A Letter to Those Still Waiting

Dear Mama Who is Still Waiting It Out,

I can’t tell you to enjoy your time. I won’t. I just spent the last Very Hard Six Months not really enjoying the wait on top of the other months that I only sporadically enjoyed in moments of bliss that were sought out.

You might not enjoy it while you’re waiting.

I waited six hundred and eighty six nights with my daughter.  With my oldest I waited nine hundred and twenty nine nights.

I know it’s hard to read about a child sleeping through the night when yours won’t sleep. I spent the last six months avoiding reading about any of that, as I had a toddler that would rather practice speed crawling and standing on my flibbery belly while trying to jump. A toddler that would be ALMOST asleep and that would then pop off, yell “MOMMY! DANCE!” and dance around the bed in the dark doing jazz hands while I wanted to both laugh and cry.

Just a week before she slept I was Very Very Unhappy and didn’t know if it would be another six months before sleep came. In fact I was battening down the hatches for just that. In fact, when she randomly slept through the night for the first time I was preparing myself mentally for a very bad “regression” to hit because that’s what always happens. A random night of good sleep before a lot of bad.

So the second night that she slept through? I woke up repeatedly waiting for her to wake up. I woke up 6-8 times that second night that she slept through.

I don’t know if her two year molars (which are still shifting under her gums) will wreak havoc on her sleep for a bit. What I do know now is that she is able to sleep through the night and that the things that come after now are truly “regressions”. Temporary periods of worse sleep for a child that knows how to sleep.

Looking BACK at the past 686 days they seem minscule and tiny. Looking at my oldest’s 929 nights also seems tiny in the face of the seven year old that he has become. But no, those nights didn’t seem tiny while I was waiting. The first 60 nights didn’t seem tiny.

It’s a thing that only gains context when it’s past.

So don’t feel guilty about struggling, about not enjoying every minute. If you sometimes wonder if you NEED TO MAKE CHANGES NOW.. I understand. I sometimes bounced with a toddler in the dark of the night and wondered if I should possibly ditch the whole WIO thing and just go straight to extinction training because I was exhausted.

I can tell you now, at the end of it, that I am so very happy that I waited it out. That I got to witness that transition in my daughter. That I trusted her enough to wait. Of course I can. She’s sleeping now. I can probably also solve the question of World Peace and do other impossible things just because the impossible has already happened.

Was I happy two weeks ago? Not so much. Should you be happy in your now? Nah. I won’t tell you to be happy. If you can find happiness it makes it easier. But that is something that has to be found. It’s not a thing that anyone can hand you.

Just like this sleep thing. It’s a thing that your child is looking for. Not something that you’re failing to give or to teach.

You’ll get there, mama. And yes. It’s hard running blind.

<3 – Sarah

  14 comments for “A Letter to Those Still Waiting

  1. Janna
    March 6, 2014 at 9:14 am

    After an especially hard…frustrating…night last night, this was JUST what I needed to hear. Thank you so much! I know my 20 month old thanks you too. :)

  2. Mandy
    March 6, 2014 at 10:12 am

    Oh. Yes. Jazz hands. Laughing. Crying. All of it. Thank you for always putting into words what I’m feeling!

    I’m where you were a few weeks ago(Lucy is only 6 weeks younger than K, not that that means anything in terms of predictions, but their developmental similarity always cracks me up) :)

  3. Jen
    March 6, 2014 at 11:04 am

    Thank you for this! Just… thank you. I don’t know if it will be 30 more nights or 300 more nights of poor sleep, but I can at least remember that it isn’t forever, and my little love just isn’t quite ready for all-night-sleep.

  4. Jenna
    March 6, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    Sarah,

    Yet again, your words have renewed my sanity. I am exactly at that point where I am so exhausted that my partner and I have been discussing “what needs to change.” The answer is clear to me in this moment: my patience needs to change. Nothing else. Thank you for sharing and allowing me to be a part of your journey. You are very strongly a part of my journey.

  5. March 6, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    Thank you for your last post and for this. Your last post inspired me to start gently nudging my 21 month old towards sleep again by encouraging (not forcing) cuddling over nursing (which shockingly had some success last night!) and getting daddy, who has long been refused at night, involved with rather than in place of me again. This one helps me feel normal and sane and like I can keep on. Thank you for your blog and the communities you’ve created. They help me and so many.

  6. Louise
    March 6, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    At 37 months we just had a delicious strech of almost always all night sleep (from nurse to sleep to nurse awake without any nurse in between!) This lasted just long enough for me to really get used to it and then she spontaniously quit having a nap during the day and now sleep at night is worse than it ever was! Awake for hours on end, exhausted during the day which really sabotages her apetite, so she’s hungry at night as well. All other alternatives than nursing while I sit upright are completely impossible and met with cries of anger and sadness. Followed by the words: “Nurse! I only meant comfort nursing. (As opposed to fall asleep nursing.)” Talking about it during the day and what we’ll do other than nurse when we’ve tried it for 1,5 hours without sucess does not help at all. Argh! I guess what I’m doing here is just sharing it with someone who will hear it the right way. :)

    • sarah
      March 6, 2014 at 10:34 pm

      **Hugs** Louise Changing of naps always throws things into a bit of chaos. I hope it all sorts itself out soon and you and your girl find a new groove.

      For my middle child what helped was doing “quiet time” during the day, and an earlier bedtime. So bedtime moved from 9:30 to 8PM and we did a “quiet walk” for 45 minutes in the stroller. Sometimes he would fall asleep and take a nap, other times he would not. That helped us get through it until he was truly ready to let go of the nap for good.

      • Louise
        March 8, 2014 at 4:59 pm

        Earlier bedtime I actually just discovered my self, but as bedtime pre-napless disaster was already 19:00 it is more than mildly challanging gettig done with the day in time. Probably why it took me so long to try it.

        Quiet walk sounds genius.

        Amusingly I imagined everything would be So Much Simpler (time for meals, planning the day, more time to do stuff, etc., etc.,) when she quit napping. Hahaa! 😛

  7. Simone
    March 6, 2014 at 10:12 pm

    Thanks Dude! You’ve got me crying now! :0) and smiling. It’s hard to respond adequately right now… Just thanks for this “part 2” to your other post. & thanks for the 600 & 900 days notes… It’s good to know there’s differences depending on the child. :0) much appreciation!

    • sarah
      March 6, 2014 at 10:35 pm

      <3 Simone

  8. Stephanie
    March 7, 2014 at 7:47 am

    I can’t tell you how much I needed this today of all days.

    Thank you.

    Last night was wonderful husband’s ‘we have to change…’ comment. I left it with ‘let’s chat when it’s not the middle of the night’

    Sigh.

    • sarah
      March 7, 2014 at 10:30 am

      It’s never time to talk when it’s dark out. :(

  9. Leah
    March 26, 2014 at 10:27 pm

    I’m on day 459… some days I don’t think I can carry on, but then I just do. Thanks for giving me permission not to be perfect : /

  10. ekta
    October 13, 2014 at 9:54 pm

    You say exactly what I’m thinking! I hate this time but I’m willing to WIO as I don’t have the heart to dictate a sleep schedule for my kid.

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