Earning your sleep


When Lacey was little all I seemed to write about was sleep, or the lack of it. I’d get one night of good sleep, write about it and then it all seemed to go to… crap. She still isn’t the best sleeper. And now sweet Luella isn’t either.

This is how the dance of sleep goes in our house most nights:

I retreat to the bedroom to put Lacey and Luella to sleep.
Lacey reads stories beside me while I feed Luella. Lacey passes out. Luella follows afterwards. This takes up to 2 hours.
Luella wakes 3 times in the first hour.
I carry Lacey to her own bed.
Luella wakes 2 hours later.
Fall back to bed after putting her to sleep.
Hear Lacey calling out.
Resettle her {or if Hubby is home from work, nudge him to settle her}.
Luella wakes 2 hours later.
Resettle her.
Wake to Lacey suddenly appearing in our room, her face 10cm from my face. Scream. Accidentally wake Luella.
Tell Lacey to get into bed with us. Settle Luella.
Lacey spins in her sleep and I end up with a foot in my face or her head using my head as a pillow.
Luella wakes. Settle her again.
Get sick of doing the sleep dance. Get up. Get work done.

I remember the best night’s sleep I ever had. I was in the thick of sleep deprivation when Lacey was about 11 months old. My sister and my Ma came over and sent me to my Ma’s house for a night of sleep. I cried all the way there, leaving Lacey for the first night ever was hard. But I slipped into Ma’s freshly laundered sheets and I slept. I can still feel those sheets against my skin, and the promise of uninterrupted sleep that came with them. I slept all night without waking, and got up early and headed back home to my little girl.

I dream {when I do sleep} of sleeping like that again. One day.

Tell me how you slept last night. Feel free to brag. Or complain. Annnnnnd, do you remember the best night of sleep you ever had?

45 thoughts on “Earning your sleep”

  1. I laughed at Lacey’s face being 10cms from your face. Nothing like two little eyes peering right at you in the middle of the night!
    Oh these little people – so joyful, yet such hard work. It can only get easier from here, right?? I hope your next good night’s sleep is just around the corner 🙂

  2. My little man isn’t a great sleeper. What makes it harder is that my first born was! My eyes are baggy…. sometimes I feel like the walking dead. He wakes up at least 3 times before I go to bed then another couple of times (can be 6 sometimes!) during the night. On a happy note…. He is the love of my life and super cute 🙂 oh- best night of sleep…. Nope can’t remember it. Must have been a long time ago 🙁

  3. Unfortunately ages of the kids have little to do it as in my case 23, 18 and 11. I get less sleep now than when they were newborns. A normal night of sleep for me would be , fall into bed at around 11pm, still faintly hear the rap music filtering from my sons room down the hall into my room, (tonight he has chosen to stay in as opposed to hoping into a car driven by P plated friend that has decided to call around at all hours to go for a drive and get a slushie at the local servo ) . In the other direction I can faintly hear my other son watching a DVD downstairs with a couple of his mates that have just decided to pop in. Drift off to sleep regardless. Wake an hour later to raucous laughter at something in the above mentioned DVD. Other son decides to make a toasted sandwich at midnight. This wakes 11 year old who now has called out for a drink of water. I am now unable to go back to sleep until about 1 or 2. Sneak in 4 hours just in time to wake at 6 and get ready for work. I have to laugh or I will cry. I don’t dwell on the tiredness it just makes it worse.

  4. I feel like I don’t have the right to comment on this post, because … Frankie sleeps now. But I just had to. Because I know Frankie sleeps now, & you probably want to sucker punch me (& rightfully so), but I still really DO understand sleep dep.

    Max never slept. NEVER. In the end, we got sleep out of him via co-sleeping, which he self weaned from JUST before Frankie was born. I loved co-sleeping. But I was also glad that it ended. Y’know, to get bed space back!

    And then Frankie arrived. And didn’t sleep. What a flippin’ surprise?!

    I’m at peace with the fact that I breed little people who don’t sleep.

    We went to sleep school. I’ve copped some flack for it. Some of our friends have done that kinda passive agressive dig like, “Oh, I’m so glad it worked out for you. Me personally, I would NEVER do that”.

    Kudos to you, my friends.

    We did. And if we didn’t. I think I was daaaaaaaangerously close to y’know, being one of those women who were NOT ok.

    I don’t have the answers. I had to outsource to get some of the answers. And for now, they’re working. But I’m still waiting for it to all fall apart again, ha! … ever the optimist.

    I guess my point is, these early years are wonderful, but shit, all rolled into one.

    I’ve only just made peace with that. Made peace with the fact that I’m not going to love every bloody minute of Mothering. Sometimes, I really hate the large majority of the day (especially when Frankie gets all shouty during those wonderful wonder weeks).

    I just really, truly do hope sleep comes for you soon.

    My ability to concentrate at work has significantly improved since Frankie started sleeping, & I HATED feeling so … vacant before that.

    Sleep for your Mama little Luella!

    Love all of us,

    x x x

    • Cherie Alan I so relate to your comment “But I’m still waiting for it to all fall apart again, ha! … ever the optimist”. I too did sleep school with my son and it was the greatest gift, but I live with this dread that it will all come to an end eventually!

    • Yes, it’s such a vacant feeling and I don’t think I realise how bad it is… because I’m chugging along.

      We don’t have any sleep schools up here. I was amazed when my midwife told me that. I’m used to Sydney where we had everything.

      I’ve loved watching your sleep journey, and how it’s done a big U-turn. I’m not brave enough to even explore it. I do that a lot in life, stall at the stuff I should probably do… for the sake of everyone, because it seems hard.

