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A portrait of sleep in my family every week in 2018

I’ve been putting them to sleep in the same bed occasionally, and am trying to do so more often. Eventually I plan to have them share a room, once the baby is old enough and no longer nursing over night. Considering I didn’t night wean her sister until I was pregnant with her that could be a while. I’m hoping sometime around age two to start transitioning them into the same bed. They both sleep better next to someone I’m hoping that they can be each other’s someone.

The baby landed herself in the emergency room for a fever and cellulitis this week, which was horrible and scary and majorly triggered my child related health anxiety. She developed a rash today so I’m thinking it may have actually been Roseola, but then again it could also be a reaction to the antibiotics so who knows. She slept more those few days she had a fever than she has in her entire little life. The past two nights she’s woke up sobbing sooooo many times so who knows what’s going on. It’s exhausting and worrying, but I took a nap today so at least there’s that.

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A portrait of sleep in my family every week in 2018

Sleep has not come easy for this girl over the past week. I can’t figure out what’s going on with her but it hasn’t been fun. She’s fought naps and sometimes bedtime, which isn’t really like her. She skipped her afternoon nap yesterday. Last night her sister and I went to a birthday party. She fell asleep while we were gone, but woke up right before we got home. I managed to get her back to sleep pretty easily but the second I tried to leave the room she bolted up. And then she was up until 12:45. And she was crazy. She was wild, she was unhappy, she was funny, she was miserable, and she was over tired. She almost fell asleep, or actually fell asleep numerous times only to wake back up at the slightest sound. I thought for sure all this meant she had to poop but she never did. Maybe she has more teeth coming through, but getting her to let me poke around in her mouth is basically impossible. I’m so worn out I feel barely human. There is literally not enough coffee. I had someone tell me she’s a “trained night feeder” this week and I laughed, because obviously, but that’s not even the part that I care about. She fought her morning nap today too, as she does anytime she’s over tired. Sometimes I think she’s transitioning to just one nap, but then she’s a total handful on the days she only gets one. Sleep consumes you when you’re a parent of small kids, that’s for sure. Even those parents who seem to have it down, absolutely at some point have or will put way more effort than they ever imagined into their kids sleep. I know this is temporary. I get that. They’re only little for so long, and I try to keep repeating that in my head. But that doesn’t make it any less exhausting.

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A portrait of sleep in my family, every week, in 2018

Sleep. It’s something I’ve always loved. I stayed up late and slept until noon. I took naps. It was wonderful. Then I got pregnant with my first child and about halfway through pregnancy sleep went to shit. I was up every hour to pee. Everything hurt. I couldn’t sleep. It seemed like a cruel joke, wasn’t the sleep deprivation supposed to come after, with the baby? I literally had no idea what sleep deprivation was until I had children. There’s simply no way to prepare for what having a baby does to your sleep. And honestly it’s bullshit the way we all treat it. Asking new moms if the baby is sleeping well. The answer is always no. And if it isn’t, it will be next week. Babies don’t sleep. Period. They’re not supposed to. I mean yes, they sleep, and when they do it’s a wonderful, deep sleep that we all dream about. But they wake up. A lot. And their sleep patterns change. Non stop.

It’s not just the lack of sleep that throws you when you become a parent. It’s how much time and energy you have to devote to getting another little person to sleep. And ready for sleep. And waking up. And doing it all over again in two hours. There’s a good couple of years where sleep and naps rule your life. Even if you don’t let them, they still do.

It’s different the second time. Our lives aren’t based around nap times, they can’t be. We have five year old who has school drop off and pick up, and ballet and skating lessons. So the baby naps in the car, and the stroller, and the baby carrier. She had to get used to it fast, and she did.

I’m drawn to photographing my kids while they sleep. I love to look at their sweet little faces, so calm. So peaceful, so innocent, and so much younger. I wish the five year old still took naps, if only just to photograph her. So I’ve decided to make some photos of sleep in my family over the next year. I have a feeling it will get a bit repetitive, and that’s ok with me. I’m really interested to see the finished series, as one large piece rather, than the individual photos. Don’t get me wrong the individual photos have to be good too, but I’ve always loved a series. I’m hoping to play with long exposures and self portraits again as well. Maybe I’ll even convince one of them to sleep under the stars and photograph that. So here’s to sleep in 2018, and hoping I get more than I did in 2017.

