Friday, October 16

Sleep Training

I never knew that human beings needed to "learn" how to sleep. I thought that sleeping was something that came naturally. Like breathing. No one has to teach babies how to breathe, they just do it. The same should be true of sleeping. But it's not.

My twins were miserable about going to sleep. As infants, they had to be walked to sleep. Dan and I would each grab a baby, heave her over our shoulder, and do laps around the house. This happened every time we wanted to put them down. Initially, we had to do about 11 laps around the house before the baby would fall asleep. But they grew a tolerance to the walking. Like drug addicts, they needed more and more to get the same effect. By five months old, they had worked themselves up to 72 laps.

I cracked. I was at my wits end. I couldn't physically keep up with the lack of sleep and the constant walking. I asked Mum for advice. She told me to stop walking and simply put the babies in their cribs. Sounds rational, but I had to point out to my mother that the babies would cry if I didn't walk them around and around and around the house. She said, "That's okay". She picked up a baby, and put her in the crib. The baby cried, but she stopped after a minute. I was shocked! Not only because it worked, but also because Mum never mentioned this trick before!

A couple of days ago, Sarah slept through the night. For the first time. She's almost 18 months old. However, Bethie did not sleep through the night. She seldom does. That night in particular, she woke up the first time because she had a bad dream. The second time she woke up was because her water bottle was empty. I complained to Mum again. I would like to sleep through the night. Sometimes, I am up 4 or 5 times a night, and I don't have a newborn. All of my children should be in bed by 7:30pm and sleep for about 12 hours. That's my rule, but none of them obey me!

Mum said "That's ridiculous! Tell the twins that you have had enough of their nonsense!". It sounded like good advice to me. Within minutes, Bethie was calling me upstairs. I marched up those stairs ready to give 'em Hell. I walked right up to Bethie's bed and said "I have had enough nonsense tonight! I don't want to hear from you until tomorrow!". With dancing eyes, my baby looked at me, smiled and said, "Will you listen to my nonsense tomorrow?". Sigh. She's funny like her Daddy.

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