Someone recently mentioned how their baby has slept through the night since they were born and my immediate reaction was not “oh, how lucky”, or “what a fantastic situation for them, I’m so happy for my friend!” but rather, BULLSHIT. BULL. SHIT. LIARRRRRRR. You lying liarton, with the LIES! Admit that you get up fifteen times a night and you’re running on fumes and No-Doz, ADMIT IT NOW BEFORE I CAMP OUTSIDE YOUR HOME AT 3 AM WITH CAMERA AT THE READY.

If I take a moment to physically slap the crazy out of my head, I know she’s not lying, because why would she? It’s just that my recent experience has been so drastically different it’s hard for me to wrap my brain around an alternate reality. Even though Riley, bless his little suspicious soul, slept beautifully through the night starting at eight weeks or so—giving me the horrible misconception that I had somehow engineered that behavior and could repeat it with a second child, ha ha ha ha HAAAAAAA—my memories of those blissfully interruption-free nights have long been erased by a certain toddler I will refer to as Shmylan, the one that required a soul-sucking amount of sleep training to stop blatting in hourly intervals starting at midnight, who at 17 months of age is still prone to waking up the entire household because he has, for instance, managed to wedge the top of his head too firmly against the crib wall and would very much like someone to help him get repositioned, thanks.

It seems like there were many months when some protective chemical was being produced in my body and my first thought upon hearing Dylan cry was not, in fact, I WILL BLUDGEON HIM WITH A SALAD SPOON, but that has definitely changed now. I mean, okay, I don’t really want to bludgeon my child with a salad spoon (maybe a soup ladle?), but now instead of just getting out of bed to Deal With It, those occasional wee-hour wakeup calls suck the life right out of my body. Like those ghosty motherfuckers in that one Harry Potter movie. Or being exposed to Spencer Pratt.

(That’s the problem.)

(Who got that? Aw yeah, Joel McHale in the HIZZOUSE.)

Thankfully, he’s sleeping through most nights now (and it only took us a year and a half! HA HA HA OH MY GOD), but if it wasn’t abundantly clear to me that I am All Done having children, the sleep thing drives the point home like an adrenaline syringe forcefully plunged through the breastbone. Every night we have to get up and tend to Sir Thigh Roll, I feel just a tiny bit less capable of dealing with it than the time before. If most activities have the rewarding outcome of increasing your skills the more they are repeated, this, for me, is the polar opposite. A year ago I could get up at 3 AM and feed the baby while performing a Viennese waltz, maybe using the other hand to solve a Rubik’s Cube, now it’s all I can do just to heave my carcass out from underneath the blanket.

For the last two nights, the creature waking me up at 1, 2, and 3:26 AM hasn’t been the toddler, or even the blessedly dependable preschooler—instead, it’s Dog. Dog has some kind of Lingering Digestive Issue and has taken to whimpering frantically at the back door in varying intervals throughout the night. We can’t leave her outside, because she has circus peanuts where her brains should be and will bark constantly at invisible squirrels all night, so our only recourse is to get up, let her out, wait for her to do her business, then let her back in, all the while staring blearily out at the porch-lit patio surface, where on Saturday night I saw a spider the size of a fucking BUICK.

Early Sunday morning I had let the dog out, let the dog in, patted Dylan back to sleep, then got out of bed again to let the yowling cat inside, and as I crawled back into bed, roughly jostling JB in the process (because I don’t like to suffer alone), I thought, this never really ends, does it? There will always be midnight barfings or fevers, and pets with various demands, and someday I’ll be lying there staring at the ceiling while my ears strain for the sound of my drunken teenager’s return. Why didn’t I appreciate sleep when it was mine, all mine? If I could give one piece of advice to young folks today, as I wave my cane around in the air, it’s this: GET MORE SLEEP, because one day, it will be FUCKED FOREVER.

Unless, of course, your baby sleeps through the night from birth.

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Anne
Anne
13 years ago

It could be worse. My grandmother, mother, and I are all part of a terrifying tribe of terminal insomniacs. None of us have, in our own or anyone else’s memory, EVER slept through the night. My mom was well into adulthood before she realized that some people sleep through the night, not even waking up to make a grocery list and eat peanuts at two in the morning.

Maybe I should start a night-time babysitting service to come over and tend to other people’s children overnight while they sleep? Might as well put this non-sleeping to my financial advantage until I have kids of my own!

Hilary
13 years ago

How about … chicken tetrazzini!

