Wednesday 12 March 2014

Guilty Confession: Don't Tell Anyone, but My Kids Know How to Sleep

I have three children under ten and I have a guilty confession.  Aside from the first three months of each of my children's lives, I have pretty much been able to get a full nights sleep every night almost without exception.  

My youngest, now eight months old, has been sleeping 8-12 hours straight a night since he was two months old.  And he should be.  He's a growing boy.  His sleep cycles were set early.  My husband worked hard to ensure that he got his circadian rhythms set as soon as his belly was big enough for him to sleep through.

It's really not a difficult thing to do.  Instead of picking your child up each and every time they cry, you need to let them cry sometimes.  Not when they're beyond consolable.  Sometimes you have to go in.  But they need the time to learn how to sooth themselves to sleep.  

And for the older kids, first, we have a bed time routine.  We ensure they're active during the day - then after dinner we slow down.  Quiet.  And then shower, brush teeth, story, bed.  And stay in bed.  No electronics.  Don't get up until just before 6.  Having trouble get to sleep?  Lie down and close your eyes.  Quietly.

And, just in case, we have monster spray.  Basically, it's a spray bottle of water that we squeeze around their rooms if they suspect there's a monster in the room.  Kind of like bug spray.  No monsters will come into the room as long as it has been sprayed sufficiently.

And if, on the rare occasion, the children do come into our room in the middle of the night, with the exception of illness, they're sent right back to their room.  No coddling.  Maybe a glass of water here and there, but that's it.  Go pee, go back to sleep.

And that's how I get a good night sleep almost every night.

But as part of my mommy group, I'm made to felt like it's a big guilty secret.

In the mommy group, there are three children the same age as my son and two who are three months younger.  None of the other children sleeps regularly through the night yet.  In fact, the child closest in age to my son has two older siblings, the same age as my older siblings.  They often don't sleep through the night either.  Their parents have not known the joyful bliss of a full nights sleep for over eight years.

I'm not quite certain how this is my fault.  I'm not quite certain why I have to feel guilty that I've encouraged good sleeping habits in all my children.  The rest of them seem to think that it's a normal part of parenthood.  No sleep.

I'm not quite sure I understand why.  But it invokes extreme jealousy.  My friends do not want to hear about the simple steps I've taken to ensure that my kids get a good night sleep.  I'm just "lucky" that my kids "are good sleepers".  They haven't had the same "luck".  Their kids are not "good sleepers" and apparently there's no way to ensure that will happen.  Maybe they should get a sleep doula.  Apparently there's no one they know (ahem?) who could teach them how to get their kids to sleep.

And so, when I go to mommy group and hear about the sleepless nights, I have to keep my smile to myself.  Because I slept well last night.  And I will tonight too.

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