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Doing my part for the environment with re-usable undereye bags

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My three-month-old son, Archie, sleeps well for a guy his age. He usually wakes once to eat, then easily falls back to sleep. There have been a few nights lately when he’s sailed through the night, no waking. His dreams must have been sweet and his tummy well-settled.

You might picture me falling back to sleep the moment I put the full-bellied boy down. There I am: Weary, grateful, quickly glancing at the clock to calculate how many hours and minutes I can steal before the real bustle of morning begins. Fade to a dream about forgetting my locker combination….

But that doesn’t happen.

As Archie snoozes a few feet away, I am persistently awake. I am sold-out to consciousness. It owns me.

I toss onto my left side and scan the calendar in my head. I toss to my right and remember things to add to the grocery list. I settle on my back, with my arms crossed over my chest, to worry about tween-things and an odd cough Tommy had right before bed. I get really ridiculous and start mentally packing for a trip we aren’t taking until July.

Fist meets pillow in an angry attempt to fluff it up. I rotate to my stomach and remember I am lactating.

Then I berate myself for wasting precious hours of household quiet on things I can’t control at 3:00 am. I can’t and shouldn’t go downstairs to fashion a stovepipe hat for Sam’s Abraham Lincoln costume.

I usually manage to get back to sleep shortly before it’s time to get up. Clanking spoons in cereal bowls serve as my alarm. I rise and find a few of the kids in the kitchen, their bare feet swinging a few inches from the floor. They slurp.

“Good morning! How did you sleep?” I’ll ask.

“Great!” They answer, without fail.

I’m glad and raise my coffee mug to the whole lot of ’em.

One of the dirty little secrets of motherhood is that when the baby starts sleeping through the night, it doesn’t mean you will too.

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  • comment avatar Amber Johnson April 21, 2009

    I still remember when my son was three weeks old. He was am amazing sleeper for the first few months of his wife, which was a shock because my daughter had only slept in 40-minute increments.

    It was 3 a.m., he was dead asleep and my husband and I were aimlessly passing each other in the night whining WHY WERE WE STILL AWAKE WHILE THE LITTLE ONE SLEPT?!

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  • comment avatar Sarah @ April 21, 2009

    I’m pretty sure that’s not fair. Here’s hoping you have a few sleep-filled nights ahead of you!

  • comment avatar JoAnn, The Casual Perfectionist April 21, 2009

    Well, as a citizen of the Earth, I’d like to thank you for re-using your undereye bags and not asking for plastic with every visit.


    I do hope you get a good night’s sleep eventually! (Sooner, rather than later!)

    Great post!

  • comment avatar Jenna Hallock April 21, 2009

    I’m a strong advocate of Unisom or the like – not sure if that is legal while breastfeeding….

    Another sleeping tip that’s been helpful through the years is the standard paper and pencil on the nightstand. Whenever my mind starts wandering or trying to make lists I just write down whatever comes. My mind seems to release once something is on paper.

    In the meantime, keep the coffee comin’ – hot and strong!

  • comment avatar Kimberly April 21, 2009

    Is it ok if I am deeply unhappy that MY 3 month old has decided that sleep is optional?

    Glad Archie is sleeping….sounds like you have your hands full with the other guys.

  • comment avatar Kelly @ Love Well April 21, 2009

    This has just started to happen to me.

    Previously, I was so exhausted, I fell back to sleep as soon as my head hit the pillow — sometimes before.

    But lately, my 15-month-old gets up every morning at 5:30, and once she gets back to sleep, I find it impossible to do so.

    (Until is 7:00 and I should be getting up. That’s when sleep descends. Figures.)

  • comment avatar Jamie @ April 21, 2009

    It’s frustrating when your mind doesn’t get the memo that your body needs rest. Hope you’re able to sleep through the night soon, your slumber visited by dreams more pleasant than forgetting your locker combination. 😉

  • comment avatar Melissa April 22, 2009

    Hey, I have dreams about forgetting my locker combination, too! What do you think it means?

  • comment avatar Catherine @ April 23, 2009

    I honestly believe that coffee has saved my life (or maybe my childrens’ lives) a time or two.

    Here’s hoping you get to sneak in a nap or two during the day!

  • comment avatar Emily April 26, 2009

    Yes. That is so true. It seems to get more pronounced with each child, too. I guess you realize that sleep really is an overrated commodity…

  • comment avatar Olivia Omega Logan April 27, 2009

    Gretchen, I’m sending sweet thoughts of peaceful dreams and restful sleep your way. I feel your pain! But who needs sleep anyway? I think moms were created to need little.