Sleeping. In Surround Sound.

I made you something the other night while I was busy not sleeping. I not-sleep a lot because my children regularly and expertly outmaneuver my Ambien prescription and my 50 pairs of earplugs. Frankly, I think Ambien and Earplugs should just admit defeat and quit embarrassing themselves, but they went to a Tony Robbins workshop one time and they insist they can achieve their personal dreams. I don’t have the heart to destroy them so we bumble along together, trying.

Here’s an audio file for you about sleep. It’s like a lullaby only better. For best results, listen to it at night when it’s dark and quiet. And with the volume all the way up.

Sleeping. In Surround Sound. a lullaby for your listening pleasure by Five Kids Is A Lot Of Kids "Sleeping. In Surround Sound."

 

P.S. I was not kidding about the earplugs.

photo (35)

They’re a nightstand fixture along with a half-read vampire novel, three candy wrappers, a pre-chewed piece of gum (not mine), a book about dinosaur record breakers, and a sock. Why? What’s on your nightstand?

P.P.S. We sleep trained our first child, by which I mean she neither slept nor was trained and she and I cried a lot. Then we slept with our next kids through adoption adjustment and night terrors, by which I mean we not-slept on the floor of their rooms, lost our poo with great consistency, and almost fled screaming to Mexico. Then we gave up with our twins and now our room is a free-for-all which means a lot of pointy limbs in my ribs and bladder and often waving good night to Greg over a sea of mouth breathers. We still don’t sleep but at least we don’t sleep to the sound of not-crying. Do what works for you and your kids is what I’m saying. Or what doesn’t work not as bad as the other stuff. Or ignore me. I haven’t slept in 14 years. I have no idea what I’m talking about.

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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
19 comments
  1. I snorkel regularly so wear ear plugs often. My longest lasting ones were molded from a kit, they’re much more effective than foam ear plugs and don’t seem to wear out. It’s much cheaper than having your ear plugs moulded by a professional; I would suggest them to anyone who uses them often.

  2. I cracked up listening to this.

  3. Oh my goodness I haven’t slept in six years. Actually a little bit longer because I have siblings who are significantly younger than me and I used to help my mom take care of them. I’ve made peace with the fact that I will probably never get a decent night’s sleep…ever.
    I agree with Erin, I live off of cat naps. I truly look forward to them.

  4. I love it. I’m also really impressed that you got the recording of snoring. I have been trying to record my husband’s snoring for 11 years now, and it’s as though his lizard sleeping brain detects my attempts to record it, and it recoils, until I put down the recording device. Sometimes I think I’ve recorded it, and I play it triumphantly and… silence. It’s like some vast conspiracy.

  5. I can’t hear the clip 🙁 When I press play, there is TOTAL SILENCE. That can’t be right, can it? 😉

    Echoing Helen’s comment above – when other parents start dispensing the advice that enabled their children to sleep (mine, obviously, don’t!), it makes me want to isolate myself completely from everyone who has ever been a parent just so I won’t have to feel rubbish about all the ways in which I fail every single day by others’ standards. And then posts like this restore my faith and stop me from actually doing it. So THANK YOU. Lots of love xxx

  6. YES! I want you to write a sleep expert book, and when exhausted new moms open it up, it only has one page, and centered, in bold writing, all in caps, it says “Do whatever it takes for your family to sleep. It’ll be okay.” We have a non-sleeper (three years and counting), and read every book out there on getting her to sleep. None of it worked, all of it made her sleep issues worse and I still feel guilty for following that rigid, ridiculous “expert” advice. You know what woke me up to how ridiculous it was? She got pneumonia at 12 months old, and I moved a mattress into her room, next to her crib to sleep near her, and in her sleep, she moved herself over to the side of her crib so that her body was pressing against the bars to be close to me. That did it for me…of course my baby wanted to be near me when she slept! That’s what defenseless little mammals do, they sleep snuggled into their parents.

  7. I’ve been reading your site for about a year now, but this entry seals the deal. I love you and the other readers who have commented. So we AREN’T crazy!?!?! Our 18 month old wakes every night multiple times and always ends up in our bed. Last night he slept 6 hours in a row – in his crib (which is at the foot of our bed) – which was a record. But I didn’t sleep any better than usual. I guess I need to be sleep trained too. Wish I could say you give me hope for a better night’s sleep… Instead, I’ll just say you gave me hope that I too will survive it. … Right?!

  8. In our house…. Night is a mysterious dance of young drifting bodies, finding their way with eyes closed to the parental bed like homing pigeons returning to roost. Returning on steady bare feet, they arrive bedside, arms reaching up, and cite midnight needs, thirst, comfort, nightmares, or just plead, “Mama.” They are clever, for I am severely disadvantaged middle of the night. I am in the thick of my recovery from the previous day, and like a caterpillar in a cocoon I can’t move, so I succumb, and I flash to an image in my head of my Mother disapproving, “In my day, we just didn’t parent the way you do.” Then I lift the soft warm body and lay it next to mine and I realize this is what’s best, without knowing if it’s right. I have two boys, 17 months and 4.5 years old, and it’s at least once a night they visit us before I return them to their beds. Fatigued though I am, I know this phase isn’t forever and that I will grow old cherishing the memories.

