Sleep Is Overrated

Or so I’ve convinced myself lately.

 

I’m a new mom, my baby is active, and she doesn’t really sleep as much as I though kids her age would sleep. Infact her poor sleep pattern has literally made me eligible for a citizenship for Zombie Land. She didn’t sleep much as a teeny tiny one week old, not when she was three months and not even now.

People kept telling me and husband that she’ll start sleeping once she is two months. Didn’t happen. Then people said, oh she’ll sleep well when she start to sit and play with toys. Nope. People still kept saying that she will sleep better when she moves around and her activities increase. No sir, not true. Baby G does not sleep much. Her naps are peaceful and deep, but very short. And month after month of waiting, wishing and wondering if she will start to sleep well, I’ve come to terms with the fact that little G just isn’t big on sleep.

She’d rather be playing with her toys, trying to eat my novels and magazines or bouncing her cute bottom to a peppy song – anything but sleep. At nine months, she sleeps for half an hour at a stretch twice in a day, sleeps late at night and wakes up fresh and upbeat at 6:30 when the husband is leaving for work.

Don’t get me wrong – I did have a game plan, I did try to set up (and later, force) a good long-sleep routine for her. I read a million articles about a healthy sleep routine. I consulted six paediatricians. I follow everything in the book –

  • Keep her clean, dry and comfortable
  • Conduct hour-long routine of feeding, rocking, bouncing, singing
  • Nap time massage

I have tried everything from music to stories to rocking to pretending-mommy-is-asleep to mild threats about a certain giant crow that takes babies if they don’t sleep. Nothing worked. Infact, I think she loves the idea of the giant crow and has named one of her stuffed dolls “crrrrwwo”. Ha-ha. Maybe she just isn’t wired to sleep for long hours.

She’s healthy and growing well, and that is what matters. Babies set their own schedule and as parents, you can’t ‘get everything under control’. Infact, I’ve learned that one of the first lessons of parenting is learning to give up control. Every baby has a different sleep pattern and maybe her’s isn’t very long. My little baby G is always awake and obviously, I’m awake more than her. So now, nine months later, here I am announcing that sleep is overrated.

I mean, who needs sleep anyway? Such a waste of time. Being an Army wife, I got unwillingly used to a nap in the day time because the husband routine was such. But now, both of us are majorly sleep deprived – but happy. We do things that other new parents might not be able to do just yet. Like, talking for half hours uninterrupted when she’s asleep. Also, we’re eating well since we’ve given up on trying to catch up on sleep. No more rushed lunches or skipped dinners for us – now we eat with peace in our half an hour window. All because, we are free from the mental block of “enough sleep”.

What is enough sleep, really? How much of sleep is enough for someone? I think it is a variable that keeps changing according to your requirement. We sleep in the night as soon as baby G sleeps and when she wakes up for feed or of boredom of sleeping (that’s my baby G!) – we also wake up not expecting her to sleep right after feeding. Sometimes she does, sometimes she just wants to play. No expectations, no hurt feeling. Good, right?

After I gave up trying and hoping, I’ve realized that I’m at peace. Really. Now I’m not constantly thinking about sleeping, instead, I catch up on reading or (mostly) social media on the phone for G’s little half an hour sleep sessions. I’ve even indulged in some Do It Yourself craft ideas like turning an empty glass jar into a pretty candle stand etc in the free time, and this cute little canvas that I painted (or wrote on in free hand – font style: Zombie) for a wall in the house that is dedicated to baby G.

Message on Canvas for Daughter

I look a little zombie like, but nothing that good mascara and bright eye shadow can’t hide. G is getting more and more active, trying to stand and walk, and though mom and mom in law tell me that ‘they sleep better when they start walking because they get exhausted’ – I’m not fantasizing. One look at those huge eyes after she wakes up and shouts for me is enough to make my heart melt and forget everything. Let her not sleep, if she is happy and fit, I’m not letting my quest for rest spoil the fun for us.

Also, I am already hoping her studying hard late at night or reading interesting books later in her life, rather that wasting time sleeping till late. Oh, wishes and dreams!

Aditi Mathur was born on Feb the 14th and since then it has all been awkward for her. A strong believer of “Whatever!”, an ex-advertising girl, a once-upon-a-time blogger, an out-of-place Army Wife and a real-life social person, she has now given up everything for her adorable almost-nine-months old daughter Gauri (Um, also for Twitter, actually). Stalk her at at http://damonologue.blogspot.com or  @adicrazy on Twitter. Or Not. Whatever.

  • Roshni

    Some kids are like that, unfortunately. My friend’s son also is like G. He hardly slept as an infant and still is very active and sleeps just a minimal number of hours. I’m impressed that you utilize your time so well in the meantime!

  • Madhu Saxena

    Loved it! G really is active 🙂

  • somya

    After reading the end, something inside my brain shouted ‘Damn it! I wasted half of my life’. As you know how much I LOVE sleeping. But This is truly an eye opener.
    I love the use of ‘Baby G’ and every time I read it there was a huge smile on my face.
    Loved the post!

  • Oh how I wished, the whole first year, that my little monkey would sleep just a little bit more. He didn’t even sleep through the night. And then, it happened. One fine day, just like that. He took 2 hour afternoon nap. AND slept through the night. And the happy ever after 🙂 now he’s 16 months and there are days when I have to wake him up at 9 in the morning.

    I must say you did a lot by not sleeping. All I did was whine.

  • Wow..can’t believe I found a blog post similarly d titled like I wrote some time back on a similar subject . My boy is a terrible terrible sleeper. And I wrote about that here 🙂

    http://amayzmom.com/2013/06/17/that-overrated-thing-called-sleep/

    Sleep, sure is overrated !