We’ve been having some sleep struggles around here. Sure, 8 hours is never long enough, especially when some external force (whether in the form of an alarm or a child) wakens you, but we’ve been struggling to get Little C down at night at a reasonable hour, with a reasonable routine.
This Saturday, it all crashed down around us.
I’d been noticing that C had been struggling to settle on nights when there were hockey games. While she never really focuses on the TV when it’s on (and it’s usually only on for hockey games), I guess it can be rather overstimulating: the music, the commentators, the bright ice, the coloured lines, the constant movement. It’s understandable. Her mommy and daddy? We weren’t just born yesterday.
So Saturday night has an earlier hockey game, so we go downstairs to watch it. Before bed, I take C back upstairs, and we read some books, sing some songs and have a bit of play time before bed. Surely that will counteract the TV right?
No such luck. I tried rocking her. I tried walking her. I tried letting her play. Nothing could console her once she started crying. It wasn’t her cry of pain; it was her cry of frustration. She was so tired, but she couldn’t sleep. The only thing that finally calmed her down was lying between Scott and I, in our bed, in the pitch black dark.
Yup, we all were tucked into bed by 9:00 on Saturday.
There was a collective sigh of relief when we transferred her into her crib finally at 9:30 and she stayed asleep. Yes, it was nice turn the lights back on, stretch my legs out in any direction, and actually get a chance to talk to Scott about the game. But I was also relieved that I’d weathered the 2 hour fight without losing my patience.
I always assumed that as we got the hang of this parenting thing, especially thinking back to when C was a newborn, we’d have shorter and less frequent nights of trying everything to get her to sleep. While I’m sure we do spend less time and spend that time less often coaxing her to sleep, the biggest difference is how we approach these nights. We spell each other off as needed. But we also know that one night won’t make or break us as parents. We know how much coffee can get us through a day after a sleepless night, and we know that letting her sleep with us every once and a while won’t be the end of the world.