When I was pregnant, I always thought that around 8 o’clock every night I would go lay my baby down in her crib and she would go to sleep. She would hopefully sleep through most of the night and wake up around 8 a.m. happy and ready for the day. I now know I was living in a fantasy world.
My oldest daughter is most definitely a night owl. From the time she was born, she didn’t want or need very much sleep. I had always heard about how much babies sleep and how I would be able to catch up on my sleep then. That time just never happened for me. My baby would take short cat naps and be re-energized and ready to go.
As she has gotten older, and by older I mean 3, we have gotten rid of the nap all together. If she happens to catch some shut eye during the day, I know I will be up until the wee hours of the morning. We have tried to maintain a semi-regular schedule of a 9 p.m. bedtime. I know to a lot of people that would seem late for a 3-year-old, but for now it is working for us. There are usually still a few visits for juice or a snack or the covers being pulled up, but we are making progress.
She also has the ability to sleep in like a teenager. Nine, ten o’clock wake ups are pretty common, but not great for a mommy and daddy who have to get up hours earlier for work. Also, those time never seem to hold true on the weekends, when we seem to be out of bed by 8 p.m. at the latest. I’m hoping that once she starts preschool in the fall the early morning start time gets her into a more regular schedule.
My youngest started off the opposite of her sister. She took nice, long, frequent naps when she was a baby and it was nothing for her to be asleep by 8 p.m. every night. On the other hand, she was an early riser. 6:30-7 a.m. was her start time in the morning and she was always ready to go. I knew of people who had children that played in their crib for a while before they needed out in the morning. My youngest was not one of those children.
My husband and I are not completely without blame. The “cry-it-out method” was not for us and we love to cuddle with our little girls. Having them fall asleep in our arms is one of the great things about being a parent.
As I’m sure you are figuring out, we had quite the sleep schedule. Usually I would take the night shift with our oldest and my husband would take the morning shift with our youngest and we just tried hard to get some sleep in the middle. As the girls have gotten older my youngest has morphed into more of a night owl, which at least coincides with her sister. Starting in a few weeks they will be getting up in the morning to go to a new babysitter and then start school a couple days a week. I’m crossing my fingers that brings some earlier nights, even if it means earlier mornings.
Staff writer Jamee A. Pierson may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 6534, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.