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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Amanda
13 years ago

Why do we all put up with that whole “husband doesn’t hear a thing” bullshit? My husband claims to have never heard a child in the night yet if someone whispered “do you want to go golfing?” from the driveway he’d hear it and be up dressed and ready in two minutes flat. Fucker.

LJ
LJ
13 years ago

My motto has always been ‘It’s a miracle that first babies live’. They’re kind of like an experiment for parents. Mine was anyway – she didn’t sleep till she was 4. My son was much better. They’ll sleep all day now if you let them (teenagers). Good luck. This too shall pass.

Red
Red
13 years ago

Oh I am so with you on the sleep thing. And yet we have decided to try for #2. Heaven help me.
This week Half Squat started experimenting with climbing in and out of things. Hasn’t really tried it yet with the crib but I know it is coming. And the screaming! The screaming like someone is ripping out his entrails is also enjoyable in the middle of the night.
Why do I want another one? Oh right, so maybe he will inflict some of this on a sibling instead of us.

Eric's Mommy
Eric's Mommy
13 years ago

Poor dog. Our 12 year old Pit Bull mix was sick a few months ago and we had to take him out every hour. He had bad diarrhea and we ended up having to put a doggie diaper on him. It only lasted 2 days, so hopefully Dog will get better soon!

Lauren
13 years ago

My kid has slept through the night since 3 months old. But I haven’t. Since, like, my 6 month of pregnancy. So that’s…what? 3 years? Which would explain why when you wrote “Shmylan” as the Sleep Bandit, I read it as “Shyamalan” and wondered for a good 2 minutes why in Christ’s name you were talking about M. Night Shyamalan, and how I really didn’t care for his movies and what does this have to do with sleeping patterns? WHAT IS HAPPENING?? Then I re-read it and felt like a dummy. Sounds like it’s time for more caffeine! Huzzah!

Leah
Leah
13 years ago

I’m due with my first in–OMG–10 weeks. I’m desperately trying to stock up on sleep now, but it’s getting harder to do. I worked as a nanny for years, so I have some idea of what to expect, but my poor husband has never been around newborns at all and I don’t think he’s taking my warnings quite as seriously as he should.

Maggie
13 years ago

Not to be overly gushy or anything, but I love your blog (and twitter) I could totally relate to your twitter post the other day about feeding your toddler to the garbage disposal. Mine is a 3.5 year old, red haired tempest.

My second child (the aforementioned tempest) was the easiest baby ever, sleeping 8 hours a night at 2 weeks in her own crib. I thought ‘I am the best mom evah’ but oh man at age 3.5 it is payback time. Oh, she still sleeps through the night after getting up roughly 18 and a half times till she wears herself out enough to finally fall asleep, and squash our will to live.

JMH
JMH
13 years ago

Love you for the Joel McHale reference…..LOVE HIM!!!

My daughter slept at least 5 hours a night from the moment we brought her home from the hospital. I had to wake her up to feed her!! We had a great baby who sleeps! Yea! However, when she was 4, we found out she had sleep apnea due to her giant tonsils. So, she actually was waking up often to try to breathe, we just didn’t hear her….gah! I still feel guilty about it to this day.

RH
RH
13 years ago

My oldest didnt sleep through the night until he was FOUR. I will let you digest that for a moment.

My middle child was “good”, in that he slept through at around age 2. Uh-huh, in my life that equals GOOD. (sad arent I?)

My youngest sleeps with the tv on. I find that if she wakes during the night, Spongebob on the tv means she will just watch that and not wake me. Selfish? YUPPERS.

About Dog—have him checked for worms. My dog had the very same annoying problem. It was worms. Not to gross you out or anything.

-R-
-R-
13 years ago

I have an 8 month old who will not sleep through the night (average: 3 wake-ups per night), and it is killing me. I see friends who have pets, and I wonder how it is possible to have both pets and kids. I don’t think I could do it.

