Something all the parenting manuals don’t tell you is that your children might not ever sleep through the night.

In the past almost six years, I could count on my fingers all the nights where I slept continuously until the morning. And some of them I’m sure were wine-induced. When our chipmunks were just babies, my husband and I kept them in the family bed so I could feed them and sleep at the same time. But then anywhere from nine months to a year, my husband insisted that it was time they took to their own cribs.

I hesitantly agreed.

Simon and Theodore took to the change with little objection. But Alvin fought and kicked and cried and screamed and began to have night terrors – shaking violently and hollering in pain as if someone where ripping off his arm.

After a doctor’s visit, I was told night terrors were common and usually faded as school age approached. She was right and the spasms and screams have ended now (two years later), but my little Alvin sometimes still gets freaked out when I put him to bed. It’s almost as if he’s scared of being afraid. It’s complex.

So, needless to say, my husband and I have gotten up with him nearly every night of his life to calm his fears.

But he isn’t the only one of our kids that gets up in the witching hour. Simon has a plastic sheet on his bed for a reason and Theodore sometimes suffers from some kind of infant insomnia and thinks it’s time to get up and have his morning juice when dawn hasn’t yet graced us with its presence.

Lately, though, I’ve woken in the night not to screams or urine splashing in the toilet or Theodore squawking, “Good morning!” But to the quiet that a proper nighttime should have. I now can’t sleep because I’m anticipating an interruption in my REM. The kids have seemed to grow out of their sleepless nights (fingers crossed); they might finally be nighttime trained.

Now if only someone could train my mind and body to relax in my own bed again things would be just grand.

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