Archives for category: Sleep

It’s short and sweet and goes like this:

Once there was a girl named Mitzi, and she had a little brother named Jacob. They slept in the same room and in the same big bed, each sprawled on her or his own side. Mitzi usually hugged the edge of the bed, teetering on the edge, and usually teetered on the edge of sleep, too, holding out as long as she could. She wanted to snuggle her mama as she went to sleep, lying on her right side with her left arm wrapped around her mama’s left arm. Jacob wanted to put his head on his mama’s right shoulder and snuggle his mama to sleep, too. They’d often drift off grudgingly, as if unwilling to give the day up without a fight. That day would never come again, and who’s to say those few last minutes weren’t the most important?

Tonight – this night – was different.

Tonight Mitzi and Jacob snuggled their mama, snuggled their daddy, and giggled and talked together, making the final moments important in a new way — and then went to sleep all by themselves.

“Good night, Mitzi,” whispered her mama and daddy in wonder. “Good night, Jacob,” whispered his mama and daddy.

And then they stayed up to do exciting things like put cardboard in the recycling bin and fold laundry, and then they all slept happily ever after. (At least I hope that’s how this one will end!)

I’d told Boy that if his diaper was dry for three nights in a row, he could sleep in undies instead of a diaper. In early December, we’d go two nights and have a wet diaper the third. Good rule, I thought, patting myself on the back. Glad I hadn’t set the bar at two nights!

For weeks now, his diapers have weighed the same in the morning as they did at night. Due to a rash, we’ve had to have a dalliance with disposables after more than two years of cloth. They felt so foreign, so wrong, so wasteful…so easy. I’d touch them to see if they were dry – they sure were! Of course, I couldn’t tell if they were dry from being dry or dry from being disposable. With cloth, you know – even if you have a AI2 and have to reach inside to check. I wasn’t about to cut his diapers open to feel the magic beads or whatever lives inside the diapers (small, inflatable fairies? They’d have one of the worst jobs ever!).

I decided I’d try the switch to underwear on a Friday – no wet bed to contend with on a school night, if it all went wrong. And it didn’t.

I might be a bit sadder about leaving this stage behind if it were the cloth diapers I was giving up now. However, in these use-it-once-and-move-on diapers, there’s no nostalgia, no “remember when’s.” We’re disposing with disposables, and I’m glad. I just hope that the rest of the nights are as dry as last night.


We’ve arrived here, at New Year’s Eve, just like we’ve done every year of our lives. Of course, when you’re 4 1/2, that means it’s only been (and yet, it’s already been!) five years’ worth of New Year’s Eves. When you’re 1 1/2, there’s only been one other. So much seems new! (And there are so many new words…)

After some party time, they both fell asleep after ten o’clock, Boy snuggled in my arms, Girl snuggled face-to-face with me. “Don’t go, stay here and keep me warm,” she murmured drowsily as I shifted to cover her up. Their warmth still lingers with me, even as I sit here.

We didn’t have time to linger over reading, though. Tonight, we read – but barely! – from Kathryn Jackson’s The Around-the-Year Storybook, with pictures by J.P. Miller. With stories, poems, and songs (covering the seasons, constellations, and holidays, among other things) for each month of the year, it’s a good one to pick up regularly. The animals in the stories, like Mathilda Mouse, Little Bear, and Grandfather Groundhog, are generally charming. It seemed appropriate. The book ends with “And So the Year’s Over -” and goes like this:

The year is like a rolling wheel
That never makes a sound,
But changes seasons as it goes
A-rolling, rolling round.

And when the year has rolled around
The old year ends, and then–
That rolling wheel of changing days
Starts rolling round again.

Tonight, Boy rolled from my arms onto the bed – and onto his belly – and Girl rolled onto her side, a snuggle personified. And, with another hour or so, our year, too, will roll around, and we can roll back to the beginning of the book as we start a year anew. May it be a happy new year!

Jackson, Kathryn. The Around-the-Year Storybook. New York: Golden Press, 1971.


