Tuesday, November 23

tales of the sleepless

Well, it took nearly 6 months but Ryan finally broke me. Last night and early this morning I had my first real sleep deprived sob-fest of his life. Prior to this a tear has been shed here or there over my loss of sleep, but nothing like the snot dripping, body racking, cry as though I've lost everything dear to me kind of sobbing of last night. Please tell me I'm not the only one who does that when they've been pushed past the point of exhaustion.

The good news is that I'm definitely maturing as a mother. With Tyler I used to cry like that weekly! (Now you know why there is a gap of almost 4 years between the two boys.)

I wonder if Ryan remembers the time just a few short months ago when he would consistently sleep from 9 pm to 5 am. That was a glorious time! I've pondered and speculated on what could have caused the serious sleep regression that he has undergone, and these are my top four theories. Feel free to cast your vote for the one you think most likely.

1. His considerate nature is keeping him up at night. His good looks, mellow personality, charming smile, kissable cheeks, and fat fat thighs make him too near perfection. Therefore, so as not to shame the other babies of the world, he has elected to be a crappy nighttime sleeper. After all, he can't do anything about all that other stuff.

2. It's my fault. I got cocky a few months ago when I boldly declared to a room full of women the morning after he slept from 9 pm to 7 am, "My baby SLEPT THROUGH THE NIGHT!" And now I am being humbled.

3. I am such an awesome mother that he can't bear to go a long time without seeing me or hearing my voice. Perhaps I'm learning that being too awesome is a curse.

4. He's a baby. It's what babies do. I can't take credit or blame for this, just like a mother of a baby who sleeps through the night at 5 days old can't take credit for that. (Though some of them definitely try to!)


My lack of sleep is definitely a problem, but even more than that are the side effects that come from getting no sleep. Nothing gets done. Dinner never gets made. Dishes pile up. The carpet hasn't been vacuumed since who knows when. I just spilled rice krispies on the counter, they'll probably be there until next week. I lay on the ground all the day long letting my body be used as a trampoline or jungle gym. I'm not shedding the baby weight like I should/could. And my brain feels as though it's been shut off. My thought processes are sluggish and connections are missed. The synapses of my brain used to fire off at a rapidity rate similar to a machine gun in the midst of a battlefield. Now it feels more akin to a lone man in a firing range with a single shot rifle.

Last night, during the 20 minutes that I was asleep, I had a dream that I had a page full of subtraction problems that I needed to solve. It was hard stuff like,
15.5
-30.2
-16.9.
But in my dream I could not figure out how to solve it. I knew I had to line up the decimal points, but I wasn't sure if I was supposed to start solving it from the right or the left. Even now I'm only 68% certain that I start at the right. But the other 42% just isn't sure.

This all may seem contradictory to the post before this one, but it's not. It's all part of the motherhood gig and I still wouldn't trade it. But someday, I would like to sleep again.

I'm not sharing this in hopes of receiving sympathy, advice, or even words of encouragement. I know all too well how quickly this stage passes and I remind myself of that nightly. What I need from you is company. Misery loves it, after all. Most of you reading this are mothers, so share with me your tales of sleep deprivation. Make me laugh--tell me something stupid you did when you were tired. If you can't do that, make me feel sorry for you--I'm tired of feeling sorry for myself. And if you can't do that then I suppose a word of encouragement wouldn't hurt. And if you can't do that, then I hope you've at least been able to find something amusing in my situation, as I have tried to do.

11 comments:

Scooby and Jon said...

Well, there were the times that I would shove a couple of couches together to provide a baby proof zone for the littles, and then I would let them go free while I slept.

Or the times that the sound of the boys crying in the middle of the night made me cry because I was so tired, which made Jon think that it might be a good idea for him to get up with the boys this time, or at least change them and bring them to me.

and I completely sympathize with the "nothing gets done" stage. I don't think I got back the energy to really clean until the boys were weaned. (which is when they finally started sleeping through the night).

and if you need somebody to come over and play with little people so you can take a nap, please call. I may even turn into the kitchen fairy (I'm good with other people's kitchens. not mine, but other people's.)
and I am 100% serious.

Jennifer said...

Boy, can I ever relate to that sluggishness that results from the lack of sleep! Though it has been a while since I've had a newborn, I still have those moments--just the other day, I got lost driving in my own neighborhood. Not good!

Mary said...

My oldest was a TERRIBLE sleeper (partly my fault, partly just him). I was so tired all of the time and got to the point where I just would bring him in to bed with us and nurse him every time he woke up (I apparently didn't learn my lesson because I did this with my last one too). Anyway, I finally had to stop doing that when one night he fell off of the bed. He was almost a year at that point and I knew that I deserved the worst mother of the year award. I mean, I knew it wasn't a good idea from the start, but when you are THAT tired you just don't think clearly and all you want to do is sleep. Anyway, after the falling incident, I put a stop to him sleeping in our bed, and put him on a program that had him sleeping through the night within a couple of nights. I know you don't want advice, but with both of my boys I used the book Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems by Richard Ferber, and it worked like a charm. With my youngest it only took one night, 20 minutes of crying, and he was sleeping completely through the night. My sister just used the same program with her one year old and had similar results.
Sorry for the unsolicited advice. I am one of those moms who hates Baby Wise and all of the people who try to tell you that it is the only way to be a good mother and have a good baby. So I don't want to be the person telling you that you must do this, because there are so many ways of doing things, and different things are right for different moms/babies. But I heart this book and just wanted to share in case you're interested! (If you do happen to get it, the chapter on sleep associations contains the method that I used).

