I wish I could go back to my 27 year old new-mommy self and explain to her the difference between the sounds of “baby completely awake and finished nap, ready to continue the day” and “baby coming out of REM sleep 45 minutes into a nap that will continue if you don’t touch or disturb him”.
There is a lot of information about parenting, and babies, and mom-stuff, on the internet. Too much. But that 45 minute sleep cycle? Is true and real, and if I never tell another new mom anything I will tell her about that.
I’m still so tense at the sound of a baby crying. Even if it’s just a minor fuss my first instinct is to run and soothe, pat, cuddle, nurse. I’ve had to make myself set an oven timer for five minutes when the baby cries either at bedtime or mid-nap, because no baby will be irreparably damaged by five minutes of non-hysterical crying. Turns out my personal internal timer sends out a happy adrenaline dump at around the two-minute mark – MAH BABY IS CRYING OH NOES!!! – and I wonder if Harry would have been a better sleeper during that first year if I could have left him to try and soothe himself, at least a little.
Nine times out of ten, by the end of that five minutes, Baby G is asleep. And he is my best sleeper, of all three. He goes to bed at about the same time every night. He still gets up to eat a couple of times a night, but he goes right back to sleep afterwards now. He wakes around 5AM and comes into bed with Michael and I, and I feed him First Breakfast in a half-doze while the sun comes in the window and the cat nuzzles the back of Baby’s head.
I’m still tired. I still long for the next night that I get eight solid hours of uninterrupted and worry-free sleep. But I’m not a danger to myself and others like I was when Harry was a baby. I’m kind of blue this week, and my temper is short, but I’m not depressed like I was that first year of motherhood, crying all the time and wondering why I seemed to be failing.
My 27 year old me. She needs a hug.