When someone smugly tells me their baby sleeps through the night, it makes me want to slap them. But I just remind myself how much cuter my kid is than theirs, and I feel much better.

lumpyheadsmom
13 years ago

I don’t know why I ask new parents how the baby is sleeping, because 1) if your new baby IS sleeping, I hate hate HATE you and 2) if your new baby is NOT sleeping, all I can do is nod empathetically with the dead eyes of a sleep-deprived parent of three children.

I can’t give advice, I can’t falsely promise it will get better, I can just nod.

Although once a new dad told me his two-week-old daughter was sleeping through the night. Right before I shoved a butter knife through his heart he explained that his wife only had to get up with the baby once between 1am and 6am – which he considered sleeping through the night.

And then I laughed and laughed and laughed.

Tony
13 years ago

I’m not sure how you know that she’s not lying, but I certainly think it’s a load of bull.

Honestly, I even question whether a child less than a month old should be ALLOWED to sleep through the night, especially in the first week or so when the billirubin is being extricated.

I think many of us want our children to be the best at everything and some tend to exagerrate at a bit. Maybe there is a study out there that says that children who sleep through the night by two weeks have a 50% chance of becoming a Rhodes scholar?

-R-
-R-
13 years ago

Oh, do you know what is worse than my smug coworkers who all claim their babies sleep perfectly? People whose babies have slept through the night since newborn stage who tell you things will get better. How the hell do they know?

Jamie
13 years ago

I am going through the EXACT SAME THING! Only my son is 13 months old and is still getting up EVERY FUCKING NIGHT! My dog, my cat, a sick preschooler…it seems on the rare nights my 1 year old actually SLEEPS they all conspire against me to get me up anyway. You’ve described the feeling perfectly, in the early months, getting up every hour was no big deal, now a 3AM wakeup call drains me of my will to live.

megan
megan
13 years ago

My body has a strange reaction when woken up by my 9 month old or his older sister in the middle of the night…I get an immediate headache and I start to sweat. Weird huh?!

Jennifer
13 years ago

I hear you on the sleep thing. I actually think I might hate people with babies who sleep through the night. Or this one lady in my knitting group with the baby that never cries whereas I endured weeks of fussiness and colic…I really hate her too.

What I do love though is my dog door.

Melissa
13 years ago

Hi. Mom to a 1 yr old. Haven’t had more than 3 hrs uninterrupted sleep in 15 months. My teenage cousin is staying with me this summer. She sleeps for 16 uninterrupted hours at a time! She can magically sleep through baby tantrums, screaming fits, and OMFG do they still call that DIAPER RASH??? Level of homicidal thoughts based on jealousy right now = high.

Erin
Erin
13 years ago

I remember when I was pregnant how delusional I was about babies and sleep. My mom claims that my brother slept through the night (the typical 5-6 hour span) at 6 wks and me at 10 days. (This from the women who got my brother out with one push. True story.) I knew I wouldn’t have such luck, but thought somehow that all babies slept through the night by around 3 months. I remember thinking – HOw will I EVER make it to 3 months???!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

However, he did start sleeping through the night at 8 1/2 months (once I stopped nursing him at night – worked like a charm), and sleeps well now at night. Last time he woke up crying in the middle of the night, he was covered in vomit. Naps, though. Naps are another story.

Erin
13 years ago

I TOTALLY thought to myself on Saturday morning, as I was waking up before 8 to the sound of my toddler jumping in his crib: If, as a teenager, he wants to sleep until noon? I WILL LET HIM. Because dear God, those were the days.

Jen
Jen
13 years ago

Oh sleep…
My son slept through the night for the first time when he was … 18 months old. He enjoyed waking regularly up until that point… often waking around midnight and deciding to stay awake until 3 and 4am. I think I looked confused and dishevelled for a good 2 years. I’m not even sure how I managed to make it through my days.
He is almost 3 now and FINALLY sleeps wonderfully (in our bed of course)… and here I am trying for baby number 2… I am scared to DEATH of the going back to sleep deprived / crazy, crying, emotionally damaged woman mode… but here I am, going for it anyways. I just figure I’ve already had my non-sleeper… the next one HAS to be better… right?

