Third night, fourth night. I really don't know anymore. I've lost count. All I know is that my sanity has left the building. I'm exhausted and angry. I'm tired of spending my nights here with you on our couch. I'm supposed to be in my bed and you in yours. But you seem to have another agenda. One of which I have yet to become aware. These last few nights have been worse than other nights previously and we're only 4 weeks in. The thought of you teething, another growth spurt, the 4 month sleep regression all scare me. I'm barely holding on now. Your need to sleep in such a way, that only God himself is capable of getting correct, has left me in tears.
My question is why? Why does something that is so natural, so needed by all so difficult for you to accomplish? Sleep my dear, is a beautiful, BEAUTIFUL thing! It allows us to be at our best. It gives us the energy to be fully present. It gives us the opportunity to try again to get ish right when we open our eyes. Sleep is your precursor to a do over. Something I valued so little as a child but cherish as an adult is being taken away from me nightly. As the sun begins to set and darkness falls, an anxiety that I never knew before begins to take hold as I dread the thought of putting you to bed. My thoughts are of how many attempts will it take to lay you down for each round of sleep you're willing to give? How many times will I have to repeat the process of boob in mouth, you fall asleep, I hold you for no set amount of minutes to ensure you're in what think is a deep enough sleep, then I attempt to lay you down gingerly, side only because the back is an instant wake up call before it actually sticks? Then in response if I do happen to win this so called exchange between us, you so “kindly” bless me with an hour or so of sleep which technically I get less than that because I've spent about 10 of that time making sure you were truly asleep. But what has been the pattern is the first go round which is early and still leaves me time to do things I wouldn't be able to get done for myself any other time, you usually cooperate. Somewhere between 830 and 930, all the stars align and you will sleep for two to two and half hours. Woohoo! But after that all bets are off. And soon I find myself on the couch, you in my arms, and still only an hour of sleep at a time but without our all the pomp and circumstance. Listen I know it may not be the safest according to experts but it's how I'm surviving these days. I'm just doing a very poor job of it.
Fast forward a few months and we’re still in the same boat. Sort of. Instead of cradling you on the couch, I’m uncomfortably sleeping next to you in the bed at some point during the night, EVERY night. Listen, I don't expect you to sleep through the night. You're still new here. Nor do I mind our nighttime cuddles. I just still would prefer to navigate my bed freely while asleep for about 3-4 hours at a time. Lying on my side with one arm awkwardly under a decorative pillow and my legs just so as to not cause my hips to hurt (they still do) is not how I envisioned getting a couple of hours of sleep if at all (you like to party at 5 am and sometimes 2). I've longed stopped keeping track of when you wake up because honestly most nights I don't want to be visually reminded how little sleep I've gotten in between your wakings (is that even a word?). To make matters worst you had me fooled that you were actually heading towards a sleep filled bliss every night when you gave me 4-5 hour stretches for the first part of night followed by 3-4 hours each after waking for two weeks straights. But alas, you had me fooled. My spirit crushed, we settled back into the old routine and I'm beginning to crack at the seams. Let’s not even get started on the fact you like your milk fresh, straight from the source. How dare we have the audacity to present you with an alternative method of being fed so daddy can help out, bond with you and give mommy a break. But you clearly thought the idea was ludicrous and promptly refused with a large shrill cry, just in case we weren't clear on your response.
While I manage to look past the tiredness when I stare into your tiny, chubby cheeked face, I've found myself yelling more and more at your big brother for the smallest of things.
I frequently banish him to his room and am very short with him while having the basic conversations. I'm a real “winner” in the mom department right now. But even when I go to him, apologize and he wholeheartedly tells me it's okay mommy, then hugs me while telling me he loves me, I feel even worse. He doesn't deserve any of it. Sure he can be a little bit of a jerk sometimes but that doesn't excuse my response to his behavior. And to think that when he was a baby, I thought I knew struggle during those first few months of parenthood. Ha!! He clearly was the warm up baby.
Deep down I know this is only temporary. It really is. But what is temporary? 6 months old? A year old (sweet baby Jesus no. Just no.)? How long? Physically, I can’t keep this up. My eyes are barely remaining open by the time my husband arrives home from work. Mentally and emotionally? The time is even shorter. I can’t continue to be the bitchy mom to my kid. He deserves so much more than that. He NEEDS way more than that.
When you’re knee deep in it, it seems to be never ending. But I’m striving to work my way through it. You find activities for the boy and make errands a regular occurrence even going as far to spread them out over several days to help pass the time until your other half comes home. You step away, breathe, sigh the deepest of sighs and answer the 900th question from the 5 year old. You chop some vegetables together while little sister takes a nap and praying she gives you more time after she surpasses her usual 30-40 minutes mark. As you count the minutes throughout the day until your other half comes home from work, a sense of relief washes over you, even if it’s short lived because you still have to make it through the night. You dread it. You fear it. You loathe it because you know tonight probably won’t be the night she doesn’t wake up at least 4 times before a new day begins. But you do it. You do it every day because you have to. Because I heard somewhere that’s what adulting is supposed to look like.