Merrick said...

Been there...many sob fests over here. Finally at six months he began sleeping 12 hours and I haven't had a meltdown since. But you can guarantee you were not alone for those first six months...

Here's to him sleeping well again soon and you getting some sleep!

Krissy said...

Wow, I'm pretty sure you just described my life right now. Pretty sure we should just set up 3 am play dates for Ryan and Kaylin.

Tricia and Aaron said...

you and I are going to be really fun at the wedding. cancel the band, just put the two of us on stage and we'll be the entertainment. I have pretty weird dreams too. a couple nights ago i had a similar one to yours, but mine was long division instead of subtraction.
sometimes I'll find myself thinking that celeste is something like a ticking time bomb and i have to figure out what's keeping her up or make her go to sleep w/in a certain amount of time or the world will explode...and i start to get really frantic, then brutus makes a noise or something and it snaps me back into reality.
there's a term for it...wakeful dreaming or something. i probably look really hilarious at night treating the baby like a bomb...

Rachael said...

Reading your post was comforting to me! haha I know that sounds weird, but I'm in the same boat too right now. Pretty much NOTHING gets done around the house, and I feel like I just barely make it through most days. This is just a phase I know- I've done it 4 times already- it's just a challenging phase.
Adam went hunting a couple of weeks ago and left me by myself for a week! In that week all the kids managed to get the stomach flu- go figure- so to top off not getting any sleep anyway with a newborn I got to deal with 4 other kids vomiting by MYSELF. I don't know if Adam will ever live it down. But I still wouldn't change my life for anything. Just keep things in perspective.
You're awesome Lisa and you inspire me.

Chelsea Stewart said...

I remember after eight straight months of Brinnley not sleeping, I was finally so exhausted and desperate for sleep that I did the unthinkable. I put earplugs in, closed her door, closed our door, and turned on the fans in both the upstairs bathrooms (to act as further noise barrier) and slept away...I was so dang tired that I didn't even have the energy left to feel guilty about it. The next morning I sure did, however, but she was as happy and lovable as ever so it must not have been too traumatic for her (although I never could bring myself to do it again)!

After Tess was born, I did something I vowed I could never fathom doing...I left Shane and Noah sitting at preschool for over an hour! I was supposed to pick them up at 2:30, although for some reason my sleep-deprived brain told me I didn't need to be there until 3:30 (which was the pick-up time from LAST year). Me not having a cell phone made for a very interesting situation for their poor teacher, as I was at Wal-mart trying to kill time before I had to go and pick them up. Geez, I know what you mean about the dumb brain connections not firing very well anymore; sadly, my brain power has never come back since I started having chillens. I guess I'll have to join you and Krissy at the 3 am playdate and we can sit and bang our heads on the wall together!

Did you ever try that gripe water from the Krazzy Kanuck? I swear by it!

Karly said...

I have too much to say to you that I might write you an email. Just cuz I miss you and didn't get enough of hanging out on Monday.

Every Tuesday at work is staff meeting for an hour, sometimes longer. And trust me it's mostly boring. I feel like a sleepy idiot falling asleep in front of all the directors and the general manager of the resort. After 4 1/2 years there I've never seen anyone fall asleep in staff. Not one person! Now I do almost every week. I'm not talking, "yawn" I might be a little sleepy. I'm talking my head jolts back and almost knocks out the person behind me. Or I reach up to wipe the drool from my mouth. Sometimes I pinch my arm and leg over and over to help stay awake and it never works, I just get awful self-inflicted bruises.
One day the director of Finance told me to stop yawning, and I told him if he got my daughter to sleep through the night I'd stop yawning. He didn't have anything else to say to me after that.
Just saying that I'm in the same boat. And Emmy has NEVER slept through the night. Maybe I should feel lucky that she never did, and then went backwards, cuz that would stink. Now I just get excited if she goes an extra 15 minutes one night.
I also wanted to say that I think all of your theories are correct. He's so kissable I'd get up with him multiple times just to get to hold him a few minutes longer. I can't stand how cute he is!
How did I do on keeping this short? But we both knew I couldn't really ever write anything short.

Lindsey said...

My girls are now waking up again in the night one or two times due to...being sick? Maybe? Its gone on for a month maybe two? You can't go from sleeping to not! Its a rule! Ill be done now since I'm bound to become incoherent...

Dorothy said...

Chances are that his problems is that he is a baby, but is there any chance he has an ear infection? Those things can hang around forever. Plus, the pain is worse while lying down, so it could be bothering him and keeping him up a lot at night, while not being such a nuisance during the day. Just a though.