slice of life

Big Sister Saves the Day!

Ari woke up at 11:05 PM last night after being asleep for a little over two glorious hours. I tried rocking him back to sleep, but that didn’t work. So I made him a bottle. Two ounces later he was asleep. After 20 minutes, I put him in his crib. Nine minutes later he was up again! This time I changed his diaper and rocked him and rocked him and rocked him until he finally fell asleep. I thought Ari would sleep ’till morning. It was wishful thinking since today is another snow day.
Less than two hours later, around 2 o’clock in the morning, we heard cries coming from Ari’s room. I think Marc knew I couldn’t handle another feeding so he went in and gave Ari a bottle. Everyone was back to sleep around 2:30 in the morning.
I heard cries coming from down the hall again at 5:30 AM. This is unbelievable, I thought. I can’t keep doing this. I need sleep! I rushed down the hall so Ari’s cries would not wake up Isabelle. After all, it is a snow day! I prepared a bottle and he drank almost all of it. What I failed to do was change his diaper because I was so bleary-eyed. After a while, he went back to his crib and I fell asleep again.
Just before sleep took me, I asked Marc to implore Isabelle to play quietly this morning if he saw her awake before he left for work.
At 8:00 AM, I heard Isabelle calling me. I went to her and it turned out to be important. I told her I had been up three times in the middle of the night with her brother and that I would really appreciate it if she would let me go back to sleep. (She already knew since Marc saw her before he departed for work.) I didn’t think I had much of a shot at getting any more rest with her skulking around the house. But she proved me wrong.
At 9:45 AM (That’s right, 9:45 AM!), Isabelle walked into my bedroom where I was fast asleep. She gently woke me and said “Ari is waking up.” I was in shock when I saw the time on the clock. She let me sleep-in… on a snow day!
Ari wasn’t crying loudly, so I invited Isabelle to come into bed with me and snuggle for a few minutes. I thanked her profusely for letting me go back to sleep. I praised her for playing quietly. I complemented her for being a responsible big sister by coming to wake me a soon as she heard her brother wake up. We snuggled for a few minutes and then went into Ari’s bedroom to get him together.
I never expected to have an almost six year age gap between my children. But on days like today, I am delighted my daughter is old enough and compassionate enough to take care of herself while I get a little extra sleep after having been up too many times last night.

Here is Isabelle reading Little Elliott, Big City to Ari this morning. She graciously entertained him while I changed Ari’s sheets and did a laundry. It turns out I didn’t do a very good job with the midnight diaper change.

20 thoughts on “Big Sister Saves the Day!

  1. Oh my – I do remember those nights feeling like I’d never be able to sleep! What a sweet, sweet slice – and a sweet daughter! I also love yesterday’s slice about reading and building a fort. How many inches/books are you up to?

  2. This: I thought. I can’t keep doing this. I need sleep!
    I don’t think I’ve really slept in over 30 years. Okay, that’s hyperbole, but I feel your pain. I hope you have a restful night tonight, and Isabelle deserves a halo for being such a trooper.

  3. And this is what I love most about Slice of Life: the fact that you realize you’re never alone. My son is not a good sleeper (he still isn’t) – he would wake up every 2 hours. We would watch the sun go down and then watch it rise again. I’d have friends who talked about how their child slept for 5-6 hour stretches. I’d wonder what I was doing wrong. At the time (and sometimes still, now) I thought, “He must be the only kid who doesn’t sleep.” And though there are some days where I still believe this, reading slices like yours reminds me that I’m not alone (but hoping that yours is only temporary). πŸ™‚ Kudos to your amazing Isabelle and here’s hoping that Ari (and you) get some much needed rest. Thank you for sharing!

    1. That is the beauty of this community, isn’t it?

      Ari was sleeping for 10-11 hrs. straight every night. But something changed about 2.5 weeks ago (and here I am and it is almost 2 am!). I know it won’t be like this forever, but I’d like to get back to getting long stretches of sleep — and soon!

  4. Go Isabelle! I love that she gave you some time to sleep and let you know Ari was waking up. That’s awesome. Beautiful picture of the two of them reading together. You have a gift for finding the perfect pose.

  5. Your post brought back memories of our mandatory two-hour feeds; we lived in a state of utter exhaustion for six weeks. I’m glad you have a snow day to rest and relax (if one can do that with two children!). Here’s hoping a nap is in everyone’s future today!

  6. She’s growing up! What a nice thing to have happened. Perhaps Isabelle enjoyed thinking she was the only one up?

  7. Way to go, Isabelle! Wow, Stacey, you are going to be tired today. I hope there is some time when you can sneak in a nap! Isabelle is becoming quite a sensible young lady and is going to make the best big sister ever! I think she already is!

  8. Glad you were able to get a little rest and Isabelle entertained herself for a bit. She’s growing up so fast. Sometimes a gap is a blessing between kids. My granddaughters are 11 years apart, the eldest is quite the helper with the younger.

  9. Oh I remember those sleepless nights too well. My youngest didn’t sleep laying down until she was about 14 months old. She slept in her car seat, her bouncy seat, or on one of us in the recliner. I remember being frustrated, I remember the tears (mine and hers) on those nights when we were awake more than asleep. I also remember telling myself it wouldn’t last forever. I remember thinking things like, just enjoy this alone time with the baby. Enjoy the extra cuddles. It’s hard but it really is over fast. Try to remember to enjoy the extra cuddles when you can. And when you can’t…it sounds like Isabelle has your back. πŸ™‚

    1. I remember feeling like I’d never sleep again after having Isabelle. While her sleep issues were nothing in comparison to your youngest daughter’s, I remember feeling frustrated and grumpy. This, too, shall pass.

  10. This is totally it! You just described my nights and my tactics with the big kid as well! I didn’t plan a four year age gap either but I’m so thankful for it! Good job mama. I especially like how you invited Isabelle to snuggle so that you could squeeze a couple more moments lying down!

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