Posts Tagged: sleep


16
Aug 12

Jinxed

Remind me to never, ever brag again about my relaxed and “easy” baby. Because wouldn’t you know it? As soon as I hit publish on that post my baby freaks out and cries and cries and cries and there isn’t a thing on earth that helps. And now I am so exhausted that I don’t know what to do with myself. One day at a time, but I’m still reeling from last night’s cry fest.

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21
Jun 11

Flow

This morning I am bleary-eyed and headachy. I want nothing more than to crawl back between my covers for some more sleep. But lack of sleep was so worth it last night, as I sat at my computer and typed out 5,000+ words. It was midnight, 1 am, 2 am, 3 am and the time passed like minutes instead of the hours it really was.

Flow.

Those are the times of being truly alive. I feel passion in what I write. I am pumping out a shitty first draft (thank you, Anne Lamott, for putting words to what I know I need to do or else I am paralyzed by the impossible quest for perfection in writing it all down). It is self-indulgent and I wrote it when weepy and alone in a silent house in the middle of the night, but it was also cathartic and powerful. I realized last night, that as much as I blogged about so much over these last few years, I was holding something back, and now I could truly let it be. It won’t be the thing to be read by anything more than a handful of people, but in simply acknowledging it, I felt a release.

So today when I feel like hiding out or doing some lazy parenting or feeling angry about being so tired, I’ll remember this: that sometimes staying up all night is the cure that is needed for the disease that you didn’t even know you had.

It can burn me from the inside out, slowly but surely, just like something eating me alive and making it difficult to breathe. It is me, coming out from me, from silence to voice, from a whisper to a yell, from a cry to a song. Vulnerable to strong. Embracing it all.


17
Nov 10

The Fear

I awoke to Anna’s cough last night, around 2 in the morning. This is not unusual (she is prone to nighttime coughing). But her cough got quieter, and then turned into crying, gasping. I ran to her. She was out of bed, complaining that her stomach hurt. “Do you feel like you are going to be sick?” I asked.

“No!” she cried pathetically, “it (gasp) just hurts (gasp) because of my coughing!”

These nighttime asthma episodes are one of my biggest fears. To see her struggling to breathe, unable to take a full breath, gasping and coughing in an attempt to get air into her lungs…..oh, it scares me so much.

I tend to get the paralyzed type of fear (as opposed to the mobilizing type). I blunder around calling out loudly to Adam what he can clearly hear Anna saying: “Hon! She can’t breathe! She says her stomach hurts from coughing!”

Adam sits up in bed, calmly says,”Give her her inhaler” (to me) and “Come here, Bird, it will be ok” (to her).

And she had to take four puffs of Albuterol, but after the fourth she started to calm and quiet. She and I snuggled on the rocking chair in my room, something we rarely do now. I sang a lullaby and listened to her struggled breath turn into a quiet wheeze, turn into an even quieter and calmed breath. Finally, she whispered, “Mama? I’m tired. I want to go back to my own bed.”

And just like that, the storm was calmed and it was just another night in which we parents did the thing that parents do: soothing all manner of upsets, complaints, and genuinely scary things, even in the middle of the night—ESPECIALLY in the middle of the night. That is simply what we do. Even when the fear grips our own hearts. Even when we don’t know what to do at first.

That’s our job, our gift to our child whom we love, to stumble around in the night and take care, take away the fear, make everything all right.


14
Nov 10

The sleep gods are laughing at me

Don’t I remember anything? Don’t I recall that one of the cardinal rules of parenting is to Never, Ever, Not Ever Ever Ever, boast about your child’s sleep. Because then it will immediately devolve into something only slightly resembling sleep. Because all of a sudden there are awakenings peppered throughout the night, harshly timed to coincide with your, the hard-working parent’s, most sound part of slumber, so that you will awaken to the Need Bathroom Help/Nightmare/I’m Cold/Asthma Coughing/Random Screaming with your face glued to the pillow with drool, realizing, with a start, that you were actually dreaming about sleeping. Because then you will wake in the morning, way too early, because the child will be hungry–oh so hungry–and demanding to eat Right Now even though it is a time previously thought of us “the middle of the night.”