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A portrait of my daughters every week in 2017

This is the last set of photos for 2017. It’s bittersweet. In a way I loved doing this project again, but in another way it was also pretty difficult for me to accomplish. Two kids are four times the work of one kid and trying to make photographs intentionally each and every week was nearly impossible. After my first 52 project I went on to do a 365 the following year. I know there’s no way I can keep up with that so I’ve been mulling over what to do and am still undecided. I’ve been debating doing a photo series on sleep for 2018. It’s something I find myself continually photographing, and such a huge part of life when you have small children. This weeks photos are two of my favorite from the year.

Big: was ecstatic to see our first real snow of the year on Christmas Eve. It wasn’t in the forecast but made for a White Christmas which was rather nice. And it meant she got to play with our neighbor who she’s been missing since cold weather hit.

Little: is not so much a fan of the winter gear and being outside in it. She didn’t take even one step in the winter boots I put on her. She does seem to like the snowsuit at least, and tries to put it on herself if it’s laying around the house.

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A portrait of my daughters every week in 2017

Big: I shared this photo on Instagram, but it really was my favorite from the week so here it is again. She went to her first ballet with her grandma and I and she really loved it. I’ve started making a Christmas bucket list for next year of all of the things I want to do, and going to the Nutcracker again is most definitely on it.

Little: Although she’s walking very confidently, she still refuses to do so outdoors. It’s sort of comical and slightly ridiculous.

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A portrait of my daughters every week in 2017

Big: I volunteered in her classroom for the first time this week. The school she goes to has an incredibly diverse population, as it pulls from one of the most affluent neighborhoods and also one of the poorest. I got to witness first hand, the desperate need for more assistants due to a high population of children with developmental issues, the obvious and heart breaking impact of food insecurity, for a four year old, who knows he’s food insecure, and the stress and impact of these issues day to day on educators. Our system, our way of life in this country, is so flawed, so “me” focused, so wealth and gain centric, that these kids at four years old, are already getting left behind. After less than three hours I was completely exhausted and overwhelmed, mostly due to my own inability to do anything to change the situation. It also made me realize how truly lucky and privileged we are. And it made me wish I had given her one more year at Waldorf. What I did see in her classroom that made me happy, and that was amazing, was her. Her independence, her incredible intelligence, her relationship with her peers, and her kindness and creativity. I was so impressed by her ability to navigate different scenarios with ease and grace. I’m hoping to find more time to volunteer in her class more often.

Little: Is officially a toddling toddler as she has mastered walking this week. She still reverts to crawling a lot of the time as she’s quite fast at it. Last night however, she started running, so I’m sure once she’s mastered that, it will be her go to. It’s so bittersweet, watching her grow so very quickly. I love who she’s becoming but am already desperately missing the little baby she was. And as my last baby, that bittersweetness stings a little bit more.

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A portrait of my daughters every week in 2017

Big: we went to the Winter Festival at her old school today and she clearly still felt right at home. The immense amount she’s grown since being there every day is so obvious however, as her long legs no longer fit in the wooden boat she used to play in.

Little: I never question whether or not she will feel comfortable in unfamiliar places, as she jumps right in with both feet everywhere we go. The second I set her down, she took off and started playing and climbing and zooming little wooden cars back and forth.

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A portrait of my daughters every week in 2017

Big: spent the better part of one evening this week playing with her sister and I on the floor trying to coach the baby into walking. It was one of the best evenings I’ve had alone with these two in quite some time.

Little: took her very first step on the evening referenced above. She’s not walking quite yet but is standing on her own quite often and will be running sooner than I care to think about.

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A portrait of my daughters every week in 2017

Big: said she had the best Thanksgiving ever, due to family, loads of pie, and my bff teaching her how to draw portraits when she visited.

Little: was totally unimpressed by Thanksgiving dinner. I had hoped she would love it as much as her sister did at that age but alas, her ridiculously picky eating habits won out.

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A portrait of my daughters every week in 2017

Big: is still not completely sold on soccer. I feel like she’s just more of a dance kind of lady.

Little: started standing on her own pretty steadily this week. It’s like she doesn’t realize she’s even doing it, until a few minutes pass she sits back down.