I feel insanely lucky to have finally been blessed with a really good sleeper. For the first six months of Cullen’s life, he never napped for more than 28 minute at a time. I could time it like clockwork, and I learned to eat and work very, very quickly during those short breaks. These days he consistently takes one three-hour nap each day. I know this is longer than most toddlers his age are sleeping, and I don’t take it for granted.
It took almost a year for him to start sleeping through the night, and before that he was usually up once around 3am for a feeding. Our days started at 5:30am, and looking back they are a haze of sleepiness and very dark, early mornings. Now at sixteen months, it is a totally different story. Cullen is unbelievably easy at bedtime. He actually points to his crib and begs to be put inside. He lays his head down before we’ve even left the room, and once he’s in there he doesn’t make a peep.
Bedtime is at 7:30pm, and we don’t usually hear from him again until around 7am. That is when the party begins. I always know he’s well rested when he wakes up happy. If he wakes up crying or whining, I know he need to go back for more sleep, and 9 times out of 10 he’ll lay back down after a minute or two of crying. But when he wakes up happy, there is no place he’d rather be than his crib.
Once his little head pops up from his sleep, he usually sits and just looks around for a bit. A sleepy head coming out of a long night’s deep sleep – he gets that from his mama. Once he’s a bit more alert, the chatter begins. He talks, he sings, he cracks himself up. He throws his blankets and stuffed animals around the crib and onto the floor. He scoots over to the far corner of the crib, stretches his little arms through the bars, and carefully pries books off his side table. He pulls them into his crib and flips through the pages, exclaiming “apple!” or “biya!” (banana) when he sees a familiar object. Sometimes he’ll put his head down and cat nap for a few extra minutes here and there. Whatever he’s doing, his morning crib time seems to be a fun way to start his day.
Usually by 8am, he’s still playing but I got get him anyway because it’s time to eat breakfast and get our morning going. But I’m glad he’s so happy and content in his space. I know with new ages and stages, sleep will change eventually. But for now, I’m savoring each day of our predictable and very manageable routine.