My Guilty Sleep Tactic

I will start off by admitting that my children are on the WORST sleep routine ever and my husband reminds me of it every time he is off (work that is). I know he is right. I know he is as frustrated as am I. I need my mommy time, too. I have stuff to clean, clothes to fold, blogs to write, and I know deep down in my heart this would all be easier if my children went to sleep at a normal time. Sometimes I am so tired, I am just angry and irritable. I say to them “WHY?! WHY?! Can’t you just go to bed!?” and “Ugh, Please Lord let them go to sleep!” Sometimes tears form when I try the sleep tactics that don’t work for me, and I know that this is my fault.

I should be more consistent.

I am with dinner. I sit down with them every night at 6pm even if I haven’t made myself food and just talk to them.

I am with bath time. We get those bubbles going and start playing around 6:30pm. We always make time for a splash party.

I am with jammies. We usually chase each other around the house and laugh a lot.

I am with turning down the lights to set the bedtime mood around 7:20.

I am with books. I always give in with “one more, Mommy.”

I am with prayers. We always pray together.

And then I kiss my daughter, and tell her goodnight, and take my son with me. The moment the door closes she cries. She cries every night, and every night my heart breaks. I wonder “When she will stop crying?” Three? Four-years-old? When will I close the door and she will just drift away to dreamland without tears? I let her cry. It is what is best for her, and I take my son to the couch for one last bottle and now pray he goes to sleep.

My children share a room (I should add not for much longer), so I have to wait until my daughter goes to sleep to place him in bed. Some nights this tactic works. Mostly on days where we stay in the house all day and do not go out, do they actully adhere to this schedule. Sometimes my daughter – okay a lot of the time – stops crying and I hear her sneak to the door. I hear her open it, and I watch her peek out from where I am sitting on the couch.

“Mommy?” She says sweetly.

I don’t answer.

“Mommy, do you want one more kiss?”

It doesn’t matter now how much I want them to go to bed, so I can have a few hours of sanity: “Of course.”

What else do I tell her? That I do not want one of her sweet kisses? A kiss that I may not get in a few years time. She comes running, and I get a kiss. She makes her way to the couch and she sits by me. If I am lucky she falls asleep right there.

So here comes my guilty pleasure. I leave her on the couch and watch her sleep. I know every parent knows what I am talking about. She is beautiful, perfect, happy and all mine. My husband will come home – he works late – and wonder why I have not placed her soundly in bed. How do I explain that these moments are so precious? How do I explain that she will grow up so fast, and I don’t want to miss anything? That I need to burn her sweet two year old face in to my brain so I will remember this forever?

Please, do not think I have forgotten about my son. He is actually the reason that I am writing this post. Like I mentioned earlier, he is getting his own room. Mostly so I can sleep-train him. He is feisty, and has started this new thing of arching his back and refusing things. He is totally different from my daughter, as most kids are. I get more frustrated with him not sleeping than her because he is the one that wakes up in the middle of the night for a bottle. He is the one that no matter what time he goes to sleep, he will  be up at 6:30am. It’s hard to ask my husband who comes home after a 12 hour day at 1 am to get up with him so I can sleep.

Tonight was right on track.. actually, earlier, because my sleep deprivation was making me irritable. He fell asleep right after 7 pm. I was ecstatic. I played with my daughter for an hour, and then he was up. I tried to ignore him hoping he would go back to sleep, and of course he didn’t. I sat in the rocker in his room and gave him a bottle. I know he was tired. I know he was fighting it so hard, but my daughter was still awake and as soon as he heard her voice he wanted to play.

My system is now in over drive. I am so tired and mad and angry that he will not sleep! So, I stand up and start rocking him. His little head on my shoulder. My guilty sleep tactic kicks in, and I am so deeply sad that he is getting so big. He will be one next month. The year has flown by and once again these moments are getting less and less by the day. I plan on him being my last child and knowing that… knowing that I will never have another baby to rock again in my arms brings me to tears. My anger melts away as I sing to him. Instead of sleep I am praying to God to watch over my children. That I love them more than my own life. I kiss his hair. I stand in by the mirror so I can see his handsome face, smooth and serene because he is with me. Because he loves me, and this is all he need and wants.

Sleep-training and all of the professional opinions have been tossed out the window. My time with him as a baby is ticking by. I know tomorrow I will try harder to get him to sleep. I know it is what is best for him. But for now I will hold and rock him. Kiss his face, smooth his hair, run a finger down his sleeping face. As I pray again for God to watch over my children and keep them safe, I close the door and wish I had set up the baby monitor so I can continue to give in to my guilty sleep tactic.

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