    1. Amy, your words were beautiful. I am old, my children are grown now, and I know in my heart that you are doing the right thing.

      1. Thanks Dee – that was nice of you to comment.

  9. This is again how I know we’re probably sisters – ambien and earplugs are my best friends. However, and I hate to tell you this, but the foam plugs are for sissies. The wax ones plug everything up so clearly you can hear your own heartbeat and I can almost guarantee you’ll never hear another screaming child or snoring whomever.

    Press On!

  10. We have one child that actually stays in his bed…and that’s because it’s a crib, he’s one and doesn’t climb out (yet). Our other 3 kids form a U around our bed. They’re 5, 5, (twins), and 4 … My now 5 year old son started it last fall with nightmares. After doing what “experts” say you should do and nightly taking him back to bed without success, he slept on our floor. And finally slept – which meant I slept – and our world was changed. The other two siblings didn’t stay away for long…and now we have limbs to trip over in the middle of the night but for the most part they sleep as much as a toddler sleeps. We need voices like yours to be the “expert” because you’re an actual mom who knows what it’s like! You do what works! Thank you for your blog – love it!!

  11. “Do what works for you and your kids” – precisely. We need more people like you, experienced people, saying this kind of thing more often. I am intensely irritated by the smug people who feel the need to tell other parents how to get their children to sleep through, as if all children were the same, and all parents were the same, and all mummies’ crying-tolerance thresholds were the same. As in so many areas of parenting we need to stop pretending there’s a right way and a wrong way and just muddle through without beating ourselves up when we’re not doing it the way someone else said they did it.
    I loved your little audio clip, it made me laugh out loud in places! But your voice is not how I imagined!

    1. I, too, wish this on almost every parenting issue, Helen. Granted, some parents really do need a talking-to for using poor judgement, but the vast majority of us know in our hearts the best compromise between our kids’ needs and our own… it’s learning to trust that heart-sense that takes time and requires us to give ourselves grace. If only this was promoted more than a method.

      P.S. I must have a strange voice. You’re not the only one who’s said my voice is different than they thought!

  12. BHAAAHAHAHA!!!!! I have the 50 pack of Macks too! And a script for Ambien. We only have two kids, mostly because the first one didnt sleep through the night until she was five YEARS old. Not exactly sure how we managed to conceive her sister. But we also have four large dogs, 7 cats and I am a night shift nurse. So long ago, i decided that sleep was over rated and cat naps are all I can hope for. In a fit of parental genus one night, my husband decided he cant compete with the bodies in bed and moved to the couch. Dammit! Why didnt i think of that???

    1. Naps! So jealous. Naps are terrible for me. I’m unlivable after I take one. Nap Hangover, I call it. Nausea, foggy thinking, general grumpiness. I think my body doesn’t know how to process sleep. 😉

      Love the parental genius story. Heh heh heh.

  13. I was so deluded about sleep when I was pregnant. So, so deluded. I was going to be firm. Strong. Not co-sleep. That didn’t even last 8 hours after birth – I’m just not that kind of parent I’ve learned (I should add that neither is my husband either – thankfully we both feel the same on sleep). The upside to having her in our bed is that we all get decent sleep most nights. The compromise is that she starts in her bed next to us so it’s not a full night of sharing. That works most nights too.
    My inner consolation? It will SO uncool to sleep with your parents eventually. Right?

    1. Greg and I are of one mind, too. The Too Exhausted to Care mind. 😉 I lean toward attachment parenting. Greg would way, way (x1000) rather sleep train. But he also wants a wife who’s not a total freaking freakerpants (only partially realistic, but it’s good for Greg to have goals, right?) so he endures. I think enduring one another looks a lot like love, don’t you?

      I, too, have told myself many times that my children won’t want to sleep with me when they’re teenagers anyway. This is the kind of thing that gives us hope and lets us *endure* for a season. So right now I won’t tell you that there’s a certain teenage daughter who loves to have her mommy in her room to read at night. Or that the mommy actually adores it.

    2. Ummm… WRONG!!! My 15-year-old still sleeps with me when she’s scared, overtired, or sick. Which is about half the time. She slept with me full-time until she was 12. Between 0 and 12 there were, maybe, 4 months when she wasn’t in my bed. Most of that time came when she was almost 11, and started 5th grade and decided she wanted to sleep in her own bed. That was September. Mid-December she got mono, and ended up back in my bed for almost 2 more years. When she was tiny, I was involved in the parenting boards on AOL and there was a lady in her 30’s who said her parents did the family bed with her, and now (well, back then) when she goes home to visit, she STILL sleeps with them! LOL I don’t mind my daughter sleeping with me tho. I figure if she’s in my bed, she’s not sneaking out the window to be with her boyfriend…

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