      Perhaps I’ll start with researching. I think there are sleep teachers who can come to the house. I always worry that they’ll judge me on my parenting skills… because I just do what the baby wants for the most part.

  5. I used to chant this saying to myself all the time in the throws of sleep deprivation and hope that it was true.
    I’d just like you to know that soon you will sleep again, regularly and deeply. The saying is true and it does come around sooner than you think. I hope you get zzz’s soon xx

  6. Oh dear! I remember it well. Hang in there – they do get older and you will get sleep. Though, I don’t think you ever catch up on all the lost sleep 🙂

  7. ah I sympathise, I am woken by both mine all night too……. I can’t remember the best sleep I ever had my memory is hazy due to…. no sleep. Fresh laundered sheets for a night interrupted sounds oh so magic!!! Solidarity x

  8. Oh I know your pain. Miss Olivia nearly 3 has always been a shocker. Lachie (11mth) used to be great but is now horrible.

    I actually dreamt last night of being back in hospital and had a glorious drug induced sleep the night Lachie was born. The downside to this was that Lachie was in NICU but boy was it a great sleep

  9. Chantelle….. HOW THE HELL do you survive…. how on earth do you work each day???? I am in shock after reading that list….. I am tired tonight (just once and my children normally sleep perfectly) and I have not coped at all well today, I have been a raving lunatic, and very very cranky…. how do you carry on day after day with no sleep? I take my hat off to you girlie! I look forward to the day you can finally sleep properly! Good luck.

  10. Our son sleeps fine, he wakes up once to go next to my husband (they sleep in a separate room). I “sleep” with our daughter (11 months) and last night we woke up once or twice every hour. Usually I get one or two 2-hour-periods and that’s my bliss at the moment. I love babies, but god I hate this not-sleeping-part!

  11. Three non-sleepers in this house. The eldest finally sleeps well, the middle not too badly (though some nights terribly!). The youngest is sleeping crap at the moment. 7.5 years of not really sleeping at night and it pretty much sucks. One day I will sleeeeeeeeep.

  12. Lets see Grace is nearly 13 and I dont sleep when I’m pegnant either so its been at least that long, its like they tag team every time the littlest sleeps one of the others will be up a dozen times you get used to it. No thats a lie it doesnt get easier case and point the whole house asleep me wide awake out of habit know I’ll regret it later but right now the only sound I hear is the sweet sound of nothing (well crickets and snoring but you know what I mean)

  13. One day you will get to sleep all night long Idk when but somewhere between when the girls are a wee but older and before they start going out at night,a tip for you if they have a nap ,have one too,don’t worry about the work it will get done,it’s better to be a bit less tired than have a perfect house Xx

  14. I have not had a full nights sleep in 3 years. Exhausted is my normal. I cant imagine what it feels like to be well rested. I just keep telling myself that one day they’re not going to need me and I will long for them to call out during the dark hours for a snuggle.
    Hang in there sleep craving sister x

    • Exactly. I stroke her hair and I know one day I’ll miss it, so I’ll hold onto the things I love about it, and try and forget the things I don’t {bags under my eyes, dragging my body around during the day, feeling like my brain doesn’t work…}

  15. Thank you for this post! My 4 year old is the wirst sleeper ever and sometimes I feel so alone! x

    • You are not alone. In fact, I reckon we should have a little space online when we go to chat at crazy o’clock when we’re feeding our babies, or trying to resettle them… just so you know you’re not the only one awake.

  16. Oh I hear you Chantelle – we have two sleep-haters here too!

    I have no idea what it’s like to put a baby to bed and not hear from them, or attend to them until the next morning….which is crazy, considering my kids are 2 and 6! ONE DAY….we’ll get our chance to sleep all night. Until then…hang in there Mama xx


  17. Sleep? I’ve forgotten what that’s like. I celebrate if I get 3 hours straight. And on the rare occasion I get 4 hours straight my body is adamant that’s it’s had enough sleep!
    Sending drowsy thoughts to your litttlies in the hope you get some much needed z’s!

  18. I just want to give you a big hug and tell you that one day (though probably not any time soon if I’m honest), sleep will eventually re-enter your life. My first would only sleep for 20 minutes at a time, day or night. We tried everything and so did our doctors, but nothing changed. I remember crying when other mums would talk about sleep. He eventually slept through the night at 3 1/2 yrs. he’s now 17 and loves his sleep.The next 5 weren’t quite as bad, but they were still shockers. Those hormones that convince us we can do this sleep deprived baby thing again have a lot to answer for don’t they. All I can say is do what works for you and ignore those who tell you you’re doing it wrong (if there are any). There’s nothing better than cuddling up with your kids and catching a few extra zzzz’s. As long as you’re happy, get that sleep any way you can. Sending sleep filled wishes your way.

  19. He he he ‘foot in my face’.. I woke up with a foot wedged UNDER my (huge) pregnant belly this morning after we were joined at 2am by a certain 2 year old that we appear to own. With bubba #2 due in the next 8 or so weeks, I’m reading this and taking deep breaths.. Maybe I should just quit sleeping now in preparation? Lol

      • Lol I’m going to try. Think I’m still in that magical phase where it’s not too uncomfortable to sleep (and I don’t suffocate myself on my back..yet). Son was a SHOCKING sleeper so I’m going in prepared this time 🙂

  20. Ah yes, sleep! Every parent’s caper it seems!! I have hopes that one day my children will actually sleep through the night, and when that night comes I will… probably not be able to sleep myself!! haha!

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