Well, well, well. Greetings from the promised land.
As I write, I am basking in the warm, fuzzy glow of several weeks rest and the luminescence of my skin as those deep-set dark circles created by 15 – yes 15 whole months – of sleepless nights slowly fade.
We believed from the very beginning. We had an unquestioning faith that came from deep within us that our son would learn to sleep through the night all by himself without interference or unnecessary, oppressive discipline.
Our faith was tested many times and these tests came in many shapes and forms. The shape of others scolding us and criticising us, telling us that we’d have to leave him cry sooner or later or that he was making fools of us by making us run to his beck and call and we were making a rod to beat ourselves with. It came in the form of what felt like endless weeks of hourly night time wakings where our bodies ached and our heads hurt with the tiredness.
But we still believed.
And our faith was rewarded.
Somewhere in the midst of getting older, really finding his feet, moving up to an older more active age group in the crèche and stopping breastfeeding, Pip has started to sleep for extended periods at night. I don’t think it’s any one of those things that caused it, I think everything has just happened naturally together.
And it is bliss!
Regularly, depending on how much time I spend foostering around before bedtime, I get eight to seven hours uninterrupted sleep a night. Can you imagine? My body has obviously cottoned on because it seems to have adopted some kind of emergency mode and when I fall asleep it is a limp, heavy, unconsciousness. A healing sleep so deep that waking up feels like I’m being pulled from a grave and being born again.
Now, just to be clear because I will NOT be misleading any other believers seeking the promised land, this long sleeping doesn’t happen every single night. There are nights were he might wake once or twice even and he has had a few nights of illness but it does happen most nights. A broken night’s sleep is unusual now, rather than the norm. He’s also started taking lovely one and a half to two hour naps in the middle of the day. All in all, a corner has very much been turned and restfulness is a part of our lives now. That all sounds pretty healthy to me. If you try to tell me it isn’t, I won’t believe you so don’t be wasting your time telling me that your child sleeps solidly seven to seven every night without fail. I’ll call you a liar, I will.
I wouldn’t be one for verbally exclaiming “I told you so” but by God here it comes:
I. told. you. so.
I did not have to train my child to sleep. I did not have to leave him crying alone and upset so that he could “learn” to self soothe. I did not have to go against what my heart was telling me to follow the instructions of public health nurses and parenting books that insisted I was being a bad and neglectful parent by “indulging” the whims of my child. Yes, he was breastfed to sleep. Yes, he was rocked to sleep, Yes, he slept in the loving arms of his parents. Yes, he was comforted and soothed when he woke.
He started to sleep through the night when his body and his mind were ready to, in a healthy, calm, stress-free way. For all concerned.
I’m feeling triumphant.
Believer, it’ll work for you too. Just keep the faith…