Every so often, children mysteriously don’t sleep. You learn this lesson pretty early on when they’re babies. The first night of any sleep glitch is a shock to the system and throws you off kilter. “What on earth was that about?” you say through a bleary-eyed yawn. Generally, we parents cannot believe the child has the audacity to forego sleep and thereby rob us otherwise unsuspecting adults of our precious shuteye.
Eventually, once you’ve survived enough of these terrible sleep-stealing events, you learn the common culprits: Teething, growth spurts, sleep regressions, recent vaccinations, oncoming illness, separation anxiety, object permanence or the kid has an imminent milestone such as rolling over, crawling or walking…. Or some insane combination of these things which is just rude but totally happens. When you find yourself up with a not sleeping baby, you start frantically running down the list and checking off possible explanations. Like a conspiracy theorist. But even crazier cause you’re sleep-deprived.
Before August 12, 2015, (aka the night after Meet the Teachers), we consistently heard from nannies and sitters that Beatrice was one of the easiest kids they’d ever put down to sleep. To succeed, all you had to do was stick to the routine. Then simply put her in bed, kiss her goodnight, and walk out the door. She would play and sing herself to sleep. Don’t get me wrong, in no way were we oblivious to sleep struggles. Her first year of life was very, very hard sleep-wise. She has always been a fitful sleeper, largely due to sensory issues. But we had at least figured out how to get her to bed without a fuss most of the time. So when she resisted sleep that first night after Meet the Teachers, we tried to help her settle, help her soothe. But she would have none of it. When we tried to leave the room like normal, she lost it entirely. She came undone. And as my mama mind started going through the “your kid is not sleeping” checklist, something in my gut told me to pay attention, that this time was different. It was a quiet voice at first, but it would eventually grow too loud to ignore.