Some of you may be fortunate enough to have a child that sleeps through the night. What a blessing that must be. I didn't know the feeling until Chris was seven...
As a baby Chris never made it through a whole eight hours at night. I've heard countless people tell me what wonderful babies they had and how they'd go down at some beautiful early hour like 7pm and wake at 7am. No noise in between. Are you kidding??? I was not that blessed in the sleep department - at least not with Chris. I had a good-natured son but not a sleepy one.
When Chris was a little guy, his sleep cycle was dreadful. His daily naps were short or non-existent and so I would expect him to be exhausted for bed, nope; rarely happened that made it through a whole night. I don't know why, it's not as if anything was happening, we were all asleep so he wasn't missing anything that's for sure.
I remember on more than one occasion waking up with that feeling someone's eyes were on me. Yep. Chris was standing by the side of my bed! He wasn't doing anything, just standing there. I guess waiting for me to wake up and play? I'm not sure. He didn't poke me or touch me, just patiently stood there. He couldn't have been more than three or four. In the dark of my room there he was just hanging out by my side. I guess his night of sleep was done and so he came to see what I was up to. So much for the rest of my rest! Sometimes I'd attempt to send him back to bed, other times I just let him hop in. In either case no more sleeping really happened. He either talked or his little body let off so much heat that we were all uncomfortable.
Lo and behold, we found out when Chris was seven that he needed his tonsils and adenoids out. The poor little guy had sleep apnea and wasn't able to get decent sleep due to his condition. The back of his throat was swollen and he didn't get enough oxygen and so his sleep was disrupted each night.
Nights got better after that although Chris's sleep requirement was never what I would have liked for it to be. He did fine on less than most of us. Six hours or so was OK for him. When he had friends sleep over he was always up way before anyone else. He'd come down and have breakfast with me, hang out and wander back up and most would still be sound asleep. He always found something to do while he waited. Food was a good past time :-)
I felt kind of bad I didn't catch on to the sleep apnea thing for several years. It's hard to figure out kids issues. What's just a normal pattern for a child and what's a potential medical condition. They're quite the challenge. In any event, I'm glad he was diagnosed and that I only lost seven years of nightly rest instead of more!
Thank you for reading.