According to “they,” children between ages one and five are supposed to sleep about twelve hours a day, give or take. “They,” however, have not had a chance to discuss this with Girl and Boy yet. I wish they would. Boy slept away his early months, rarely cracking an eyelid or giving us a glance before nursing and going back (or, really, continuing) to sleep, sleeping something like twenty-two hours a day. Girl gave up napping at two and a half and hasn’t napped in months, not even when she has been sick.

Even given their approaches to sleep, today was a whole different thing. Yes, Girl had a fever last night, said, “I’m too tired to eat!”, and fell asleep on the bed at 6 in her clothes. Yes, Boy wouldn’t go down for his nap, so he was asleep at 6:45. An early night, given that they’ve been falling asleep at 8:30 or 9:00 lately (and sleeping until 8, too, I should add). A moment of calm. Their daddy had been out of  town for a few days, and when he arrived home a little after seven, the quiet house was a shock.

It didn’t last long enough. Girl coughed and cried some, rousing herself from sleep, and then was happy to see her daddy, holding onto his hand with a strength that belied the effects of her fever, even as she lay with her head on my chest, coughing more. A little after two in the morning, she was coughing even more, and I took her to the shower, hoping the steamy air would soothe what ailed her so she could sleep.

Instead, it seemed to rouse her a bit. To backpedal, I tried to sing her back to sleep, scratch her back – whatever I could do while not waking her brother. Like my first bike, however, backpedaling brought the brakes on, and any sleeping she’d thought of doing came to a pink-Schwinned halt. She’d already had eight hours of sleep. When she saw her daddy again, it really was all over. She wanted to sleep next to him. She wanted to put her head on his shoulder. Sure, she’d go to sleep, she said..

“Daddy!” Boy shouted, springing to his feet in the three o’clock hour and throwing his arms around his daddy. Ah, now no one was sleeping. (Well, maybe the cats still were…)

And just to fast forward: there was no more sleeping. Their daddy went back to bed because work requires some semblance of together-ness, but for the rest of us, there was much frustration (that was mostly me: how hard could it be for them to just go back to sleep – and let me sleep, too?). By four-something, I conceded, and we watched Word World (I still love it!) followed by Classical Baby: The Dance Show. Twice. She ate an apple, he ate grapes.

He napped from almost 8 until 9:45. He wouldn’t nap in the afternoon. (To be fair, he may have, had it not been for the less-than-helpful kissiness, leaning-over-my-shoulderness, and general distracting nature of Girl. How is it that such things, which, under other circumstances, would be so endearing, can be so distracting?) She did not nap at all, though not for lack of my effort.

He went to sleep around 5:30, maybe 5:45 tonight. He was toast (the “oops, I sure left that in the toaster too long!” kind).

And Girl? She was asleep at 7:00. Just to make this clear: she was awake from 2:15 in the morning until 7:00 at night! Nearly seventeen hours. How is that possible? The fever seemed to fade away to nothing, and all that was left was a mad desire to stay awake, logic and sleepiness be darned.

Sleep is good. At some point, we realize that, often when we’re least able to get it. Sleep was in front of them, served up on a platter, steaming and fragrant. Mmmm, sleep. I could almost taste it. Was it not appetizing to them? Did I inadvertently try to serve Girl a steaming pile of mashed potato-esque sleep? (And what IS the deal with her cough? How much do I need to worry?)

I’m hoping for a better night tonight.

Once I get more sleep, I’m looking for “they”;  I hope “they” can set my children straight on this sleep thing. If you’ve seen them, would you send them my way? While you’re at it, would you throw in a few extra hours of sleep? Rest assured, I’ll put them to good use.

This is what nighttime should look like.

This is what nighttime should look like.

You never quite know what will stick, what comments made in passing will be repeated (coming back either to elate or to haunt you), what thoughts or lessons shared will root themselves deeply. You throw lots of darts at the board, but if you’re like my sister and me when we were kids, the wall and the floor each suffered unduly.

This makes it all the more surprising when you hit the bullseye.

We’ve been signing – inconsistently – with Boy. I’d used the sign for “sad” with him maybe twice, choosing the version in which you trace a tear down your cheek with one finger. Once he was ready for bed tonight he wanted to be picked up;  I lifted him up, and he rewarded me by slapping me in the face. “Hurt,” I signed. “That makes me sad,” I said. He looked at me, then traced a finger down his cheek.