Just wanted to thank you for the Joel McHale shout out and return the love. Oh, how I adore Mr. McHale and the Soup. And oh, how I fear he will leave the show once his sitcom takes off.

That is all.

Donna
Donna
13 years ago

My daughter woke up and woke up and woke up until she was old enough to have cereal, and then she slept through the night after eating. From like 9 until 6 am. And then I could change her and give her a bottle and she’d go right back to sleep for another two hours.
My son, at 3 months of age woke up at night, one time, and I in all my infinite 23 year old wisdom, mixed him up some cereal the very next night. Whereupon he slept 14 hours, and I thought I’d overdosed him or something, and it scared the shit out of me. So I put up with his getting up at 2 for about a month, and then he started sleeping through the night again. And then his big sister would wake him up when she woke up because hey! Baby to play with! I miss those days, but I don’t either. I remember sometimes being so tired that I would blank out whole weeks at a time.
Guess what I’m saying is, you are not alone.
But you are a better mom than I ever was I think…..

nonsoccermom
13 years ago

Ha ha ha ha ha ha, I’m dying. For several reasons. First of all, I immediately caught your reference to The Soup. (I heart Joe McHale.)

Secondly, I could have written this post. THE WHOLE THING. Down to the dog with digestive issues and the yowling cat and the jostling of the blissfully sleeping husband. It’s funny because it’s TRUE. (Incidentally, I totally feel your pain.)

samantha jo campen
13 years ago

FOREVER AND EVER AMEN.

nonsoccermom
13 years ago

Ahem. Obviously I heart JoeL McHale. Oops.

Carry on.

Sarah Lena
13 years ago

Word up on the Spencer Pratt reference. It struck fear deep in my heart, with his flesh-toned scruff.

So, I? Was the obnoxious mom whose baby slept peacefully since he was two weeks old. If it is any consolation, OH MY GOD, THAT SHIP HAS SAILED AND I’M DY-ING FOR JUST ONE NIGHT.

And my husband, of course, has selective hearing disorder that renders him incapable of hearing the baby/dog/cat/whatever. He says that this concerns him greatly because what if something SERIOUS happens and he can’t hear it?

BITE ME WITH YOUR SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT, MAN.

Kate
13 years ago

So my daughter finally slept thru the night at 22 months. She’s now almost 4 is doing okay. So what did I do?? I got a puppy.

Apparently the lack of sleep, even when it does return, has lingering side effects. Like sadistic insanity.

Jennie C.
13 years ago

My 11 year old gets up in the wee hours (6 am-ish) for no reason whatsoever. I try to tell her how precious sleep is, but she’d rather play with her toys or read a book. Weirdo.

Mimi
13 years ago

I heard someone say the other day that their tiny baby was sleeping through the night. When pressed, she admitted that the baby woke up a couple of times a night to nurse, then went right back to sleep. You know, the whole night. I always thought that sleeping through the night meant that the baby slept the whole night. No waking to eat, etc. So maybe we all just have different definitions of sleeping through the night. Or whatever.

Pam
Pam
13 years ago

AMEN. I ask my husband all the time why didn’t we just spend the ENTIRE WEEKEND SLEEPING when we didn’t have kids? (Oh, and reading books and going OUT to movies and dinner…)

Audrey
13 years ago

Ha ha. My friend is almost due with her first. I keep telling her to suck.it.up and keep the baby inside. She has no idea what’s coming.

moojoose
13 years ago

Coincidentally, I turned to my significant other after dropping off the stepkids with their mom yesterday and said “I am SO not ready to have kids of our own yet. I need more sleep first.”

Holly
Holly
13 years ago

Joel McHale went to Mercer Island High School – I graduated a year after him – doubt he remembers me. I never had a baby – only a stepson I got when he was 5 and slept from bedtime at 8:00 until about 6:30 AM. We’re thinking about having a baby of our own, and then sometimes I change my mind when I read these blogs.

Karly
13 years ago

Legend has it that I didn’t sleep through the night until I was 9 years old. My poor, poor parents.

Anonymous
Anonymous
13 years ago

Well, of course, the obvious solution is not to have any kids or pets.

And if you have them already? Wait for them to grow up/die and don’t replace them with new versions!

Guess I’m just heartless. :-) Then again, I know you wouldn’t have it any other way, sleep deprivation or not. Still . . . you might be done with the having of children, but you could still fall prey to a pair of soft, brown puppy-dog eyes. Reread this entry, then, before you make any rash decisions re: four-legged children.

Emily
13 years ago

Did you know Joel McHale’s brother is a PRIEST? I KNOW. How weird is that.

