Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The reports of my sleep are greatly exaggerated

A few days ago I wrote a blog rejoicing that the baby seemed to have made it past this phase of 3 hour wake ups and was back to sleeping regularly. Although the few weeks of waking up every 3 hours (sometimes every 1.5 hours) had been hellish and had driven me to the edge of sanity – thank goodness they were finally over. … Yup, thank goodness. I mean, one couldn’t take much more of that. One would stomp around the house annoyed and easily set off. Any little stress would drive one over the edge. One might pick fights. One would have no patience. In short - One would become a royal BITCH.

But thank goodness we dodged that bullet. Yup, thank goodness.

Except we effing didn’t! Turns out the 8 hour stretch a couple of weeks ago was the anomaly and baby is NOT sleeping more than 3 hours in a row. Yes, yes, she’s still adorable when she wakes up (blah, blah, blah, plot point) – stamping her little feet against the mattress or crib walls and smiling up at me in her coy little way as if to say – ‘why, Mom! What are you doing here? So nice to see you! Yes, I will have a little snack since you are offering – thanks so much.’

You know when she was sleeping long stretches in less than a month I knew it was too good to be true. I knew we’d be in trouble later. I figured we should save up on sleep now because she’d keep us up for the entirety of her teenage ‘experience.’ Or that her terrible twos would be just awful. But I didn’t figure she’d have us up again so often so soon – I figured we had this sleep thing down! Hmm… or maybe I should rephrase… I didn’t figure she’d have ME up so often again so soon – it’s back to my tomb of the unknown soldier watch. (To explain – my husband had told me a story several months ago about a guy he knew who was retired military. This guy had, for a time, stood guard at the tomb of the unknown soldier. I always assumed that was an honor guard – that a guard was posted 24 hours a day, 7 days a week out of respect for all those who died. If I really thought about it, I might have said it was to make sure that someone was remembering the dead at all times so that they are never forgotten even for a moment. But apparently, there is a second significance, I was never aware of. That guard is always posted so that no one ever stands guard alone in the world. If you are a lone soldier in Iraq or Afghanistan or some other lonely outpost with no one around you and you have the graveyard shift by yourself standing guard, you are never truly alone as you always know that there is at least one other soldier standing guard right now at the tomb of the unknown soldier. So in those first few weeks, when she’d be up all night and I’d be dead on my feet / at my wits end and her dad was either asleep on the floor, or, after he’d gone back to work and was also dead on his feet, possibly asleep in bed, I’d say that my 2-6 am shift with her was done with the guard at the tomb of the unknown soldier. (Please note to anyone who is military – I mean NO disrespect in this at all! I’m not trying to minimize what you do and honestly know that staying up with a baby is not comparable – esp. to so many people who have to leave their babies at home. What I’m trying to say is that those witching hours alone and sleep deprived and just trying to keep my eyes open so I don’t drop her and can meet her needs could be very lonely and hard, so I was picturing the person doing them along with me. Also, this imagery created some degree of guilt for my husband and when I was working on a couple of hours of sleep and felt like a zombie, that seemed about fair!))

Anyway, I know we’re probably still doing reasonably well compared to some parents in that she does pretty much fall right back asleep after feeding her for 10 minutes, so it’s not like these interruptions steal SO much sleep. But now that I’m back at work, they do make for some LONG days to follow. I mean, I appreciated that she slept while I was home, but really I think it might have been better if she was up a little more then and slept during the night when I have to get up in the morning.

9 am and all is not so well today…

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