So. Ahem. My child is NOT sleeping through the night, not since that post. My child is waking up and needing help and I love her but I would rather love her during daylight hours, with a full night’s sleep under my belt. Do you hear that, sleep gods? I rescind my boast. I admit my sin of pride. I take it back. Now, please? Can I please catch a little sleep sometime soon? Please?


11
Nov 10

Sleep

Have I written, lately, about how awesome it is to get a good night’s sleep? No? Well, it is. I have to admit that I am totally 100% LOVING having a child who sleeps through the night, ALL night, almost every night (she often wakes to pee but rarely needs help with that). Last night Anna went peacefully to sleep at 7:30 pm and awoke at 7:30 am. I didn’t hear a peep out of her all night, which means that I slept peacefully all night as well (10 pm until 7:30 am).

I knew, theoretically, when Anna was younger that children could do such a thing, but it didn’t really seem possible, not really. Sleep? That was a far-off memory.

Sleep is back. And sleep is good.


26
Jul 10

Ms. Bossy Pants delivers her parenting advice

Anna takes her job as the most responsible person (her perception) in the house extremely seriously. Just now, Adam and I are sitting here on the couch in the living room talking in low murmurs as Anna plays (grrr, should be sleeping) in her room. She calls out, just a moment ago:

“Mom?”

“What?”

“You should go to sleep because you are going to be a little bit tired in the morning if you don’t get some sleep now. You should go to bed now. I’m in bed!”

“Thanks. I appreciate your concern.”

“Yes, because tomorrow is Daddy’s birthday–it’s a big day–and you don’t want to be a little bit tired so you should go to bed. Why aren’t you and Daddy in your bed?’

“Good night, Anna.”

“Why not?”

“Because we are grown ups and you are a kid and kids need more sleep than grown ups. Plus, it isn’t your job to have to be in charge of me. You don’t have to worry about me and my sleep, just worry about yourself and go to sleep.”

“Ok. Good night, Mom and Dad.”

(both of us, slightly exasperated and definitely weary): “Good Night, Anna.”


31
May 10

Zombie

That’s what I feel like today, totally night of the living dead. I was all set to have this beautiful, glorious night of sleep and then, well, that’s when the screaming began.

Problem is, if it’s not one thing it’s another. It might be that her Pullup is suddenly painfully uncomfortable (though dry), or that she wants to wear a particular outfit in the morning (OK, who cares, yes, you can do that!), or that (most often) her covers aren’t perfect anymore and she wants them pulled up and tucked in just right. Which Daddy cannot do, by the way, only Mommy. Except Mommy has been on a binge of re-covering these last few nights. Like, every 1-2 hours ALL NIGHT LONG. Which just doesn’t seem right. And I’m exhausted.

Adam tried to run interference for me last night, resulting in approximately two hours of screaming. She was so tired she would fall asleep for a few seconds, but then awaken with a start, remember the indignities falling upon her, and scream some more. Scream Scream Scream.

Yawn. I’m tired.

Gems from last night (trying to keep my sense of humor here):

  • “I am NOT tired!!!!!” (as she yawns and her eyelids close)
  • “Daddy is not my favorite! He can’t do anything right!” (this one is sadly hilarious. It makes me laugh because I know it isn’t true; she adores him!)
  • “This Pullup is wet! Wet wet wet” (No. No, it’s dry dry dry and we’ve gone through 6 in one night).
  • (And then, when I attempt to give her a new, like totally new and right out of the packaging Pullup in order to try and get some peace because it is 1:45 am and GAH I’m TIRED!) “I don’t like this one! I’m going to make it wet! (And she does, by wiping her face, all snotty and teary, all over it). Hmm.
  • Lucky hates it when Anna gets like this. She actively tries to leave the scene, wherever in the house it is taking place. Problem is, last night the screaming took place all over the house, so we could frequently see and hear her clomp, clomp, clomping (she’s Big and her paws make noise on the hardwood) from room to room to room, looking for respite. Our house is too little for her to find it, sadly.

So, the hours between 11 and 1 were not my most favorite hours of the night. Neither was 7 am this morning, either, when Anna screamed that she wanted breakfast. Now. No! NOOOOOWWWW! Sigh. Fingers crossed tonight will be better.