He’s totally on my freebie list. He’s number 4 or 5, but he’s on there, skinny tie and all.

Tiffany
Tiffany
13 years ago

Oh, hi. We have the same life. I *also* have an irritating (lovely and sweet) toddler (poopface?) of the 17 month age. She wakes at least 2 times a week, and after rocking her darling, cute baby face to sleep, I wake up my husband (who sleeps like a fucking log) and remind him how serious I am about never ever again adding another living soul to my household. (not even a dog or a cat or a hamster) I think I’m going to request vas differens snipping coupons for Christmas from the fam. Is that an option? It should be. (Did I mention that I have a 3 year old also? No? Well, I do. He likes to get colds for fun. I LOVE MY KIDS!)

Lisa B in Kirkland
13 years ago

CIRCUS PEANUTS! That explains alot, around my house.

Julia
Julia
13 years ago

my oldest slept through the night at five weeks. I bragged. at 5 months he started waking up again and did not sleep through the night again until he was TWELVE YEARS OLD. not a lie, not even a little bitty one. now he is 23 and I believe he has no trouble sleeping.

warcrygirl
13 years ago

I have insomnia so even though both of my darlings are 7 and 10 (and stay in bed once put there) I still wake up at ungodly hours for no good reason. The next time I find myself on the couch in front of the t.v. (for the background noise) I’ll think of you.

kalisa
13 years ago

You kind of get to sleep for a little while between the ages of 10 and 13. Then they start hanging out with their friends and you have to go pick them up way past your bedtime, like 10 p.m. FINALLY they start driving themselves (16 in Tennessee) and you’re so fucking grateful that you don’t have to haul your ass all the way to fucking Arlington at 11 p.m. to pick them up from some cheerleader’s house that you don’t really give a shit that you might have a possibly drunken teen behind the wheel of a motor vehicle and you take a xanax and just go to sleep already.

But that’s just my experience and we have already determined that everyone’s child/ sleep experience is different.

Lora
Lora
13 years ago

My 1st slept from 9 til 7:30 at 3 months. So, I prepared myself for 3 months of sleep deprivation with this baby. Well, it’s nearing seven months now, and I’m still waiting to sleep. When she actually has a good night, the 2 year old has nightmares. I shouldn’t be allowed to drive, I’m that tired.

willikat
13 years ago

I don’t know how y’all are helpin’ Dylan sleep but maybe he needs a helpin’ of CHICKEN TETRAZZINI! (Aww yeah! I also love the Soup).

One of the reasons I am terrified to be a parent is that I’m wildly protective of my sleep. I don’t know if I could do that much deprivation before going off the deep end.

Ashley
13 years ago

Dude.

Ashley
13 years ago

I.dont.know.what.sleep.is.anymore.

Joceline
Joceline
13 years ago

I’ve found out from several people after they’ve claimed for months and months that their babies slept through the night, that it included getting up a couple of times to pop the paci back in. That’s fine with me if you want to call that sleeping through the night, but just tell me so I can stop beating myself up about my child who wakes 3 times a night! I thought my kid was the only one doing that, and come to find out lots of others do too, they just don’t call it that!

Christina
13 years ago

Ahhh this one had me in tears. Dog’s stomach issues and the kids crying and the noise and HOW ON EFFING EARTH CAN MY HUSBAND SLEEP THROUGH ALL THIS DAMN NOISE… wail, whimper, I just wannnna sleep…

AND when I ask any of them about it in the morning the two that can talk look at me like I am a freakin’ lunatic? What? Noise? ME? NAW. The three that cannot talk just stare at me with this funny look on their faces. It is all HIGHLY suspicious.

Heh waving your cane… though I will concur while whistling through my dentures ;)

molly
molly
13 years ago

So my dog’s ‘lingering digestive issues’ turned out to be diabetes. So now I have a 3-yr old night owl, 18-month old that if I had a nickel for every time he’s slept through the night I could buy…oh, maybe one doughnut to eat since I crave carbs when I’m tired (but not enough for a coffee to go with said doughnut), and the mutt that gets twice daily insulin shots and special food that costs fucking $2 per can.

Maria
13 years ago

I can’t even imagine. Both my kids are good sleepers. I think some part of them knew I didn’t have it in me to deal with not sleeping. If we end up having a third kid I’m sure I will be utterly fucked.

I am insanely looking forward to approaching you at BlogHer and being all “um hi I’m that chick who randomly spouts SO SAY WE ALL and goes on and on about how you’re her favorite blogger ever.”

