Look, let me just tell you once and for all that when it comes to babies and sleep, things are every bit as terrible as you would imagine. As in, once you have one, you probably won't be getting very much of it at all.
Back before I got pregnant I used to think things, in all seriousness, like hmm, I really don't know if I can have a baby because I like sleeping too much, and then once I did get pregnant and everyone was "helpfully" telling me to stock up on sleep—ah, yes! Let me buy a chest freezer for my garage specifically for that purpose! Or maybe some of those storage bags that I can vaccum seal shut?—I thought ehhhh, it can't be as bad as all that, but now that I'm in the thick of it, I would like to go on record as saying, in case there was any doubt about it whatsoever, that yes, it is as bad as all that. I haven't slept for more than four consecutive hours in....my god, I don't even know. Since way before Hugo was born, certainly, because pregnancy ain't a walk in the park when it comes to restful nights either.
And the sad part is, four consecutive hours is good. When I get four consecutive hours of sleep, I wake up with a skip in my step and bluebirds on my shoulder and I tell all my mom friends I GOT FOUR HOURS, I GOT FOUR HOURS, and all my mom friends rejoice with me and high-five me and slap me on the back like I just won the lottery and then I tell all my childless friends about the FOUR HOURS IN A ROW, FOUR HOURS IN A ROW and they look at me askance, the fear in their eyes matched only by the pity, and they back away from me slowly like oh, honey.
I spent the hours between two and three this morning trying to devise a way to ask for more sleep for Christmas. Sometime in the next few weeks, you see, someone in my family is going to ask me for my Christmas list and I am just going to hand them a piece of paper that says SLEEP. And if they say "hey, that's not a list," I'm going to take it back, find a pen, and add as many synonyms for sleep as I can think of. Like okay, here, I would also like forty winks. And some zzzzzzs. Are those zzzzzzs eligible for free shipping with Amazon Prime? Yeah, I should think so.
I don't know if my kid is going through some sort of weird sleep regression or if Marc Weissbluth just totally lied to me about EVERYTHING, THAT SWINE, but we have been dealing with some seeeeeerious bullshit ever since I tried to get this baby on a schedule. A 7pm bedtime, a 6:30pm bedtime, and—okay, sure, I'll keep moving it back, whatever you say, let's try anything—a 6pm bedtime have all yielded the same thing: lots and lots and lots of frantic waking up, from every thirty minutes to every two hours. Last night, I gave up and put him down at 9pm because ughhhh, okay, this early business isn't working, clearly you are some sort of night owl who wants to stay up to the wee hours of the morning while you smoke clove cigarettes and listen to Joni Mitchell and write poetry in your journal, and boom: suddenly we're back to sleeping four hours at a stretch and everyone is happy.
(Remember, four hours at a stretch is good. If I just reminded you to take your birth control pill, you're welcome.)
So now I can either keep trying to push the earlier bedtime, despite the fact that it doesn't really seem to be working very well so far, or I can be a terrible delinquent mother whose 4-month-old goes to bed at 9pm but does, in fact, seem to sleep better when he does.
Also, don't get me started on naps, which work out wonderfully—three a day, an hour to two hours each—when taken in the carrier or the carseat of a moving vehicle but like a hot mess if attempted anywhere else (like, god forbid, THE CRIB OF DOOOOM.) Naps are something I had hitherto given, like, 0.05% of my thoughts to before having a child—I've never really been much of a napper myself, maybe it's because having to take one's contact lenses out beforehand sort of detracts from the alluring spontaneity?—and now they are something whose duration and timing can, no joke, influence the outcome of my day. I mean, I have an app to record them, for god's sake. With graphs.
Oh god, look at me prattling on about sleep like a cliche while I type this with a baby strapped to my chest and my phone timer ticking down the minutes until I can reasonably expect him to wake. What's next, a rousing discussion about pacifiers? BRB, have to go iron my high-waisted mom jeans.