After L was born, D and I really started to hate nighttime. We started calling it dread-time (or going to dread) instead of going to bed because of how much we hated it.
It would have been one thing if we would be able to go to bed knowing that L would wake up at X time. At least then we'd be able to play the whole, "If I go to sleep now I'll get 3 hours of sleep" game. I contest that that situation would be easier to tolerate than what it's actually like to have a newborn. Instead, you're in a constant state of ready, always wondering when they'll wake up.
And L, he liked to keep us on our toes - me in particular. It got worse once D returned to work. My hand to God, L *knew* when D was working and would sleep worse when I was alone at night. L would fall asleep around 9:30, then would wake up at around 10 or 10:30 without fail. And he'd want to be awake for at least an hour, so going to bed before 10 was not possible. I'd fall into bed at around midnight, willing my body to HURRY UP AND SLEEP WHILE YOU STILL CAN. If I fell asleep at 12:30, L would wake up at 12:50. If I stayed up until 1:30, L would wake up at 2.
Yes, those were the good old days. The days of no routine, no rhyme or reason to L's sleep patterns and habits. But then came the golden age - four months old; the age at which it is possible and acceptable to sleep train your baby. I owe my sanity to Dr. Richard Ferber. (If you're ever trying to sleep train your baby, I highly recommend you get his book. The title is slipping my name at the moment.) I'm not going to get into the whole debate of cry-it-out is-a-Godsend vs. cry-it-out-is-evil-and-you-and-Ferber-deserve-to-have-child-protective-services-called-on-your-baby-abusing-behind. But subtly speaking, you can put me on Team Ferber.
At first, implementing the Ferber Method was miserable. The first night, D and I got 3 hours sleep total. But then it started to work. And work. And work. Now, L consistently sleeps a delicious 10 hours each night. I'm so in love with nighttime these days that I thought I'd share our basic night schedule with you.
7:00 p.m. - Turn on Wheel of Fortune and put L in his bouncy seat to feed him solids. Likes: carrots, applesauce, sweet potatoes, bananas. Dislikes: pears, peas, peaches and getting the majority of the food in his mouth.
7:25 p.m. - Start L's bath and gather pj's and a diaper for after the bath.
7:30 p.m. - Put L in the bath and watch as he enjoys the crap out of kicking and splashing in the water. Favorite bath-time activities: Cracking up when I say "Kick kick kick!"; Cracking up when I applaud his kicks; Cracking up when I make up verses to Wheels on the Bus; Cracking up when I tickle his feet; Cracking up as he pees all over himself.
7:40 p.m. - Take L out of the bath and try to distract him so he doesn't scream. Tried-and-true method: half-sing, half-yell "You're a baby burrito!!!!" as I wrap him in his towel.
7:41 p.m. - Apply cortisone cream to L's poor face and head as he screams his "lolly little head off" as D calls it.
7:43 p.m. - Put on the soothing sounds c.d. (thanks Grandma Carol!) in L's nursery and rock him as he drinks his "nightcap" bottle.
7:55 p.m. - Put L down in his crib, turn on his Fisher Price seahorse, pop the paci in his mouth and leave the room as L drifts peacefully and quietly off to sleep (thanks again, Ferber!).
8:00 p.m. to anywhere between 10:00 p.m. and 12:30 a.m. - Blissfully watch some of my crammed-full DVR and chow down on any remaining WW points for the day (and often, even those that don't remain).
10:00 p.m.-12:30 a.m. - Let Connie (the dog; Conner, actually, but we started calling him Connie as a joke like 2 years ago and it kind-of stuck) out for the zillionth time so he can ensure that any and all squirrels have had their final night barking-at. Say, "Let's get to bed Connie!" and follow him up the stairs. Feel my heart fill with love as my furbaby goes to my human baby's door so I can let him in to do the nightly check. Walk into L's room, turn to Connie and put my finger to my lips so he knows the be quiet (I swear he understands what I mean when I do that) and tip-toe to L's crib to check on him. Heart fills even more with love as I observe L sleeping so peacefully. Mentally tell my arms to restrain themselves, don't touch him, you'll regret it if he wakes up, I MEAN IT! Sometimes control my urge to touch his arm or tummy, sometimes don't. Sometimes wake him, sometimes don't. L either stays sleeping or falls back asleep immediately (really, THANK YOU Ferber).
Then, if D is home we commence with our own nighttime routines (don't worry, you can click it - it's not dirty). Then we go to bed and sleep the blissful slumber of a parent who is 90% sure they will not be woken during the night because a paci has fallen out or a tummy needs filling. D and I have taken nighttime back and we are yelling it loud and proud.
I don't know what it is, but there's something about getting a full night's sleep and having a couple hours to yourself in the evening to unwind and do whatever you want - it just makes you feel human. On the weekends when D works, I feel like a woman unleashed. It's like someone's handed me the whole world and I'm can't quite believe it. You mean, I have a sleeping baby, the remote all to myself and this delicious Smirnoff Mango? PLUS I can put L back to sleep when he wakes at 6 and sleep until 8??? What is it, my birthday?
And on weekend nights when D is off work, look out! Because that means that we can go somewhere with friends or family. I know, try to contain your excitement. Really, it's just too much. Because it's about to get a little crazier up in here. Now brace yourself for what I'm about to tell you. Sometimes.....we even get someone to watch L and we GO OUT BY OURSELVES. I'll wait for a minute so you can pick yourself up off the floor.
So now that we have our nights back, if you ever want or need someone to go out and be crazy with on the weekends, we are your people. Sometimes we even stay out till 11.