hot fun in the summertime

Well summer is in full swing, and I am LOVING it. When my children suddenly have twice as much surface area (inside and out) over which to spread their manic energy, it can’t help but make things a little less loud in my immediate vicinity. We have a pool at our summer home, wonderful for many reasons but most of all because it ensures exhaustion in our children and those of our house guests. The other night all three of my kids were in bed by 6:15 pm. Asleep? No. But agreeably still and quiet? Yes, so who cares?

I went to a barbecue with some friends last night and there were kids the same age as ours running around this person’s backyard at 9:30 pm. When I mentioned that my three were all long asleep, considerable envy was of course displayed. However, I am sure that those children still have tousled bedhead as I write, while mine have been up for three and a half hours. YOU CAN’T HAVE BOTH, is my point. Early to bed means early to rise, and I’ll take that pain because I’d rather have the time to watch Flipping Out on Bravo, by myself, with a glass of chardonnay, than get the extra hours of sleep. I think.

I pride myself on my children being no-nonsense sleepers, so much so that I just got this email from a friend of mine, asking for sleep advice:

All is well but Sofia has started waking up every two hours!!!!! I am a little haggard and a total bitch. How did you get Maddie to sleep through the night? I am considering putting her in another room and letting her cry. What say you wise woman, mother of three?

I am a little afraid to write her back, because here’s the thing: Maddie is STILL not sleeping through the night, at eight and a half months. OK, nine next Saturday. I can hardly carry her at this point, she is so pudgy, and certainly one would think she has enough reserves to get her through a ten or eleven hour stretch, but that is apparently not the case. Last night she was up at 11 pm and 3 am, before greeting the morn at 6:45 am (which is actually blessedly late in my house).

I am ashamed of this. A baby her age should be sleeping. In fact, I first wrote about how people were aghast that she wasn’t sleeping through the night FIVE MONTHS AGO. And to all of you, I say, I know that she should be sleeping. I know that it is my fault she is not sleeping. But, if I may:

– she just got another tooth up top.
– that is her fourth tooth, which means it is the fourth round of not sleeping well in the last two months.
– she had a cough
– we were in London
– I didn’t get a good enough dinner into her
– she won’t take a bottle before bed, only halfhearted nursing
– she is therefore STARVING in the middle of the night and nurses desperately
– I need David to break her for me and he’s going on a business trip tomorrow
– I still haven’t gotten blackout shades for her room
– it was too hot in her room
– it was too cold in her room

Do any of those reasons make me seem like less of a loser for having not gotten this done yet?

Every night, before I go to bed, I think, tonight, TONIGHT we begin. Tonight I will gently pat her back and sing her a lullaby and then leave her to “cry it out” (read: scream like she is being drawn and quartered) until she passes out from exhaustion. But then, 3 am comes, she is bleating, and I think, I can let her cry for an hour, and then be up all night, or I can go in there and nurse her for five or ten minutes, and then we both go back to sleep. I choose the latter. I choose my short term comfort over both of our long term gain. I am weak, I’ve said so.

So I’m thinking tonight I will start with a midnight to 5 am ban. I’m not going to feed her if she cries within those hours. For now, before or after are fair game. Then I will start moving the clock back on both ends. Is that good? Am I thinking of this the right way? Does anyone have any words of wisdom? They would be much appreciated.