What Your Baby Thinks When They Won't Let You Sleep, According To One Exhausted Mom
There's a lot I miss about my kids being babies, but the lack of sleep isn't one of them. The cuddles and sweet baby scents radiating off the tops of their little heads? Heaven. The tiny onesies and incoherent babble? Fantastic. The utter refusal to sleep after a long day? No way. Some thoughts your baby has about you when they're keeping you up all night long might be adorable, but they're not cool on any level — especially when you haven't slept in days and all you want is a few hours of shuteye. Just a few hours, you guys. Hell, you'd take 30 minutes at this point.
My two kids were very different babies. My daughter did pretty well with sleep training, and began sleeping through the night when she was only a few months old. That is, until a goddamn sleep regression hit. After that, you might as well place your bets on who was going to be able to sleep, and for how long. Most nights, I swear my daughter stayed awake for no other reason than to keep me up. She took pleasure in my fatigue and tried to break me down. FYI, it worked.
My son never really took to sleep training, though. He was diagnosed of GERD as an infant, so he couldn't sleep for a significant amount of time before spitting up. Eventually his body grew out of that, but his inability to sleep soundly through the night remained. I always felt like he genuinely wanted to be around me all the time, though. It just made him happy, so he would prolong sleep to get some more one-on-one time with mom. Lucky me? I'm sure if he could do it all over again, he'd never let me sleep a day in my life. With that, here are some thoughts my babies, and yours, has about you when they refuse to sleep.
Sometimes your baby might actually need something — like a diaper change, a bottle, sleep regression or medical attention — but then there are the nights when they really just, well, fake it. I swear my kids just stayed up for the hell of it. They were testing me, trying to see how many times I'd fall for whatever act they played.
Spoiler alert: I fell for it every single time.
"You're My Favorite Toy"
You know what's fun? Being so tired you can barely keep your eyes open while your baby plays with your nose, your eyelashes, and any other part of your body because they're not tired at all.
This was my son for most of his infancy. He just wasn't interested in sleep, and while he was adorable, this routine got real old, real fast.
"You Can't Possible Want To Sleep Right Now"
All those nights I wandered into my baby girl's room to see what all the commotion was about, only to lean into the crib to see her wide-eyed, smiling back at me as if it were the start of her busy day, almost broke me. Of course I caved and picked her up, tried (and failed) to rock her back to sleep, and, inevitably, ended up drifting off to sleep myself while she curiously tried to understand why I wasn't in a playing mood.
Yeah, I don't miss that part of motherhood.
"You're So Much Fun"
My son has always praised me for being fun, and when he was a baby his constant laughter reassured me that I couldn't bore him if I'd tried (and I sure tried when I was sleep-deprived). My daughter stopped thinking I was fun when she approached her toddler years, but as a baby she wanted to be entertained at night.
Now both my kids will tell you I'm not that much any more. On an unrelated note, we all sleep soundly.
"I Knew You'd Come To My Rescue"
That face my babies made when I stumbled into their dark rooms wasn't that of a baby in need, but a baby reassured they could count on me. It's hard to be too mad when I felt felt like if something had been wrong, and they relied on me to stay up with them all night, I could. The problem? There wasn't a lingering issue that required my constant vigilance. My kids just wanted me up because I could be.
"I Knew You Missed Me"
I'm pretty sure some of those nights, my son — properly nicknamed "my sunshine" — wanted to be sure I missed him as much as he missed me. It's funny, though, because no matter how tired I was or how frustrated I felt when he wasn't sleeping, his smile always reminded me that, yes, I did miss him.
The kid played me like a fiddle.
"You're My Hero"
Being the one who "rescues" the baby from the crib and feeling their gratitude is, well, awesome. It didn't matter how badly I needed sleep in those moments, because I was the only person in the world my kids cared about. Plus, I knew those nights would be over before I knew it, and I'd no longer be dragging into their rooms in the middle of the night to comfort them.
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