Liz
Liz
13 years ago

I have a 12 year old stepdaughter. She woke me up at 2am because she couldn’t sleep, and I thought it was THE END OF THE FREAKING WORLD. HOW was I suppose to function after being woken up in the middle of the night OMG OMG OMG

Clearly, I am not ready for a newborn. Dear Lord.

monkey
13 years ago

My ability to function with little or no sleep was deprogrammed by something in my body within the space of one year. I used to pull bender upon all night mug session upon bender up until the age of 27. I even remember the exact moment it changed-I was mugging up for my 3rd bar exam (err, I didn’t take the same one 3 times…it was for a different state…no idea why I need to justify that but I hate people thinking I failed a bar 3 times) and I just said f*ck it, I can’t stay up like this for 3 or 4 days in a row anymore.

Judy
Judy
13 years ago

I had three kids, and every one of them slept at least 7-8 consecutive hours at night from the ages of 3-4 weeks. I think it’s because we slammed the cereal into them at an early age, and possibly because they were all eight-pounders and well able to go a few hours without sustenance.

But I would trade a cry-y nocturnal infant for those damned teenagers any day. Do you know, my youngest is 37 and I still wake up in a panic because he’s not home yet and OMG what has happened? And then I stay awake playing solitaire on the computer until he wanders in at 8:00 a.m. saying he slept at XYZ’s house because he had a couple of beers and didn’t want to drive after drinking. IT NEVER ENDS. Good advice. Sleep now.

Beth in SF
13 years ago

haha I hate those moms who say that. The reality is probably that the baby sleeps from 1am to 5am. Is that really “sleeping through the night”? I beg to differ.

I have a howly cat too. Just when I get kiddo back to sleep, there he is, meowing as if he hasn’t seen me in a month and hasn’t eaten in as long. Stupid cat.

pam
pam
13 years ago

heeeeee hee heee! not the sleep deprivation, but spencer’s head popping up on my computer screen. and someone else’s “chicken tetrazzini”. hee heee!

Amelia
13 years ago

My chuby 8-month-old (and I mean chubby – he is 24 lbs already, and growing as if weight gain were a race) is killing me. He wakes to nurse twice at night, once to get rocked back to sleep by dad, and then wakes for good at 5:45 am. Happy. He wakes up happy. I could just die. How long will this go on, I wonder? Didn’t I used to have a personality? Now I just have circles under my eyes and single-syllable responses to questions.

Adelas (Della)
13 years ago

Major giggles over here. I’m sorry about your situation (our little punk has been waking at 4, not every day, but enough that it’s worth complaining about) but I have to say, it makes for fun reading.

Thanks for the giggles.

saly
13 years ago

I love this post, and also Joel McHale (Pop off!!)

My 1st born slept through the night at 8 weeks and is still the best sleeper I have. My second born came home sleeping 6 or so hours through the night and was sleeping a full night by about 8 weeks. My 3rd child? My FINAL child? She does not sleep. Ever. At.All. She will be 1 next week.

If I thought I wanted 4 kids before, I do not anymore. She has broken me for good. Lucky thing she is chubby and cute.

Val
Val
13 years ago

I was one of those kids that (a) started waking up at 3 am at the ripe age of 7 months, (b) did not sleep during the day and (3) barfed in the sink when Mom was busy cleaning up the toilet from the first hurl.

I now have 3 cats that think my body must be (a) laid upon in order to sleep, or (b) touched at all times during sleep and (c) my legs pinned down the the bed by having alternate side sleeping by two of the three said cats. Now (c) would not be bad except that I need room to sleep. I cannot sleep until the sheets and blankets have been kicked into submmission. Having legs pinned makes for a very long night. So even in singlehood, sleep is not a guarantee.

