Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Reclaiming the Night

Three months ago I said hello to my newborn, and goodbye to my evenings.

I cherish my evenings.  On hard days, it is always a countdown until the kids' bedtime at 8pm. After 8pm, my time is my own again.  For 2-3 hours, I can do whatever I want.  I can have a nice big glass of wine.  I can watch trashy shows.  I can clean or email or read or make phone calls all without children tugging at my legs.  It is glorious.  It's my only true "me" time, and I cherish it.

Alas, I lost it on November 13, 2013, when my third son was born.

Newborns take all of your energy, that's for sure.  They are an immense amount of work (particularly on top of two other rambunctious boys).  But during the day, it is much easier to handle.  Because I'm used to being busy during the day.  It's normal to be busy during the day.  But newborns are on an around the clock schedule.  And once my third baby entered this world, an all too familiar feeling descended upon me.

I started dreading the nights.

Real, true dread.  When that sun started setting (and it has been setting ridiculously early these past few months), the anxiety would descend.  What would tonight bring?

Would he cry for hours?  Need to eat constantly?  When would I eat?  When would I sleep?  How long would I be able to sleep before I am jerked awake?  Would he go back down after he eats? What if he doesn't?  What if I am up all night long and never get to sleep and then have to deal with all three children tomorrow?

Of course, not all nights were awful.  Some were manageable.  But every once in a while, I'd get a real doozy.  One that would rock me and leave me deliriously sleep deprived and depressed.  And that would be enough to cause dread of sundown for weeks to come.  And thus, my bed, my respite, became a vehicle of vulnerability and fear.  THERE IS NO BREAK.  THERE IS NO FREEDOM.  YOU ARE NEVER SAFE.

The idea of a relaxing evening seemed a distant memory.

But then, something happened.

I have been wanting to write about it, but I have been fearful.  Fearful that some cosmic force or fate would jinx me.  That by saying it out loud, in public, to the internet, it would somehow go away. But I can't keep my silence any longer.  So here it goes.

My 3 month old son has been sleeping through the night.

(Knock on wood, fingers crossed, legs crossed, stick a needle in your eye, whatever.  Just do something please).

By sleeping through the night, I mean 11 STRAIGHT HOURS.

I put him down at 8:30pm, and he wakes up at 7:30am.


He had done this a few times over the past six weeks, but I thought it was just a fluke.  And it seemed it was, as it was interspersed among nightmarish nights where he was up 3-4 times.  I told myself I wouldn't speak of it or gain any confidence until he had slept through the night for seven consecutive nights.

Hallelujah, he's done it.

Do you know what this means?

It means that it's possible - that I'm close- that it could be- that I can reclaim the nights for myself again.

It means that I can be void of dread.  That I can sleep without fear.  That I can crawl into bed and get comfy and know that until morning, no one will scream at me with a demanding cry that I assist them at once.  That I can become a normal human being again.  That I can drink wine with impunity knowing I don't have to feed a baby for 11 more hours.

It's so close I can taste it.  Or maybe I'm there?  I don't know.  I'm too scared to say.

What I can say is that this angel baby is the bestest baby on the entire earth.  (As long as he keeps giving us those 11 hours.)

Sleep, baby, sleep.  Good baby.  


  1. My third boy was born on 11/16 and I hope to be there with you soon. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you! I have really enjoyed your posts about life with this baby...maybe because I can relate almost 100% to your experience as you've shared it. Thank you for writing!

  2. Expecting my third son in a few months as well. Have a 2 yr old and 1 yr old currently to add to my (ahem) anxiety. Never imagined we'd have our kiddos so close together, but it's the way we ended up with our delicious little baby brood. So, I'm feeling blessed, but will remember your post on sharing the TRUTH of how hard the nights can be, and the pure elation that goes with regaining long nights of sleep and freedom. Hope it continues!

  3. I am so incredibly jealous.


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