March 12, 2016

Reclaiming The Night

There was about an 18 to 24 month time period where we had really rotten sleep. I didn’t blog about it much because, well, who wants to be reminded about how little sleep they’re getting? Besides, it felt like some kind of cosmic payback from Nicole sleeping so well as an infant. I jinxed it. I must pay for it.

It started when we moved to Silicon Valley. One of the criteria’s in apartments we were looking for was location. We picked the complex in part to keep the amount of city street driving minimal, and therefore the commute time minimal. My exit was right across the street from our apartment complex. Domingo only had to drive a few blocks down the major through way to get to his highway. Those few blocks could easily add twenty minutes to his commute, so from a time saving perspective I can’t say the location was an entirely poor decision. What we didn’t anticipate was the amount of traffic noise we’d be hearing, punctuated by the not so occasional siren. What I did not know when we signed the lease was that the local hospital was just down that major through way in the opposite direction of Domingo’s exit. Any accident on either highway meant the ambulance would be barely down our street, usually followed by police and sometimes the fire department. And, of course, that took them right past Nicole’s window.

Nicole went from being a solid sleeper to waking nightly. We tried white noise machines, but to know avail. Sirens are meant to be heard.

In a small apartment, any one person waking up usually meant we’d all be waking up. By the baby was a few months old, she was already out sleeping the toddler. My infant was sleeping through the night far more consistently than my toddler. For . A . Year.

We had hoped the quite of suburbia would help Nicole return to her solid sleeping phase, but at that point she was too used to her night time wakings. There were more nights where she’d sleep through the night, but it was nothing like that glorious infant sleep of her first year of life. Back in November a friend recommended an OK to wake clock. We went with the Kid’Sleep Moon White/Blue Nightlight, her “bunny clock” as she calls it. There were a couple of rough nights, include the early morning insistence that the “bunny was broken” when the bunny didn’t wake up early enough for Nicole. We coupled the bunny with morning prizes (stickers, temporary tattoos, etc) for a night well done.

I’m not sure if it was the bunny clock, or the morning prizes, but things finally started turning around for us. After a week or so we started noticing a significant change in Nicole’s night time sleeping. She rarely woke in the middle of the night, and stayed in bed until the bunny “woke up”. I even caught her on the baby monitor in the middle of the night, sitting up to see if the bunny was awake before settling herself back down. We’ve been three months now without a single middle of the night waking from her.

We may still not be getting much sleep. The bunny gets up pretty early. But it’s consistent, uninterrupted sleep and that is such a life changer.

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