C @ Kid Things
13 years ago

I always want to raise my middle finger to those parents who claim their children sleep through the night. I have 3 kids. None of them have slept through the night until they were around age 2. Which means I haven’t had a good nights sleep in almost 6 years. 6 FRICKIN’ YEARS. Middle finger salute.

MichelleH
MichelleH
13 years ago

Yay, Joel McHale! And Boo to Spencer’s creepy flesh-colored beard. I have to brag that I got to go out for a rare evening away from my ten month old to see Joel McHale a couple of months ago!

So, I just have the one kid. And it might be the only one, since I had the Dylan (or is it Schmylan?) first. The fact that I am still dealing with this at 10 months is sucking the life right out of me. And I know what you mean about it not getting easier with experience. Even the earliest newborn days seemed easier than this. I’ve been thinking about how this will NEVER EVER end too. I am thinking it’s best to accept it now.

Poppy Buxom
13 years ago

OK, here’s how you get your kid to sleep through the night. Drop her on her head.

OK, I exaggerate. The babysitter dropped her on her head. While the husband and I were out celebrating my birthday. And we came home early from the symphony because my husband had a funny feeling.

“You’re not supposed to have woman’s intuition,” I hissed, “you’re a MAN.” And then we walked into our condo and found a total stranger there holding down the fort while the regular babysitter took our daughter to the emergency room.

So we went to the hospital and picked her up. The doctor said to check her during the night, and I thought “hey, no problem. She’s still waking up twice a night to nurse.”

So I didn’t set an alarm.

Guess who slept through the night? That night and every subsequent night?

True story.

kerchoo
kerchoo
13 years ago

My wee one reportedly slept 6 hours per night at age 2.5 weeks. Big sister, 8 hours at age 3 mos. I don’t know how early that started, as I wasn’t there; but they have both been great sleepers as long as they’ve been with me.

That is, until this summer, when they have decided that it’s their job to come and wake me up as soon as “the sunshine is up.” Which would be great if I wasn’t up working until 1am (or later) the night before.

I too have recently admitted to myself that I will probably never have another “good night’s sleep” again. It is a very sad thought.

lucidkim
lucidkim
13 years ago

My first baby never slept – ever. I have no idea when she finally slept through the night. She’s 9 now so obviously it kicked in eventually, it’s just all so blurry, I don’t know.

I’ve read some of these comments saying they’d never have another, etc. The thing is when I had my first I found having a baby the worst thing on earth. The. Worst. I couldn’t understand why anyone EVER would have more than one. My life was a living nightmare. I really hated it. But my 2nd child came along when my first was 2 1/2…and she has always slept like a log. So you can’t really judge one child by another you have (as you’ve also experienced!)…

kim

Amy
Amy
13 years ago

Hahahahaha – still laughing at the Joel McHale reference. Down with Spencer Pratt and his flesh colored beard!

Also, sorry about the sleep insanity. My youngest is 14 months and we just barely got him to stop waking the hell up every night (now it’s just some nights), but he still wakes up every morning at the ungodly hour of 5:15ish. Ugh. So I’m with ya. I hate those people who get real, glorious sleep. No bags under the eyes. Non-caffeine-induced wakefulness during the day. Oops, do I sound bitter? ;-)

georgia
13 years ago

I will take your advice. I’m a 29 year old single, childless girl about to go to bed with nothing but a good book and a cuddly Siamese cat. Tonight, instead of being lonely, I’ll be thankful. Thank you!

Emily
Emily
13 years ago

Love this entry – I am living it all except, thank God, not the dog digestive issues. The funniest part, though – “roughly jostling JB in the process”. I SO do that to Keith.

Iidly
13 years ago

When I read stories about kids who don’t sleep I thank my lucky stars because my son literally slept from 8 pm – 8 am 7 days a week from the time he was 2 months old. In fact the first time he slept that long we both passed out together and when I woke up at 4 AM I thought for a second he was dead. Nope he was sleeping like a log. I went back to sleep and slept until 7:00 AM and was up before him and had an entire hour to myself.

I am sure you hate me now but it’s true, he’s been like that ever since and he’s now 8.5

Things will change. I promise.

Anonymous
Anonymous
13 years ago

Oh shit. I just found out yesterday morning I am pregnant. Is it truly that awful???

PS. I am going to see Joel McHale in San Diego this Friday. So excited.

Frannie
13 years ago

Advice for “young” people. Actually I think you give sound advice, as I am 13 weeks along and 28. I’m (FREAKING THE HELL OUT) -I mean, excited, albeit the impending sleepless night. Hopefully being a nurse who works night shift will help. Maybe…I mean, my baby is already sucking the life out of me and it’s not even born yet. (sigh)

Oh, and I LOVE JOEL!! I missed him when he came to town.

