I got up with Leila about 5:30 am this morning leaving Olivia in our bed.
I swore I would never do that. I am a space person, a separate-ness person. I love phrases like “close the door” and ” my own room”. How did I get here?
I had kids.
So Leila proved herself to be a really dreamy sleeper at first but then she woke up and thought “Wait a minute. What family am I in? This is obviously not how things work around HERE.” And so she goes to bed really early for a long stretch (about 6:30 -midnight usually) but then she wakes up, yes, when I have usually just gone to bed, and the games begin.
Olivia has been sick which always stirs things up, but prior to that we went through a fascinating stage where she would wake up to use the bathroom about 1 am and stay up, for two hours, clearly in need of deep conversation and a banana or two. So I would try laying in her bed with her, but, and those good with details have put this together, I needed to be with the baby.
I’m prone to leave Olivia howling in her room (never too old to sleep train) but she now shares a room with Sophia, who amazingly sleeps through most of this, only to occasionally rise to let me know she is going to the bathroom. Which is no problem. Because I’m up.
I know two things: this will not last, and
I am not the only one currently living this way
So for my fellow Warriors of the Night, Baby Monitor First Responders, and, my new “let’s look at this positively” term: People Living Twice the Life, I have compiled the following list of advice.
1. Dress the Part.
It’s the night shift, let your clothing work for you. A friend gave me a pair of fleece pajamas at a shower that are so so soft when I put them on I feel like I’m getting a hug. This helps in the middle of the night. Sometimes. Sometimes I want everyone to leave me alone. Including my pajamas. Be intentional with your footwear. I walk from wood to tile to carpet and back again. Cold feet help nothing.
2. Prepare Morning Rituals
At some point, I have to say, we’re done. We’re done with it being night. We’re done trying. We’re done lying to ourselves. Hopefully this is after 6. Sometimes it’s before. Regardless, when I make the announcement to leave the night and meet the day (remember this is more of an emotional surrender so the hour is relative) I need an incentive. Enter: Trader Joes Spicy Chai Latte. I am a Chai person. You may have coffee, hot tea. You may pour your first Diet Coke of the day. Go for it. Reward yourself. You made it. You are still here. (though you may not want to be…)
3. Know what you need.
I need 3.5 hours uninterrupted to function, the rest can be interrupted on either end. I prefer my uninterrupted hours to be between two and five am. Just a preference. But that’s what I pray for. What I hope for. Because friends, when it come to putting our heads to the pillow each night, it’s not the exhaustion that will kill us. It’s the hope.
4. Know that it will not last.
(That’s what everyone says. They also say that though the children may sleep through the night, your worries about them increase causing, you to stay awake. NOO!)
5. Remember, Really Brilliant People Require Very Little Sleep
Now, I don’t remember who any of them are because my brain is so foggy. But there you have it.
Carry on Friends. Carry on.