Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Sleep, anyone?

I'm craving a good night's sleep like nobody's business. I'm so done with feeling tired all day long, of wanting to curl up in a ball on the playroom floor while the boys play around me. Yes, this is whiney. Sorry. But I have 8 1/2 long months of sleep deprivation, culminating in the last few weeks which have been rotten.

With both boys sick for over two weeks straight (not to mention myself and my husband), sleep has been in short order, at least for me. I find it ironic (although lucky) that whatever virus ripped through our household, I got the mildest dose of it and fought it off the quickest. Considering the amount of sleep I get on a regular basis, and how much less I've been getting since everyone got sick, I'm surprised I got better at all. Glad, just surprised.

In any case, neither of my boys have been sleeping well. D has always been very sensitive to his sleep schedule being messed up, especially over longer periods of time. He's more flexible now that he's a little older, but we still have to be careful. I wish I could figure out why, and what to do about it, but lately he's taken to waking up at night several times a week at least. He used to NEVER do that. I think I said that to people one too many times and now he's making me eat my words. Last night he woke up several times prior to midnight; I don't think he slept more than an hour total from bedtime until about then. Today he looked like a drug addict coming off a four day drug binge. Ok, maybe that's a little dramatic, but he had these sad little red circles under his eyes. I felt awful for him. His behavior was atrocious, but it wasn't bratty, tantrumy stuff; he was just damn tired. It was one of those days when I really hate that he doesn't nap anymore; a good two hour snooze this afternoon would have done him a world of good. I laid down with him for a while during G's nap, but there was no way it was happening. Twenty seconds after my head hit his pillow, I was drifting off, but he kept asking me if it was morning or time to get up. Eventually I gave up and reconciled myself to our normal quiet time.

G's sleep has been similarly atrocious, only more detrimental to me, since my husband is in charge of D when he wakes up at night (although I still wake up, since somehow my husband is deaf when he sleeps and doesn't hear anything over either baby monitor). It culminated in horribleness when I spent several nights holding him in the rocking chair for most of the night. I even resorted to throwing an air mattress on his floor and laid down with him there in a somewhat desperate attempt to get some sleep myself. You gotta do what you gotta do when they're sick.

Now, he's not sick. He's all better, has been for a few days, and it's time to get this sleep thing back under control. And in my house, that does mean some crying.

I hate talking about "CIO". I hate that it can be such a divisive issue amongst moms; that there's this judgemental aspect to it, like if you aren't in my camp, you must think I'm awful. The way I see it, we all do what we think is best not only for our child, but for our whole family. There are other ways of handling sleep problems, and for some people, those work great. In my house, the dreaded CIO technique is what we use, and it's always worked well.

I say dreaded, because I do dread it. I hate every second of crying that both of my boys have done in the name of a better night sleep. D was worse than G has been; he's got a stubborn streak that blows me away, so looking back I shouldn't be surprised he would be tough to "sleep train." G is more mellow, but there has still been some crying on occassion when we've deemed it necessary.

The last couple of days it has been necessary. The night I spent trying to sleep in G's room on an air mattress made one thing abundantly clear - I wasn't doing either of us any favors by holding him all night. He didn't sleep much better in my arms than he had been in his crib and he was miserable for lack of sleep.

So what does this have to do with me being tired? It just seems that there's always something preventing me from getting a halfway decent night sleep. Last night and tonight I attempted to go to bed early, only to have G wake up after only a few hours. My husband and I decided to go the CIO route, so I have to wait for him to fall asleep again before going to bed myself. So much for going to bed early. And last night, despite crying for a while and going back to sleep, he still was up several times.

I'm not asking for him to sleep 12 hours without needing to nurse. Yes, that's the goal and I hope I'm not more than a few months away from that. But he's going on 9 months old, so it seems like he should be able to sleep, I don't know, 6 or more hours without waking? Looking back 6 months ago, when he was between 2-3 months old, he started sleeping anywhere from 7-9 hours for his first stretch. Somehow over time that has turned into 4 hours, if I'm lucky.

Here I am, sitting up and hoping he's gone back to sleep (I think so). But I also don't know what the rest of the night will bring. For all I know, he'll be awake again in an hour. Or he might actually fulfill my current wild fantasy and sleep until one or two.

It just seems that there's always something. Either G wakes up too many times a night, or wakes super early and it takes forever to get him back to sleep. Or, my favorite, I get G back down in the early morning hours only to come out of his room and hear D awake, whining for me to come get him. So often I'm awake at 5 or earlier and never get the chance to go back to sleep.

I know, I know - life with a baby. It won't last forever; hopefully it won't last too much longer. Men fantasize about sex; I fantasize about sleep.

Speaking of, all seems quiet, so I'm going to attempt to get some.

1 comment:

Sleep? What the hell is that? said...

Sleep is the new sex. No truer words were ever spoken.

Except maybe these:

It's going to get better. You will hit the day when you realize "wow, he's been sleeping great for a WHILE now..." as you try to think about how long it's been.

YOu'll reach the point when this seems like a memory, when you look back and think "that was hard, but it was a phase..."

And, probably about that time you'll start thinking about getting pregnant again. ;)

Hang in there sweetie. I know this is really hard. If there's something you can do to get more relief, do it - whether it's enlisting the help of SIL, hubby, friend or whomever to help a bit wtih D so you can nap when and if G does.

If you have any friends with responsible (think big sister) teenage daughters, they can be invaluable sometimes and they work for cheap (or sometimes need volunteer hours for NHS) and might do well playing with D for a few hours so you can get a sanity break.

I'm thinking of you.