20
Jan 10

productive, manic, or OCD?

Last night, at 2:30 am, Anna woke us up with a request to get re-covered with her blankets (not an uncommon request around here; our attempts to get her to do it herself have been largely unsuccessful), so I trudged wearily into her room, tired because (a) it is 2:30 am, a time that most of the world, myself included, think of as “the middle of the night” and (b) because I had stayed up too late reading this book (a fascinating read).

I tugged the covers up to her chin, started turning on my heel to trudge back to my own warm bed, under my own warm covers, when….it hit me. The smell. Oh no. I stuck my nose closer, sniffed. Stuck my hand under the covers to verify what I knew to be true. Urine. Damn.

“Umm, sweetie?”

“ungh!”

“Anna, sweetie…you need to get up. You peed in your bed.”

“No I DIDN’T!” she indignantly replied and tried to roll over, away from me as I moved to uncover her.

“NO! LEAVE COVERS ON! NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!”

This is the point where Adam wakes up and yells, “What’s going on in there?”

“She peed,” I said, “but she doesn’t want me to change her or the bed.”

“(@*%^#*@&*! Listen to Mommy, Anna!” (edited for language).

And suddenly, the child who, just moments earlier, had been prepared to drift back into guileless sleep became a lean, mean, kicking and screaming machine.

“oof! Yowch! You. Have. To. Change. Your. PJs. I. Have. To. Change. Your. Sheets. No. Choice. MUST DO.”

“NOOO! I NO WANT TO DO THAT!” (as I strip her sopping wet pajamas and undies off of her flailing, writhing body)

“I WEAR MY PEE PEE UNDERPANTS! DON’T TAKE MY FAIRY PAJAMAS! I SLEEP IN PEE PEE PAJAMAS! GIVE THEM BACK!!!!”

Adam, true to his ability to remain completely comatose and non-functioning when tired, remains in bed and periodically shouts out commands (“Stop screaming,” “Change your clothes,”) and, when that fails, finally gets out of bed and attempts to persuade us both towards the lazy route: “Let’s just all go back to sleep in Mommy and Daddy’s bed and deal with all of this” –arms sweeping to take in the pile of wrinkled and disheveled sheets, blankets, pajamas– “in the morning, okay?” Ever hopeful, he offers Anna an encouraging smile. “Okay, Bird?”

“NOOO! I NO WANT TO SLEEP IN YOUR BED! I SLEEP IN MY BED WITH MY PINK SHEETS!” (Unfortunately, the “back up” pink sheets are in the washing machine–my bad–and the back up to the back up, a white sheet, is deemed completely unacceptable). In protest, Anna urinates, in dribbles, all over herself, a large section of her rug, and in a trail towards the bathroom. No urine actually makes it into the toilet. Not even a drop. It is like the pee gods are laughing at us right now. It feels like a calamity of Titanic proportions. Now I am really awake. I go into crisis mode and start ordering people around. Surprisingly, it (sort of) works.

“Anna. Take this washcloth and wipe yourself off. There are no more pink sheets right now so you are going to sleep on white sheets.”

“Adam. Get me some towels so that I can wipe up the floor. Help me strip the bed and make it up again.”

Finally, after what feels like an hour, but in actuality is probably closer to 15 minutes, we have cleaned floors and carpet, clean sheets and blanket on bed, cleaned child and clean underpants and pajamas. Everyone is tucked in, dry and warm and quiet. Anna (briefly and with minimal protest) asks for a book to be read to her (ha!) and is rebuffed. It is now almost 3 o’clock in the morning.

Lucky scratches to be let out; we exchange a glance, a look of understanding, both battle worn and weary (Lucky doesn’t like the screaming anymore than we do). I duck into the garage, start a load of laundry. It is immensely dark and dreary outside.

As I re-enter the house, I am aware of the sound of sleeping. Light snoring, intense quiet. I try for the same for myself but toss and toss and turn and turn, eventually resorting to a book and then, when that fails me, a snack. And then the internet, where I look at recipes, check in with Facebook, fire up my blogging program and then, empty of words, close it down again.

Eventually, at 6:45, I slip on my rain boots, murmur quietly to Adam that I will return shortly, and drive out, streets quiet and wet, to Lazy Acres, where I buy eggs and cream and bananas. I love the grocery store at 7 in the morning. So still and mellow.

