Note: this is a kid-heavy newsletter, so if you don’t have kids… delete this! I guarantee you’ll be bored to bits.
Anyway… here we go…
There was a phase in my life—basically 20-28 years old—when I slept an ABSURD amount on the weekends. I literally would wake up around 10 AM, have breakfast (Tom would make a full English breakfast back in those days. Ah, to have my 20-something metabolism again), and go back to sleep at noon until about 3 PM. Then, I’d usually do yoga for like an hour, then out to dinner or visit my parents or whatever… and be in bed by 10 PM… and then asleep until 10 AM and repeat.
Guys, I was literally awake for like six hours each day on the weekends. I was basically a human sloth. Nowadays, if I can get six hours of uninterrupted sleep it is literally a victory of Hagrid-sized proportions.
This weekend has been especially tiring (multiple playdates, several attempted organizational projects, etc) so I thought I’d devote this newsletter to sleep.
My sleep essentials:
Tempur-pedic pillow: Tom and I are so addicted to our Tempur-pedic pillows that, one year, we gifted his parents (my in-laws) a set of the pillows for the whole family, literally so that there would be Tempur-pedic pillows at his parents’ house when we visited once a year. Selfish? Perhaps… but my neck/shoulders/general well-rested state are worth it ☺
My foam roller: I am very strangely addicted to rolling my back at night ever since I got one as a Christmas gift. My back usually cracks between 7-12 times when I roll it. Not sure if that’s normal? If you’re a chiropractor and reading this, please DM me to tell me if that’s normal!
That’s it. Literally that’s all I need to sleep at night. I am that sleep deprived, yes. Can we talk about kid sleep now?
REN’S SLEEP ESSENTIALS
OK, so Tao finally started sleeping through the night last week. It took ELEVEN MONTHS for him to get to that point. Let me say that again… ELEVEN MONTHS. I hadn’t gotten a full night’s sleep (outside of on business trips) in ELEVEN MONTHS—Tao would wake up a minimum of two times a night. Sob.
Anyway, I hired Suzy Giordano who wrote the book Twelve Hours Sleep by Twelve Weeks as a sleep consultant for a week. Two of my friends had recommended her and she came and literally changed my life!!
If you have a newborn, I would highly, highly recommend picking up her book and giving it a shot. I did get the book as a gift from my friend but because Tao had colic for so long, the book didn’t really work for us at the time.
But I’m going to start with Ren’s sleep essentials this week… So Ren’s problem was that she had to figure out that she had to stay in bed once she went to bed. Most nights, it’d take about 1.5 hours from the time she wanted to go to sleep (7, 745 PM) to actually falling asleep. Which meant she went to bed most nights around 845 or so… and then Tao would wake up at 10 PM… which meant we had about 1 hour of free time between 9-10 PM most nights. I was slowly, slowly, slowly going insane from lack of sleep/also falling behind in every aspect of my life.
Anyway, here are some of Ren’s sleep essentials and also how we got her to sleep somewhat more quickly (now 30-40 minutes instead of 90 minutes… and apparently if I stick to my guns it’ll get easier and easier as the weeks go on).
Angel Dear blankies: Ren cannot sleep without one of these clutched in her arms. Tao can’t either. There’s something about the texture of them, the little knots/nubs all over them that kids gnaw on to teethe/soothe themselves… Ren has about six of these and each one is like her Most Precious Possession. If you have a friend having a baby, give them at least one of these. Trust me!
Mella sleep clock: I just got one of these as a gift and Ren has been begging me to open it and set it up for days! It’s a cuter version of the sleep clock that everyone seems to have (which looks like a frog and is cheap and plastic-y). I hope this works because it’s darn cute! (Those of you unfamiliar with these clocks, basically they change color once it’s okay for your kiddo to leave the room). I’m going to set it to 7 AM and then basically as she gets used to 7 AM, then push it by a minute every week until it’s set at 730 AM which seems blissfully late.
The secret to Ren sleeping
So we now have a rigid routine in the evenings… First, we read Ren three books in the living room, on our couch while drinking some milk from a sippy cup. Then, we brush her teeth. She used to refuse to brush her teeth and one night I was like, “Ren, Mommy’s going to use your toothbrush to brush HER teeth.” And I pretended to brush my hair, feet, brows, ears, etc until she was like “NO, Mommy, here’s how you brush your teeth.” I am a manipulative mom, yes, but WHATEVER WORKS. Anyway, then we read one more book in bed and then it’s time for her to stay in bed. That’s the key—she doesn’t have to go to sleep right away, but she HAS TO STAY IN BED for the rest of the night.
Bedtime nightlight: So basically with Ren, we figured out that her delaying mechanism was books—she always wanted one more book (there were nights when Tom would read fifteen books). Ren is obsessed with Beranstain Bear books so we have a big stack of those I leave her with for her to read to herself until she falls asleep. And we are trying to “empower” her to fall asleep on her own by giving her a very special sleepytime reading light (basically a flashlight) that she can only use in bed. We also got her a new nightstand lamp a few weeks ago too… When she fusses, I say “Ren, would it help you go to sleep if Mommy shut off your special nighttime light? Took the books away from your bed?” (The answer is always “no”). “Okay, then, you have your books, you have your blankies, it’s time to rest, good night.”
If she tries to escape/say she has to go to the bathroom/wants water, etc, the answer is a gentle no (we do give her a sippy cup of water to keep next to her bed and she’s still in pull-ups) and that she has to stay in bed. If she tries to make a run for it, I am literally sitting outside her bedroom door to gently/unemotionally/kindly urge her get back in bed and then kiss her again and leave. For the first new night after Suzy left, I literally sat outside of Ren’s door to make sure she didn’t sneak out!
(If your kid's sleep delay mechanism is music, Suzy suggests downloading some lullabies with lyrics and having them play as you read your child their last book... as you leave, have them listen to the songs and sing along to them. And if they fuss, ask them if they'd have an easier time sleeping without their bedtime music.)
Basically being firm and boringly repetitive… that is what Suzy taught me, lol. But in five nights she was with us, Ren went from taking 90 minutes to fall asleep (and with a bottle in her mouth… so, so bad) to 30 minutes and no milk ☺
OK, next week I’ll write up Tao’s sleep situation. Thanks for reading this rather boring newsletter, but I hope it helps some of you!
‘Til next week!
PS: the past newsletters are here…
Random Stuff We Like: these silicone covers will mean never having to use Saran Wrap again.
#Momhacks: including my favorite nailpolish remover.
Random Stuff I Like, Part II: Magna-Tiles… the children’s toy that, now, both kids love.
Beauty Stuff I Like: including the lipbalm that will save your lips this winter.
How to Travel with Kids: Apparently it’ll get easier when they’re five. Which feels like it’s forever away.
Random Stuff I Like: The fleece leggings that will save you this winter.
Kids Books: I plan to update this list next week! Well, maybe… I said that last week too.
OG Baby List: this is the list to send your friends who are expecting! It’s on my (vast) to-do list to add a few things to this list, so will do that in the coming weeks… (which I realize I said last week too)