guest post #6 teaching another human how to sleep

And now, a guest post from Becca, a dear friend of mine from college (Westmont, woot woot!) and current blogger extraordinaire. Find her further confessions of a mama-in-training at www.whileyouwerenapping.com. 

I love sleep. I love everything about it. I love going to bed early on the weekends (yes! I am that strain of nerdy) with cool sheets, clean jammies, and a mountain of pillows behind my head. I love waking up early and staying in bed to read until a disgraceful amount of time has passed and the dog is whining to be let outside. And don’t even get me started on naps! Do you remember those glorious Friday afternoon naps in college? People, I got mono during my junior year of college, and secretly I didn’t mind because I got to nap often and without guilt. I love to sleep.

So when you have a baby, sleep suddenly becomes a major talking point. Sleep, diapers and paying for college. These are the trifecta of topics that strangers will bring up with you once the child is born. That, and pacifier use. But everyone loves to talk about sleep, specifically, how little sleep you may or may not be getting.

I was one of the lucky ones. “Hi baby,” strangers would coo at my darling ball of a boy. “Are you letting your mommy sleep?”
“Actually yes! He’s been sleeping through the night since he was six weeks old.” I would smile and then continue on with false modesty. “He really taught himself how to do it. I can’t take any credit for it.”

But, dear reader, do you want to know the truth? In my heart of hearts, I totally took credit for it! My boy, Cruz, was a great sleeper because I was a great mom. Right?

Then he turned four months old, and suddenly my Sleep Prince was a Sleep Bandit.
...but a really CUTE sleep bandit.
I was a lost ship, set adrift in a sea of wakefusdfjsfj g

Sorry. That was my head hitting the keyboard as I fell asleep writing this.

Days without sleeping through the night turned into weeks turned into months. And at this point I find myself with two options:

Option 1: Try to teach another human how to sleep.

Option 2: Hire a nice college student to pull all of her all-nighters in my son’s room.

Like Hermione Granger, I have never found a problem that can’t be solved by a trip to the library, and no tiny baby is going to prove me wrong. I armed myself with a stack of books, spent the last week speed- reading them, and have come to the definitive conclusion that these “experts” are full of seemingly obvious advice.  I am reading these books because I am having trouble convincing my son to sleep through the night. I’m fairly certain that if “shushing” him from across the room were going to do the trick, it would have already happened. Standing next to the crib “shushing” a fussy baby at 3am seems like it will be as effective as that “focus picture” I was supposed to use to take my mind off the pain during labor.
[Insert hilarious and knowing laughter]

There are two great results of sleep training so far. The first is that it actually seems to be working. Cruz sleeps longer, and with less and less intervention. The second is that I get to do a big dramatic wake-up routine when it’s actually time to get out of the crib. As soon as I hear those happy babbles over the monitor (and it’s after 6:30am!), I creep into his nursery, strike a pose, and jazz hands the heck out of our good morning cheer. “You did it! It’s time to wake up! It’s time to play! Yay!”

It still seems strange that I need to teach someone how to do such a basic thing. But if I get more sleep and a happy baby  (and again, can’t say too much about jazz hands) out of this experiment, then it’s certainly a first I’ll repeat over and over.
High five for sleeping!


  1. I love to sleep too, but my problem is actually getting myself to bed... I'd probably stay up all night if I let myself.

  2. Hi Emily,

    I work for the company that produces Mutual of Omaha’s “Aha Moment” campaign; visit www.mutualofomaha.com/aha to see what an aha moment is and the incredible stories we’ve filmed over the last two years. As I came across your website, I couldn’t help but think that you might have an aha moment to share.

    We’re taking our 34-foot Airstream mobile film studio to 25 cities to capture inspirational, life-changing aha moments from folks all over the country. We are headed to Norfolk, VA on June 13th and June 14th, and would love to invite you to share an aha moment! You would just have to step into the Airstream studio for a few minutes and tell your story on film to our tour manager. Your video will then be posted to www.mutualofomaha.com/aha, where you will be able to share it with your friends and family via email, Facebook and Twitter!

    For the second year in a row, our tour manager is Jessica Henry. Hailing from Athens, GA, Jessica is an outdoor enthusiast and self-proclaimed "foodie" who enjoys talking about powerful life moments with people just like you all over the country. You can read Jessica’s bio (and meet the rest of the crew) at www.ahamoment.com/tour/about

    We will be parked at Waterside Festival Marketplace, at Town Point Park near the intersection of Martins Lane and Waterside Drive, on June 13th and June 14th from 11am to 7pm.

    Let me know as soon as possible and I can reserve some time for you.

    Many thanks!

    Olivia Lasky

    View aha moment videos: www.mutualofomaha.com/aha
    Read the tour blog: tour.ahamoment.com
    Follow the tour on Twitter: @myahamoment
    Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/myahamoment
    Check into your tour stop on foursquare: www.foursquare.com/myahamoment