Posted by: emjb | April 2, 2006

The inevitable sleep discussion

Every blog that involves baby-raising must have a sleep-related post. And if it’s a better read blog than mine, it will even have flame wars. Thankfully, my obscurity means I get more spam than flaming.

But as I was saying: sleep. I sure do miss it.

I have given up on ever Not Being Tired for the immediate future, like say, the next year. It’s like having mono, this feeling. I’m always operating at sub-usual energy levels. I actually slept in today, and it didn’t make much of a dent. Every parenting book I can remember reading says that this is normal, although I tend to question whether the way we structure work and home life now makes it much harder than it has to be. But since it’s supposed to be normal, I can’t complain, except here on the internets, because if you complain to most more experienced parents about not getting enough sleep, they inevitably say “Yep, I didn’t sleep for six years when little Cletus was born!” and thus cut off your whining at the knees. Because this is Just How It’s Supposed to Be. Or something.

Or they tell you “Hey, let ’em cry!” which also seems a little wacky, considering the amount my kid eats at night. He’s hungry, obviously, and he does eat a lot during the day, too. So should I just let him go hungry? And then, we share a house with my mom, so it’s not just us to listen to the wailing, it’s us and her and her husband. Nathan’s only four and a half months now, so his waking every 3 hours isn’t unusual. Just kicking our asses.

And he’s not really a screamer when he does wake, just a grunter and moaner. He doesn’t even seem to want to wake up, because he hardly opens his eyes, just flails around (being too big to swaddle) and whimpers and grunts until you feed him. You get the feeling he’d rather stay asleep too. I wish I could help him with that. But the way he empties bottles, he seems genuinely hungry, and he won’t take a pacifier. He’s not quite old enough for a lovey to snuggle, mostly he just stuffs blankets or toys into his mouth and makes muffled grunting wheezes.

He’s not one of those babies that has a hard time getting to sleep, most of the time. A little rocking, a warm bottle, he’s out. Or even some days when he’s not quite out, you can just put him in the crib and he will get himself to sleep. But only once or twice in his whole life has he slept more than 3 hours at a stretch. And my face shows it.

Most days I wake up sore, like I’ve been hiking, only without the healthful benefits and fresh air. My caffeine habit is alarming, and yet I would not dare make the drive to work without some. Matt is doing his part, by the way; it’s not that I’m going it alone. But two people without enough sleep isn’t any better than one person without enough sleep.

And I miss the rest of my life, the non baby-minding part where I read books and planned weekends without having to schedule sleep makeup time. I miss being sharp, not having this fuzzy curtain over everything.

It won’t last forever, but when you just want to sleep again, even waiting one more day might as well be forever.

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