Posted in Blog, Emma, Featured, Mother, Wife

We’re post-sleep

Sleep deprivation does crazy things to you. That’s why in the military they force you to go to bed sometimes cause you can’t shoot, or think straight when you’re tired.

There is something supremely hilarious (when you’re as tired as I am) about having torture tactics (that the United Nations won’t even allow in interrogations) inflicted upon you by your own sweet, adorable baby .

But tired doesn’t even begin to describe it, does it? Having a baby under one year old is a whole new level of exhaustion – and this is coming from a doula who used to make a living getting woken up in the middle of the night.

Your brain begins to grow mold. You can’t drive very well or remember what word you wanted to use or not burn the beans. Your mouth always tastes bad and all of a sudden it’s unusually difficult to regulate your body temperature.

You think about a lot of crazy things when you’re this tired. You think that being dead would be sort of great because it would be a long, deep sleep. You think about returning your child (whom you love ferociously, unendingly) for a new one. A sleepier one. You worry that something is terribly wrong with them. You seriously consider drugging them. Or drugging yourself.

You get really superstitious. If they slept well one night, you MUST put them in the exact same sleep sack, have the temperature exactly the same, eat the same dinner, same lullaby, etc. Even though none of that stuff matters. Cause this shit is out. of. your. control.

I have this lovely bonus tick that I get when I am really tired – I curse. All the time. I host a play date and literally every third word is a dirty one, right in front of all the babies. I’m pretty sure a four letter word will be among my daughter’s first.

4 words. Amazon app sleep books. You buy ‘em. Sears. Weissbluth. Ferber. It doesn’t matter that they all have conflicting advice and that you will never have time to read them (because you will be napping). You buy them. You feel better for like 3 minutes after buying them just knowing they will be in the mail soon. But then you’re too tired to remember what just happened. You are surprised when they show up on your front porch. “Did I order these?…”

 

Lately, we have had the fucked up sleep trifecta in effect at our house.

  1. Nursing all night. This one is my preferred method of up all night because I get to lay down the whole time. Nursing releases some sleep hormones for me. It doesn’t disturb Sean so he is better rested and more patient/available/helpful during the day. And, Hazel seems to be fine in the morning.
  2. Screaming. This is usually a teething/ear infection thing but sometimes it just gets thrown into the mix for giggles! It’s usually just on waking and sometimes requires walking/rocking but usually settles down in to nursing and then back to sleep soon enough. But sometimes its inconsolable and that’s pretty bad.
  3. Awake like an insane vampire who is physically incapable of sleeping. This is my least favorite. This method involves a perfectly happy baby (as long as she is right next to me) babbling, playing, practicing standing up on the windowsill next to the bed, pinching my skin, laughing, talking to her stuffed animals and generally carrying on. One night, for example, we tried FOR FOUR HOURS (11pm-3am) to try to get her back to sleep. Walking, rocking, singing, nursing, TV (horrors!), sleep sheep, standing, sitting, whatever. DRIVING!  For hours. And she wouldn’t go to sleep. Sometimes it goes on every night for a week.

Sometimes there are streaks – only 1’s or only 3’s for several nights in a row. Other nights contain all three and you never know what’s coming at you! Like a fun surprise! That makes you want to die!

And not sleeping as a new parent is so cliche and totally boring and no one wants to hear it. I’m 27 and zero percent of my friends my age have kids and I swear to G-d they are all going to stop taking my calls because who wants to hear it? Again? About the not sleeping? We get together for brunch (because dinner is impossible – brunch is the new happy hour) and I bask in their multi-faceted lives – what exciting, non-baby related things they are doing this week?! And then, politely, they ask how I have been and I could just play a tape recorder. “No sleep. So tired. Babies. WTF. So tired. Did I already say that?” Back to you!

Other ladies who have babies don’t want to hear it, either. If they are not sleeping, they don’t care who else is not sleeping, because major sleep deprivation is majorly selfish. And if they are sleeping, they want to forget the times they weren’t. And you sure don’t want to hear them tell you how they finally got their baby to sleep because guess what? You already tried that a hundred times. Along with EVERYTHING ELSE THERE IS.

I went to a workshop recently and a mom said, “We’re post-sleep. We don’t even need it anymore”. And that coincided with me settling into this wonderfully Zen place about sleep. Cause here’s the thing – kids who are stubborn (non)sleepers are going to be that way no matter what you do. And kids who aren’t won’t need any help. You get the kid you get. You make a plan. You try it. It works or it doesn’t. You change it. You sleep sometimes. Lots of times you don’t. But everyone eventually sleeps. So you just gotta ride the crazy train that is the first 1-2 years and leave it behind like all the other milestones – when dimples turn into knuckles, when boobie turns into cheerios, when 3 naps turn into 2 turn into 1.

Did any of that make any sense at all? Probably not. But I know you’ll forgive me, cause I know you know I’m tired.

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  1. H to the E to the double L YES! 1 – check. 2 – check. 3 – check. All known combinations of 1, 2, & 3, concurrent or sequential – check and check. When dirt naps are tempting, you know you are severely tired. Lack of sleep is by far the biggest challenge I have had with motherhood so far. Taking deep breaths and chanting this too shall pass…

  2. At least when you are at brunch with your non-childed friends you can drop four letter words all you want…it’ll practically make you feel trendy.

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