I’ve gone to bed early my entire life. In grade school I was always the first one to fall asleep at sleepovers, missing the ends of movies and late-night gossip. In high school, I inflicted my own bedtime (as in, I was the one who told my parents it was time for me to go to bed.) In college, it wasn’t unheard of to “go out” and be home, drunk in bed before 11pm. I was even lucky enough to find a partner who likes to go to bed early.
But now that I have a baby, “going to be early” looks and feels different than ever before. I’ve even lost my company at bedtime because it’s “too early to go to bed.” And when I was recently asked how I can stand to go to bed so early, I really thought about it…
In the form of an actual timeline.
Why I Go to Bed So Early: An Actual Sequence of Events
8:45pm: Announce that I am GOING TO BED.
8:45 – 9pm: Nighttime routine of a goddess – brush teeth, wash face, switch one nursing bra for another.
9:01 – 10pm – Actual REM sleep. It is a glorious 59 minutes or so before…
10pm: Cory comes up to bed, Penny romps around the room like a wild banshee and circles around on her bed 800 times before actually laying down and passing out. Obviously, I’m awoken and I’m not pleased, mainly because if I wake up, I have to go pee. Even if I don’t really have to go pee.
10 – 10:15pm – QUICK. Fall back to sleep before your brain wakes up.
10:15pm – 12am: SLEEP. Until, of course, I’m awoken by phantom cries. This happens every now and then. I’ll be in a dead sleep when I’m suddenly jolted awake by what I SWEAR is Jack crying.
12 – 12:30am: Try to go back to sleep, but it takes a while because I’m so certain he’s going to start crying any minute.
2:41am: He’s crying for real this time. We’re all about cry it out, but only to a certain point.
3am: WHYYY?! He’s still awake, so I get up to nurse him (before you judge me for nursing him in the middle of the night, it’s not a normal thing, but he’s going through a growth spurt and is actually hungry.)
3am – 3:20am: Change Jack’s diaper and nurse him. When I can tell he’s almost done, I look down to and see the most terrifying site: WIDE OPEN EYES. Fuck that, dude. I’m not playing this game. I put him down and walk out.
3:21am: Pee, duh. Get back in bed. Jack is crying, so I WAKE UP CORY and ask him to set an alarm on his watch for 25 minutes and turn off the monitor because listening to Jack cry at night sends me over the edge. Like, I can’t. Cory asks me if I’ve fed the baby. I chant to myself I love this man, I love this man, I love this man.*
3:21 – 3:46am: Cory turns off the monitor and falls back asleep. I know this because he is snoring. I spend this time trying to fall back asleep, but end up thinking about rational things like gun control, public schools, and the fact that Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton make the oddest couple.
3:46am: Cory’s watch starts vibrating. I nudge him awake. He rolls over, turns on the monitor, and we hear only white noise. Cory falls back asleep. I know this because he’s doing that kind of mouth-breathing that only a sleeping person does. At this point, I’ve been awake an hour, so falling back to sleep is SUPER HARD. My mind has turned on, I’m starving, and I probably need to pee again.
3:46 – 4:30am: I continue to think about more rational things like hosting Thanksgiving, cleaning my house, and randomly wondering about my best friend from grade school. Is she doing well? Is she asleep right now?
I end up with a combination of praying the rosary (a lifelong lifehack) and taking long, deep breaths. I eventually fall into a semi-sleep state.
5am: Jack wakes up for the day. I literally let out a whimper because I’m just so tired. I ask Cory to go get the baby so I can attempt to nurse him while lying down. This is a fail.
5:15am: Jack’s into this cool new routine of twisting and turning (while attached) and smacking and scratching me while he’s nursing, so it’s a super enjoyable experience.
At this point, the day has begun. I need 5 minutes to check my ‘tude and calm down, so I roll over and mindlessly scroll through my social media channels. And before you know it, Cory gets out of bed, turns on the light, and I can’t help but smile at the ridiculously adorable baby sitting next to me.
5:25am: How lucky am I?
* While Cory, like 99.9% of fathers, has the ability to sleep through the baby crying, he’s the best nighttime-baby-soother in the world AND he slept with him on the couch last night so I could sleep. LIFE SAVER.