Today I am in that weird space I get into when I’ve gotten little to no sleep. Contrary to what one might expect, lack of sleep doesn’t turn me slow as molasses, unable to function. On the contrary, my mind races. I plan and I execute those plans. Today I made chocolate mousse, two pans of lasagna (to freeze for later), a sheet pan of dinner rolls (all of this before 10 am).

The mind racing isn’t all pleasant. I find my brain wandering, time and again, to those thoughts that consume me in my dark times of anxiety (I think of it as a “flare up” of my mostly-under-control OCD–the therapy I underwent years ago helps prevent most full-fledged attacks but it comes back every once in a while). I imagine things, terrible and gruesome and scary things, over and over and over again and then…shake it out. I have to shake it out. Think of something else. Something else. Anything else. Do something. Do Something. DO SOMETHING. That is why I DO, when I’m tired and anxious and overwhelmed. Because if I’m not doing, I’m just sitting there, thinking, thinking those bad thoughts. I’d rather be doing.

And all because one small child wanted to be tucked back under her covers? No, it’s not her fault, I decide. If it wasn’t that, it would have been when I woke to pee, or Adam shifting in bed, or the dog’s loud snoring that woke me and drove me into these thoughts. It could have been anything.

Bottom line: tonight I have to sleep. Sleep is a must.


28
Aug 09

Nap

One moment she’s screaming, “I no sleep! I no take a nap!”

I ignore it. It’s not a surprise. She hardly ever naps nowadays. (But we have an agreement, her and I, called mid-afternoon rest time. We both need some downtime).

The next moment: silence. Blessed silence. I go and check and find this:

Asleep. On the floor. (Don’t worry, she’s still breathing). Silly girl.


8
Sep 08

Good night with Anna


We decided to take a stab at normalcy last night, for Anna’s sake, so Anna stayed here at home with Adam and I last night. We had a whole plan set up for the inevitable (or so we thought…..hello, foreshadowing?) wake up in the middle of the night. After all, it has been months and months since we remember Anna sleeping through the night. In fact, our usual thing, for these past several months, has been to put Anna down in her crib, then bring her to bed with us when she wakes up (usually anywhere from midnight to 3 am). Because I felt like I really need my sleep and because I am terrified of Anna accidentally touching my neck sutures, we had a whole backup plan, complete with brand new Aero mattress on the floor of Anna’s room: when Anna woke up, we planned, Adam would go into her room and sleep with her on the air mattress there.

Only…..she slept…ALL. NIGHT. LONG. (Yay!) 9 pm until 8:30 am. It’s like a miracle. Apparently the sleep fairy, after an all-too-long hiatus, has decided to grace our house again.

Thank goodness. And, you know, it was SO great to have this small bit of “normal” here, to have Anna back at home, right with us, to put her to bed, to get her up in the morning. Anna is definitely going through her own process of trying to figure things out. She freaks out a little bit with any suggestion of “bye bye” because she automatically thinks that that means she is going to have to leave us, or that we will leave her and she does not want any part of leaving Mama right now, thankyouverymuch. It was frustrating but fascinating yesterday morning to watch her enact a huge, multi-stage, lengthy temper tantrum. I think that she really needed to just let all of her conflicting, confused emotions play out for a while. After a lot of rolling around on the floor, kicking of her heels, and screaming and crying, she seemed to emerge from the tantrum, a bit more level-headed, a bit more ready to face what comes next. I know that she craves a return to the “normal/usual,” but I’m hoping that she will be able to adjust to the new normal/usual, whatever that will look like.

Just waiting to hear word about our appointment today. Nothing is scheduled, but we’re supposed to meet “sometime this afternoon.”

I hate the waiting.

Anna’s cold is much better; she only has a bit of a snotty nose and some minor wheezing and coughing now. I think she’s on the mend.

Adam worked on my blog last night to make comments happen….just click on the word “comment” on the bottom of this (and any future posts–and yesterday and the day before have them, too, I think?).

Thanks for all your love and prayers. We’ll definitely let everyone know as soon as we get back from the appointment with diagnosis and treatment plan. Love you all.