Katy
Katy
13 years ago

Oh Gods I love your writing so much. I too was blessed with my first born, sleeping through from 10 weeks and having a long nap in the afternoon. Then I went and ruined it 17 months later by having Sir Screams A Lot and at 2 years 10 months he still likes to wake up in the night. Last night it was 4.13am because his covers were the wrong way round. BLUGEONING with a salad spoon is too good for him! Then my 4 year old got up for a pee and that woke my bladder up so now I am at work nearly crying. Oh and Im 11 weeks with number 3. I must be out of my mind.

When my single and childless friends tell me about sleeping in until 11am I could weep!

Marina
13 years ago

My FIRST thought when I got pregnant was not “will I make a good mom?” or “am I ready to have a baby?” or even “HOLYMFG, I’m creating life”. It was “Oh. Shit. How am I ever going to cope without sleep?!!!”

Lucky for me, my kid did sleep through the night from the second he was born. Seriously – he was born just after 9pm, by 10pm he was zonked out (apparently because of the super-fast delivery) and when the midwives came to check on us both at around 4am, they were shocked that he was still asleep and I hadn’t fed him. They tried to wake him up and he just flipped them off and went back to sleep. From then, he slept 6-8hours through the night until 6 weeks when he went to 12-14hrs.

I’m afraid to get pregnant again – because, as you say, what if this gift was bestowed by the sleep-gods and not as a result of genetics?! I’m not sure I could cope with a baby who didn’t love sleep as much as I do.

Emily
13 years ago

I have some good advice for anyone whose kid(s) tend to wake up in the middle of the night. Somehow (and I haven’t a clue how I did this) train them to ONLY want Daddy in the middle of the night!! I really don’t know how it happened, but I’m certainly not complaining. My younger son insists on only my husband in the middle of the night. And who am I to argue with an almost 3 year old who KNOWS what he wants?? I figure it’s payback for having to get up to nurse when they were babies.

Niki P
Niki P
13 years ago

My boys were both great sleepers- only waking once a night before they were 8 weeks and then both solid thru the night after that. They are 13 and 12 now and they go to bed well and wake up well. I know the teen years will be different. For now it’s just the fucking cat who wakes me up at 3 to tell me there are no snacks in the dish. Fucker.

Cookie
13 years ago

Lol. I am so there with you. Neither of my children have been good sleepers, and I still get up with the toddler at regular intervals, with 20 minutes before my alarm needs to go off being his new wake up time. The grandkids of my in-law’s neighbor are good sleepers. The oldest was sleeping 13 HOURS STRAIGHT starting at about 4 months. From 8pm to 9am. I got informed of this often by my MIL.

My preschooler generally has no issues at night, and if he does, my husband can tend to him. He who shall not be named, screams even LOUDER if daddy dares to enter at night without mommy immediately behind him.

I really miss sleep. I used to be one of those people who could happily spend the day in bed on the weekend, sleeping in until at least 10. Now I feel like a zombie.

kim at allconsuming
13 years ago

I always think of that line Billy Crystal gives at the start of some movie, about what advice he would give to young people today, and he says, ‘floss’.

But this, this is the key message.

Don’t forget though, along with waiting for the drunken teenager to stumble home, is the teenager that doesn’t wake until midday.

Personally, I can’t wait to start harping on about how half the day is wasted at them for no other reason that sweet sweet REVENGE.

Katy B
Katy B
13 years ago

Since my son was born (six weeks ago), I answer this way-

Well-meaning person:
“Does he sleep through the night?”

Me:
“No, thank God!”

No one ever knows how to respond to that one. :)

Korinna
13 years ago

It could be worse…a family member has a two year old that still wakes up crying EVERY night between midnight and 2am and won’t go back to sleep until he’s in bed with them.

They have a full-sized bed.

Kate
13 years ago

Amen. Since my first baby, four years ago, I have fantasized about this one room I had in college, in an old rambly house. My room had big windows, a spindle bed with nice clean sheets, a quilt that was soft from being washed many times, and no babies at all, not even the thought of one in my head.

I remember napping there in the afternoons, if I had a late night or something. I would want to go back and tell myself to enjoy those naps more, except I know I enjoyed them at the time too. God bless naps. Someday I will be an old woman who wishes my kids would call more often, even if they interrupt my nap. I hope I will appreciate the irony.

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