The sleep log

Some of you may remember our obsession with Lucy’s sleeping and pooping habits as a baby, recorded faithfully in the “Lucy log”:/news/2006/lucy-log/. While it’s been a long time since I tracked eliminations, I must confess to indulging my compulsive nature by continuing to keep tabs on our toddlers’ sleep habits.

I’m not quite as detailed now as I once was. Many times in Lucy’s first year, we filled full pages of notes on how we put her to bed, what time exactly it was that she started crying, when she would “pause” in her cries, and when she would submit to blissful sleep. These days, I just use a weekly calendar (see photo) to sketch out notes on how long Rosie’s naps are and what time the girls go to bed and wake up.

Early in our log-keeping days, I think recording as much information as we did helped us to feel that we had some sense of control over the sleeping situation. Ha! As if. Or at least it gave us something to do while we were praying for children to go to sleep. But today, I just find it useful to fend off discouragement. Jon and I will occasionally have this conversation in the mornings:

Jon: “Oh geez, why did Rosie wake up twice last night? And hasn’t she been doing that every night for a week?”
Ann: “No, it’s only been about three days. I think she’s getting over her cold.”
Jon: “Are you sure it’s only been three days? It feels like a week.”
Ann: “Yes, I am sure — but you can check the log.”

The log doesn’t lie. Even parents of toddlers and preschoolers can be sleep-deprived and discouraged, but the sleep log will tell us the truth. Children have phases of weird sleep, and they usually get over it themselves, or you can decide to shake things up in some way to change their behavior. I’ve also found it to be a useful place to make notes on temperature readings for sick kids, doses of medicine given, and other illness-related events.

I just started a new sleep log this week, and it feels a little jarring to glance through the finished one. Only last summer, Rosie was still nursing (hard to believe!) and Lucy still had naps on some afternoons. I can see from days with big “DRY” and “WET” notes that Lucy graduated to her diaper-free-at-nighttime status sometime in July. It’s nice to have one more place to make notes that jog my memory. As much as I try to soak up each day and appreciate the girls, they change so quickly that it is easy to let things slip away. It’s nice to know that these days, I can go back and reminisce over naps and nighttime wake-ups — and then enjoy heading off to bed with the reasonable expectation of a full night’s sleep.

2 Replies to “The sleep log”

  1. Oh my gosh, Ann…I love this. Noah’s sleep is my new obsession. I have a log too, not nearly as pretty as yours, and I wrestle every day with the tantalizing idea that I can control the situation somehow: If I “catch the wave” just right he’ll peacefully put himself to sleep every time, or good naps = good night…right? Drives me nuts sometimes but is a good lesson in letting go…

  2. I am obsessed with lists and note-taking as well…so you would think I would do more to track the really cool (and really mundane) bits of Life with Ella…but my multi-tasking Mommy brain isn’t so good at the long-term memory and is getting worse at accomplishing the less-than-crucial short-term projects. So yes, all those cute things Ella has said over the past couple of years that we wanted to remember, we have already forgotten (and not written down); all of the sleep issues have been (perhaps blissfully) forgotten (and never tracked); and I don’t know how tall she was when she was two. I suppose that is the price I have paid for being present in as many moments as I can be…it’s always a tough call for me. To document or not to document? I live reasonably assured that I have been enjoying the moments, in the moment…at the cost of not remembering the moments because I haven’t photographed or written them down. I love your blog because it does such a great job of chronicling so many moments in your kids’ lives…keep it up!

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