Grace has always been a good sleeper since the day we brought her home. She always got 7 to 10 hours of sleep a night and we counted ourselves pretty lucky. All of that changed about a month ago. Grace started to digress and is now waking up every few hours during the night. Melanie and I understand that babies usually don't sleep through the night and we expected that as a new parents, but since we were spoiled for three months with easy nights this new trend has been pretty hard on us.
The best is Grace's 4 am wake up. By this point she isn't waking up because she is hungry or has a dirty diaper; she is ready to get up, get out of bed, and play. We try to hold her without engaging her too much because we want to break the habit and we hope she will go back to sleep. The goal is to make life at 4 am very boring. Grace, on the other hand has some ideas of her own.
So it goes like this. Melanie wakes up and tries to feed Grace. Grace refuses to eat and sits and smiles at Melanie instead. It is pretty funny so Melanie can't help but laugh though she tries to be stoic. Melanie then brings Grace into the bed and gives her to me. At this point I shut my eyes and sit her on my stomach and listen to her coo at me. The coos are really cute so I can't help but open my eyes and as soon as I do she gives me a huge smile that looks like this.
She is so excited that my eyes are open and I am ready to play with her. I can't help but laugh but I force myself to shut my eyes again in the hopes that she will get bored and go back to sleep. This is where it starts to get really funny. So my eyes are shut and Grace is silent. After a minute or two of the silence I start to think that she has maybe fallen back to sleep so I open my eyes again. There sitting on my stomach is my daughter giving me this sort of half awake smile which I know she has been doing since the first time I opened my eyes.
At this point I can't help myself. I am awake and laughing and I can't stop. So now that Grace has gotten dad up it is time to start working on mom. Melanie is pretty poker faced at four in the morning but it is hard to sleep when I am lying next to her laughing at our baby. I am confident that Grace knows that Melanie is really awake even though her eyes are closed because as soon as I am clearly awake Grace turns and starts to coo/yell at her mom. Like me, Melanie can only hold out for so long before she starts to laugh and say something like, "Grace you aren't supposed to be cute at four in the morning." At this point we are both lying there trying to stifle our laughter and Grace just grins knowing she has made everyone so happy.
My favorite part of the story is our dog Carmen who also sleeps in our bed with us (I know, we're softies). While Grace is cooing and we are all laughing Carmen will sometimes lift her head and grumble at us for disturbing her sleep. I had to snap a picture of our disgruntled puppy just so everyone can see how happy she is to be woken up by a noisy little baby.
As funny as it all of this is I still wish Grace would sleep through the night again. Everyone keeps telling us that it will get easier. I love to hear this because they will usually ask us how old Grace is and then tell us that it gets much easier next month. "Oh she is three months, yeah things will get easier once she is four months I know all my babies did." Then a few weeks later, "Yeah four months is hard, just wait until five months things will get easier then." It is like a mirage in the distant horizon but we will just keep going until we get there, and really we love the journey.