Amanda
13 years ago

this is so, so awesome, and so, so painfully true.

MRW
MRW
13 years ago

I’ve probably related this story here before, but since I just had my second child 7 days ago I can’t remember my own name, nevermind what I’ve posted before. ANYWAY, when my son was about 4 months old we were at our wits end with the sleep issues so I called around and took a survey of our friends with kids to get their ideas for dealing with it and I so clearly remember talking to one good friend who said “Oh I don’t know, N started sleeping through the night at 8 weeks” and I literally had to nearly hang up on her. I’ve known her for 17 years, she’s a great friend, and that one comment made me have to step away from her mentally for awhile because I was so insanely jealous. My son does sleep through the night (he’s 6.5) and has for awhile, but to compensate the dog or our cats wake us up half the time and I wonder (for the 1000 time) why the hell I have so many animals. Then I went and had another baby. I clearly hate sleep and never really wanted to have 8 continuous hours…

victoria
victoria
13 years ago

YES! 0% Fage + Splenda = magic lo-cal diet bullet.

danielle-lee
13 years ago

Jeez, do you have a camera in my living room? My dog wakes me up HOURLY. Except when I put her out, and stare bleakly at the patio, she stares back at me. And continues whining. She wants back in. Fuck me.
I say she is preparing me for #2, which I hope to be impregnated with sometime THIS FUCKING CENTURY, but in reality, she is dragging me to the brink of sleep-deprived insanity. Fuck me.

Maria
13 years ago

I don’t necessarily think she’s intentionally lying. I’m more inclined to believe she’s forgetting. Those first few months become so fuzzy after a while. Was I really up half the night? I’m sure I was, but now can hardly recall.

Rayne of Terror
13 years ago

Part of the reason it took us 4 1/2 years to have a second child (due in 4-8 weeks) was because our first was a terrible sleeper. He didn’t sleep through the night until he was 18 months old and then it only lasted until he was 2 and we moved him to a twin bed. Then we started the battle of removing him from our bed at midnight every night and that went on for, um, another 18 months, until we finally gave in and moved his twin bed into our bedroom. Now one adult and one child is in the queen size bed and the other adult is in the twin bed and we all sleep through the night. Finally. And in 4-8 weeks it will all (blessedly) go to hell again.

shriek house
13 years ago

You are TOTALLY onto something here: I bet scientific-y research would show an unusual correlation between how much sleep parents are getting to when they think they might like to “have another”.

At two we are DONE DONE DONE, yet the last couple months I’ve been sleeping splendiferously (sorry) and am shocked to find myself thinking “oooooh, babies!”

So, you know, you could look at your rough nights on the bright side: free birth control. Yay!

Sysha
Sysha
13 years ago

My. thoughts. EXACTLY! Thank you soooo much for this post! Hardly a day goes by where I don’t think of my before motherhood days and all those times I could just sleep all day on Sunday if I wanted. Or the nights I WILLING stayed up ALL NIGHT! For no reason whatsoever! JUST! TO! STAY! UP! Arrrrrrrrrgggg!!! Your advice for young people is right on target and exactly the same thing I’ve been thinking since my son was born.

Mel
Mel
13 years ago

Two things:

1. my friend and I used to have mega bitch sessions about our 3rd friend who used to go on and on about her sleep-thru-the-night baby (when we were both in the midst of sleep deprivation hell) when one day we finally caught her adding “….except for feedings and diaper changes”. We didn’t know whether to laugh or punch her. Point being: sometimes its all relative.

2. My kids are now almost 6 and 3 1/2. My 3.5 year old sleeps beautifully…except for when I really need a good night’s sleep and then she parties all night long. Point being: buy more no-doz.