Not quite so sad as I had been before. That one had hit its mark!

Bedtime, however, was long, and I did feel a little sad. As Girl was finally winding down after worrying about hearing thunder (“That was just the sound of the wheels of Daddy’s truck on the gravel,” I assured her), her mind roamed as it so often does.

“What did Daddy have before his truck?” she asked.

He’s had his truck since 2007, I think, so any “before” is also pre-Girl. What makes her wonder such things?

“He had a green car, and he had a red car before that, and another car…but I don’t know what color that was.”


“We can ask him.”

She was silent for a little while, and then she made her final comment of the night before rolling over on her side to go to sleep: “I hope we all die together.”

For someone who has never thrown darts, her aim is impeccable – and darts are piercing. I gave her a kiss, but really, if I’d learned anything from my own lessons, it was time to trace my finger down my own cheek.


My daughter, who switched into a single bed three nights ago to accommodate her near-crawling brother who can no longer safely sleep on our shared bed and needed the crib-turned-toddler-bed-turned-crib, is now huddled in the top right corner at the head of the bed, taking up approximately 1/6 of the mattress. No pillow, no stuffed animals, no sheet to cover her. God love her. I know I do.

What, you may ask, is your secret? How can you get your daughter to be asleep by 8:45 at night, even after taking an epic three and a half hour nap today?

Waking up at 4:30 in the morning.

Snotty sleep, night three:

From the start of nighttime preparations to sleeping took twenty minutes tonight (and included all of the usuals – toothbrushing, washing up, reading – even some saline spray for the nose!), probably a record for us. She was one tired girl. I’m hoping for better sleep. We had to buy extra soft lotion tissues today to try to be good to her nose, if that puts the extent of her snottiness into perspective. Her nose is chapped.

Snotty sleep, night two:

She was restless from two to three then fretfully awake and dozy from three to four, with a little nightmare-y screaming and kicking thrown in for fun, with congestion as the cherry on top. It was not a good sleeping night for either of us.

Snotty sleep, night one:

She woke up and asked where Daddy was (never mind how many times she’d asked before or that she knew the answer – at a conference, giving a talk, in Pittsburgh). She woke up screaming and kicking at least five times, although she wasn’t so congested yet; it got worse yesterday. In the morning, I asked her the adult question, “How did you sleep?” I wondered if she’d remembered her thrashing.

She looked at me as if I were daft and said, “With my eyes closed.”

Guess I should have known the answer to that one.


Yesterday, the last day of week 32, we had a doctor’s appointment. We’re down to every two weeks. How did that happen?

The riveting details of our visit: My weight: 169. My blood pressure: 118/64. The baby’s heartbeat: 123. Helpful responses to the question, “Do you know of local doulas?”: 0.

Ah, well. I’m working on getting other people’s answers to that one for when Baby Baby makes an appearance.


“You’re my favorite mama,” my sweet daughter told me tonight as she was heading towards sleep. “You’re my favorite girl and my favorite daughter,” I told her in response. “And Baby Baby is your favorite baby!” she added. “Yes,” I told her. “I love you both very much.”

“We all love Baby Baby very much,” she said.

The verses between tonight’s “Mama!” and “Baby!” call-and-response chorus:

“Why don’t I have my pillow?” (“Because it’s dirty.”) “Why is it dirty? Because it was on the floor? Why was it on the floor?” (“I don’t know.”) “[Not-so-little boy ] was trying to hit with it.”‘ (“That wasn’t very nice.”) “No. Then he put it on the floor.”

“I’m sorry that you has [hazh] a cold, Mama. I’m sorry that you has a cough [caughch]. I’m sorry that…you’re not feeling well, Mama. I’m sorry.”

“Baby Baby doesn’t has teeth [teech], but moaty will make Baby Baby grow, and then Baby Baby will grow teeth.”

After today’s dusting of snow and dropping temperatures, I hope her final thoughts lead her to a good – and warm and cozy – night’s sleep. I know I’m feeling pretty warm and cozy myself after her reflections.