This post was written as a submission to Enjoy Life Blog Carnival. For July the topic is: burning the midnight oil, unschooling sleep and sleeplessness. Posts from seasoned and new unschoolers are welcome. Deadline is June 28.
My daughter slept for six hours in a row tonight! Isn't that amazing! It has happened before, she has even slept longer stretches than this, but it has been a while now.
This actually means I must have slept about 5.5 hours, because I went to bed a little later than her and got up when she got up.
My daughter is two.
For a lot of people, this is extremely shocking. More so because she only went to bed at 10PM.
There were times we did worry about her not sleeping enough. Times where we were tempted to believe the scheduling discourse, the putting her in a crib to have her sleep through the night ideas. How could we not? We've been bombarded with this silly reasoning since the day she was born:
- can't let her fall asleep on the breast
- can't have her in bed with you
- have to get her to sleep through as quickly as possible
- have to put her to bed as soon as she shows 'signs' of fatigue
- babies have to be in bed by 8PM
- put them down to sleep
My smart girl never took any of that bullshit, luckily. From day one, she made it pretty clear that sleep would only occur on her terms. So she is still sleeping with us, she sometimes falls asleep on the breast - although this is becoming more and more infrequently. She asks to go to bed or take a nap when she feels like it, sometimes this is 7PM, sometimes it is 11PM. She doesn't sleep through. She is not night weaned.
She slept in my arms on many occasions, and still does sometimes, up until she was one year old, she flatly refused to sleep alone.
While all this is very natural to us, this is not the way it goes in most families. Most people actually think we are nutters, with the way we treat her sleep. But all we do is trust and respect her, give her options, what's wrong with that?
Are we unschooling sleep? Maybe... Probably - in the sense that we don't fall for those obsessions about sleep anymore. It seems only logical to have her listen to her body from a young age. Maybe if we had learned it, we wouldn't suffer from exhaustion and burn-out half the time.
Image/ Leon Bazille Perrault - Mother With Her Sleeping Child