Amy
Amy
13 years ago

Thank you…I now have a belly ache from laughing so hard! You are my lunch time entertainment…thank you thank you thank you. I love that everyone around me wonders what I’m up to!

By the way….do you read FML? kind of addicted lately.

Nicole
13 years ago

Sleep is the most amazing fucking thing ever invented… Ever! Before I was pregnant I would regularly set my alarm on the weekends at some ridiculously primordial hour – like 3AM… So I would wake-up just enough to relish in the groggy realization that I could go back to sleep for at least 7 more uninterrupted hours! Awwwwww… I can almost taste the sugar plums. Right around the 5th week of pregnancy, the insomnia kicked in. I haven’t slept a full 8 hours in 21 months. The baby has been sleeping through the night (most nights) since he was around 6 months old (thanks to the sleep training) but he’s a noisy sleeper and I’m apparently completely neurotic and/or totally insane. I keep the monitor on high and basically duct taped to my head (so I might be able to detect an unusual breathing pattern or irregular heart rhythm…) With every little sigh and moan and sleep-cry I am rendered wide awake and left with the sickening realization that at say 3AM, I only have 3 more (broken) hours left to sleep.

Melissa D.
Melissa D.
13 years ago

I know I’m not the only one to say this but, AMEN! I have found that “sleeping through the night” means something different to those people. My kids were rough sleepers for the first year. Things have definitely improved but the sleep deprivation is so awful at times that I have questioned whether or not to have another. I guess I’m nuts because we are trying for #3 now. Hoping for a “good” sleeper…Ha.

Leah
13 years ago

We all get ours in the end, though…Wombat is now waking up with various issues in the middle of the night–too hot, too cold, OMFG teeth!, OMFG I’ve wedged myself against the crib bars and can’t get out–but the No. 1 sleep-destroyers in our house continue to be the damn cats, who yowl and chase and pounce and splash in their water bowl at 3 a.m.

Meg
Meg
13 years ago

Seltzer straight through the nose on the Spencer P reference. Ow.

And thank you for yet another “am I ready” reality check that your blog continues to provide. At this point, I should probably start trying to conceive in another 34 years or so. (Deep down that IS gratitude talking, as I do love that your blog uses rose colored glasses as an accessory only.)

Lesley
Lesley
13 years ago

I guess there’s no such thing as a dog door similar to a cat door, that wouldn’t also let burglars – or worse, racoons, in.

thatgirlblogs
13 years ago

pretty sure her baby will also be potty trained at 9 months. be ready.

Andrea
13 years ago

Hi Linda,
This is my first time visiting your blog and OMG…too funny! I can relate completely. Except I had the reverse happen…my oldest didn’t sleep at all until he was 18 months (heck he still comes over with us at any given time during the night and he’s 3) but our youngest Logan is a dream sleeper…granted he didn’t sleep through the night until 5.5 months old, but that was fabulous in comparison! Good luck.
Andrea

Mike
13 years ago

One of your best posts dude!

Jane
Jane
13 years ago

My son is 16 and still gets up at 6:00 a.m. He is apparently the world’s only teenager who does so. His friends set their alarms for NOON for chrissakes because their parents get so mad at them for “sleeping the day away” during the summer. My son? Is playing Rock Band at 7:30 a.m. And here’s the thing: when he was a baby/toddler/little kid I despaired because he never slept (“god I’m so tired!!”) and now that he’s a teen I worry because he doesn’t sleep (“is he scoring Adderall??”. So basically the message is: no matter what your kid does, you despair and worry. I’m 46 years old and I’m positive my parents still worry about me. Parenting bites, mostly.

Liz
Liz
13 years ago

I have said for a long time that not having kids is wasted on people who don’t have kids b/c it is not until you have the kids that you realize how easy/simple/full of sleep opportunities life is until you have the kids. (Whew.)
P.S. Joel rocks.

Jenny
Jenny
13 years ago

As a mother of two girls…4 and 1 yrs…”Word”.