Since M was born, I have been flexible about many things…except sleep. A friend gave some great unsolicited advice before he was born. She said that her friends thought she was crazy, but she never compromised on her son’s sleep: specific bedtime routine, definite bedtime, etc. I took this to heart.
M has never been a great sleeper. He is very sensitive to changes in temperature in the room. He gets caught in his blankets. He gets thirsty. This has translated into him waking 2-6 times a night for almost three years.
Even though friends with kids have made fun of me, we have always been the ones who leave the party first to make sure he gets in the tub by ‘tub time’. Then, this summer happened.
I let go. I am not sure how it happened, but I just let go of all those tight restrictions around his sleep. We started staying at the party later. One night, I got excited for him to see stars in the sky. So we stayed up past dark. You know what? He slept that night. He slept 10 hours straight. As I released my grip, he started to sleep better. It became obvious that regardless of when he went to sleep, he would sleep 10 hours.
This has been revolutionary for me. It has relieved a ton of anxiety that came with such rigid ideas. Flexibility around his sleep has opened up a whole new world of fun things that happen after 7:00 p.m. Last night, we had a campfire at some friends’ house. We played the guitar (poorly) and tried to sing songs (poorly) and let the kids run around in the dark. They ate marshmallows before bed and took their jackets off when it was chilly out. The best part? We ended the night with a dance party in the driveway. Everyone danced in the glow of the car lights until we were done, no pressure to run off to bed.
M slept 10 hours last night. 10 p.m. until 8 a.m. We didn’t have to go in his room once. A year ago, I would have been having a slight panic attack if we were out past bedtime. Today, I was thinking about all the cool things that happen when you stay up too late. What a difference a year makes.