Well, it's official. I now firmly believe that babies can hear everything you say about them. No matter where you are when you say it. Even if you are not with your baby. Even if you are saying it to yourself. In your mind.
So maybe you are about to say something like,
"He only wakes up about once a night now!"
"I think we are at the point where he is sleeping consistently until somewhere between 1 and 3 in the morning . . ."
"He just goes down for the night pretty much on his big brother's schedule. We did not have to teach him to go to bed - it just happened so easily!"
If you are considering saying those things - or even thinking them - let me offer you a word of advice: shhhh!
Last night was the kick-off for putting Squish to sleep in the crib - which is in the same room as Bug's bed. It was a huge fail - an absurdly huge fail.
Squish was asleep in my arms in the rocking chair after I nursed him. Bug did most of his bedtime routine outside of his room so that Squish could keep sleeping without having to hear me tell Bug to please use his quiet voice. (Query whether a two-year-old actually has a quiet voice to use.)
Bug came into the room and got into bed so that my husband could tell him a story. Squish woke up during the story. I started to nurse him. My husband said goodnight to Bug and left the room. I stayed behind in the rocking chair to nurse the Squish and try to get him back to sleep while Bug was purportedly on his way to sleep as well.
I put the Squish down in the crib. I said goodnight to the Bug. He grabbed my arm and said he needed me. I wrestled free and left the room. First, the Bug started to cry - protesting bedtime. Then he stopped, and the Squish started to cry.
I gave the Squish twelve minutes. He did not stop crying. I sent my husband in to comfort him.
While my husband was comforting the Squish (and the Bug, who seized the opportunity like a brilliant little monkey), I was at the computer Googling phrases like "3 month old sharing room with toddler."
The first message board I found had a mom's question about getting a baby and a toddler to sleep in the same room without waking each other. There was no response thread.
The second message board I found had a similar question and a long list of responses, most of which read as follows: Our home is A Perfect World. When we put our baby into the same room with our toddler, both children drifted to sleep peacefully. I hope that helps. Good luck!
Ten minutes later, it was my turn to comfort the munchkins. I tried to explain to the Bug something about being a Big Brother and helping Squish sleep by being extra quiet and going to sleep. The Bug he made a heart-warming effort to understand and follow through in his role, but he is nevertheless still a little guy himself.
Twenty minutes later, we put the Bug in our bed thinking he would get more sleep in a quiet room. I tried to sleep while my husband tried to get the Squish to go down for the night in the crib.
Eventually my husband succeeded. The Bug, however, was all hopped up on the crazy times. At one point, he turned to me, put both of his little hands out in front of him and said, "Tiny [Squish] is like a big horse." Perhaps this moment was the turning point in the evening. The point when we ventured into a black hole of absurdity - or at least sleep deprivation.
For the next hour and a half, my husband and I tried to get the Bug to sleep. We tried telling him to be quiet, to lie still, to relax, to close his eyes, to go to sleep. We tried to explain that it was late and that he needed to get sleep. Now.
I couldn't help but hear Samuel L. Jackson's voice over and over in my head.
At some point, perhaps the point in time just past utter exhaustion, my husband told the Bug that he needed to be quiet, lie still, and go to sleep because Mommy and Daddy needed sleep. Bug did not cooperate. So I got out the pack n play, set it up in a huff, and put the Bug in there so that, if nothing else, my husband and I could get an hour of sleep before the Squish woke up again. Apparently, the Bug can now climb out of the pack n play. So that's good to know.
Eventually, I picked up the Bug and rocked him in my arms until he was a sack of potatoes. Then I put him between me and my husband in the bed, and the three of us got a tiny bit of sleep.
Perhaps a smarter parent would have made some different decisions given the same set of circumstances. I was drifting to sleep last night wondering what lessons I was supposed to learn and how I should get the family more sleep tonight. Instead of coming up with any answers, I felt overwhelmed by the absurdity of my toddler keeping us awake while our newborn gets a room to himself and sleeps soundly. This absurdity reminded me of a joke I made up years ago at a bar with some friends:
A man walks into a freezer (it's a walk-in).
A giant cockroach is standing there, punches the man in the nose,
and says, "I thought I told you never to come in here."
Wish us luck tonight.