I don't think, when you first set out on your parenting journey, that you realize how much of your efforts will revolve around sleep.
It begins in pregnancy: the trips to the bathroom all night long, the not being able to get comfortable, and finally, just flat-out insomnia. I have experienced all three, but the insomnia wasn't a problem this last time. I think by the end of the day I was too tired to not be able to fall asleep and stay that way! Maybe it was having 5 kids already (ya think?). Or maybe I'm just getting old, for having babies. ;)
Then the new baby arrives and mama and baby are up together at all hours. So much work goes into figuring out how to get baby to go to sleep, and stay that way. Everyone asks, "Is he a good sleeper?" And mamas compare notes on how many hours at a stretch baby can go between wakings and feedings. Mixed up in all that is also the co-sleepers vs crib sleepers vs cradles and swings and carsesat sleepers. And don't forget to put baby on his back -always!- even though he sleeps way better on his tummy and your mama put you to bed on your tummy your whole babyhood.
Somehow or another we survive the infant months and then cross into the toddler years, where sleep is more about obedience and compliance. For the first time, we have a toddler that says "no" when you say it's time to go to bed. That doesn't go over well with mama and daddy. So much for sweet little tuck-ins. Such parental guilt to send a kid off to bed crying. Which also happens during naps or after dark when a toddler finds himself or herself jumping like a monkey (or kangaroo - we've had those, too) instead of going to sleep like a good kid should. Discipline at sleeping times...never fun.
Also in the toddler realm of sleep habits comes loveys.
We've had 1 bunny, 1 lamb, 2 blankets, 3 with pacifiers, and 1 thumb sucker. And one that wouldn't take anything of any kind.
What we have now are a couple of insomniacs. Tyler has done it for a couple of years now...just randomly wander around the house at night. Now Brooklyn has started, too.
A couple of months ago, before Levi was born, I felt a sudden, yet gentle, tap-tap-tapping on my arm. The unexpectedness of it startled me so much I yelled out in fear, and in one swift and surprisingly agile move, sprang my largely pregnant body straight up and back down on top of Greg, almost on the other side of him. Poor Tyler, the one who had done the tap-tapping was so scared by my reaction he burst out crying. I pulled him into bed with us and loved on him until he went back to sleep.
Lately, it seems my habit is falling asleep nursing Levi in the recliner in the middle of the night. My intention is always to nurse him, lay him back in his cradle, and crawl back into my own bed. But more times than not I fall asleep before he finishes and wake up 1, 2, or 3 hours later when he begins to stir again. It is also common for Tyler or Brooklyn to show up during these mid-night nursings as well. Tyler usually wants to be covered back up, and Brooklyn...I'm not sure what she wants. Sometimes she just stands there and smiles at me and then goes back to bed. A couple of nights ago I actually woke up enough to put Levi and myself back to bed and found Brooklyn sound asleep in the floor behind the recliner, naked from the waist down.
I have no idea.
I just redressed her and tucked her back in.
Once you pass the toddler years you get kids with reasoning skills, who think of every reason under the sun to get back up out of bed. 99% of which are no good reasons at all.
Recently we've entered a new realm: readers. Dale has been reading for a long time, and Alan has as well, really. But it has only been in recent months that Alan has fallen In. LOVE. with reading. So lately it is quite common to find him back up and in a corner somewhere with a book. Tonight he was in Dale's room, both of them with a book and all the lights on. Not even trying to be sneaky...just reading! Thankful I don't have to have them out the door on time anywhere most week-day mornings.
Now if you'll excuse me...my newborn has decided all this talk about sleep means he shouldn't this evening. So instead of going off to bed, I'm off to try and work some baby sleep magic. It's always something, isn't it?