attention to what your kids are already telling you and give them what they need when they need it, there is no crying. Who knew?

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Kristen King (aka, Mommy-in-Training) is a red-headed, glasses-wearing, wine-drinking, perpetually undercaffeinated twin mom who lives at 10,200 feet in Leadville Colorado, and founder of AmateurParenting.com. She and her husband, Jesse (aka, Daddy-in-Training) have fraternal boys born in December 2011, two dogs, and two cats. They are both endurance athletes. She works full-time from home in virtual training, and he drives the local school bus. Learn more and meet the rest of the AmateurParenting.com team on our About page.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Heather C June 15, 2012 at 5:27 am

It must be a good book as I requested it from the library several weeks ago and am still patiently waiting my turn. Although, I am a bit of a skeptic. The twins have a good bedtime routine, it’s the 3 year old that makes it complicated. And she was an amazing sleeper up until 3 months ago when we had to de-pacifier her for health reasons.

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2 Tesha Solinas November 4, 2015 at 3:44 am

Hi everyone, I’m a new mother and I am trying to get my three month daughter to sleep through the night. Currently I am fortunate to get four hours rest per night. Does anyone have any ideas? Regards

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