So, here's the thing, parents. When you decided to have a sweet little baby, you undoubtedly had NO idea how much sleep you would lose. In fact, once you pee on a stick and a little plus sign comes up, just go ahead and stay up all night. Or for, like, three days. And then you will (sort of) know what it's like to have a child. But, good news! Many books and theories abound that will help you "train" your child to sleep. You might have one of those little buggers that wakes up every three hours until the age of three (or is that just me)? But, mostly, you will probably eventually have a child that sleeps through the night around age 1 (or kindergarten, whichever comes first).
But do NOT be fooled. Once you have sprung a mini-me from your loins, you run the risk of having your sleep rudely interrupted until they move out. And probably longer than that, but I'm not sure because mine have not moved out yet. I have four teenagers and I STILL wake up at night because of them. The following are some of the reasons:
1. Sick. Kids still get sick in the middle of the night well past grade school, and I don't care if you've graduated from high school - if your mom says you can sleep on her floor, you're gonna take her up on it.
2. Can't sleep. My favorite. Being awakened by a child because they "can't sleep" is like hitting someone in the head because YOU have a headache. Seriously? Count sheep or something. Don't wake ME up.
3. Aches and pains. Again, if you're hurting in the middle of the night, and there is ibuprofen in the medicine cabinet downstairs, but your mom is right down the hall upstairs, you're going to go get your mom. So she can go get you some ibuprofen.
4. I'm home! When your children are old enough to stay out later than you can stay up, be prepared to be awakened by the "I'm home!" messenger. You'll take this over sleeping through the night and waking up in the morning and flying to their room in a panic because you realize you don't know if they made it home last night. During this 2.5 second flight, you will imagine all sorts of horrific details and every crime show you've ever watched.
5. Call 911. This is when your child comes into your room with a ruptured appendix and/or a kidney stone and while you put on your sensible mom/doctor hat and try to diagnose the problem, your husband sleepily rolls over and says "she has appendicitis/a kidney stone, you should take her to the ER" and promptly goes back to sleep. Guess who will spend the night in the ER with the child? Hint: not him.
6. I need to talk. This, technically, is not being awakened in the night, but disrupts your sleep anyway because you just went to say goodnight to your child and are about to collapse from utter exhaustion and they suddenly want to "talk". And that talk will originate in the form of a friend/teacher/school problem and will turn into an hours-long missive about how they have no friends/everyone hates them/they don't know what they want to be when they grow up/etc. And you will listen until your eyelids close for "just a minute" and you wake to your child saying "are you sleeping?" to which you will reply "of course not!"
7. Sleepover alarm. This is when your kids are having a sleepover, and everyone has already settled down so you dare to go to bed and are rudely awakened at 3 a.m. by a sudden burst of laughter (or in the case of dorky drama kids, a musical song, sung in 3 part harmony).
8. The crash. Anything and everything that makes a loud sound in the middle of the night will undoubtedly send you in the direction of your children's sleeping quarters, until you find out it was just the mesh bag of tub toys falling in to the tub, or, in the case of older children, objects being kicked off the ends of their messy beds.
9. Footsteps. When they're little, you'll hear footsteps and will have to either direct a sleepy toddler back to bed or investigate possible mischief. When they're older, you'll be checking for sneaking boyfriends or someone on the lam. Any number of shenanigans are possible.
10. The microwave beeping. You'll only hear this when you have young adults who stay up so late that they need to fix food at 1 a.m. for their fourth meal of the day (or their first, depending on their circadian rhythms). You will wonder who can eat leftover pizza at that hour and then you'll remember you were young once too.
The point is, don't expect to get much sleep. Forever. The end.