When my twins were newborns, they literally woke up, like, a bajillion times a night. In fact, there was one month where they both woke up crying every single time their dummies fell out, which was roughly, every half hour from 1 am until 6 am. Yeah, it was pretty bad. As someone who previously loved my sleep, dealing with night owls was not so pleasant, and I was a walking zombie for months straight.
Once they were old enough, we did sleep training, and after that, it all got so much easier. They were sleeping better and therefore, happier babies. We were sleeping better and therefore, happier parents. I could also hold my little guys without fear of passing out like a narcoleptic, and drive my car without fear of falling asleep at the wheel. It’s not that the middle-of-the-night wakings stopped, but they were much, much less frequent, and usually only when they were teething or sick. I always dreaded those calls in the night because it meant something was wrong with my little guys. I also have a very hard time falling back asleep, so it usually meant I would be wide awake for a couple of hours after.
In the last few months though, my boys have started calling for me because…well, just because. At 3 am: “I can’t sleep, Mummy. I need you, Mummy. I had a bad dream, Mummy. Come, Mummy. I need snuggles (pronounced, “thnuggles”).” So, of course, I go running down there because, hello, how could I not? They’re still in converted cots so I can’t crawl into bed, but I’ll pick up whichever boy needs me and pull him onto the big, cosy chair with me. He will put his arms around mine, and rest his head on my shoulder, turning his face into my neck. Sometimes, he’ll pat me on the back or stroke my arm with his tiny hands, as I cuddle him close.
Sometimes, I’m so tired that I think I could fall asleep just like this, but I never do. It’s like I don’t want to. In the dark, holding my little boy, who used to be my baby, I want to freeze time. I want to stay like this forever. It’s peaceful and perfect and ours. I think these moments are especially important to me because, having twins, I rarely get the opportunity to give each boy my undivided affection. Every now and then, I’ll even whisper to my little boy, all of the things that make him so special and one-of-a-kind. Our little secret. After ten minutes, I’ll put him back to bed and walk back to mine, where I lie there awake for at least another hour. But, this time, the lack of sleep is so worth it.
Although this has been going on for several months, it’s not like it’s every night. They’ll each have stretches where they call for me for a few nights in a row. Then it stops for a few weeks, then starts again for a night or two. It’s really not that often, certainly not enough to annoy me. And, honestly, they’re one of my very favourite things about being their mum. I think part of it is because I know this time is fleeting. That this is exactly the kind of thing that older parents miss. This is the time that all goes by too quickly. This is the stuff I’ll always remember.
So, yes, every time my boys call for me in the night, I go running, ready with the “thnuggles.” I know my babies need this cuddle time, and let’s be honest, mama kind of needs it too.
More on kids’ sleep:
- What It’s Like Living with a Sleepwalking Child
- The 5-Stages of No Naps Acceptance
- 3 Steps to Establishing Healthy Sleep Habits for Your Toddler