Sleep. My life revolves around it. How much the kids are getting, how much I’m not getting, when they go to bed for the night, how long it took them to fall asleep, how long do they stay asleep, how do I make them sleep more, did they get enough sleep so they won’t be cranky a-holes, did I get enough sleep where I won’t be a cranky a-hole? (No, the answer is always no).
It’s not just me that’s completely obsessed with sleep. From the moment we bring that first baby home everyone always asks “How is the baby sleeping?” “How does the baby nap?” “Is the baby sleeping through the night yet?” Then there are the message boards where the topics are all about sleep – or people bragging about how their child has been walking since they left the womb. There’s always a smug b*tch that says “My baby has been sleeping through the night since 3 weeks. We have a really good bedtime routine!” That mom is THE WORST. And of course she can’t help but say that to the mom who desperately penned a post asking for sweet mercy at 3am after nursing her baby on-demand every 30 minutes and getting them to sleep 15-minute stretch if the baby lays on them while they dance a jig and have the vacuum running in the background. But yes, I am sure that a solid nighttime routine with a dramatic reading of “Goodnight Moon” and a unicorn tear massage will solve all of her sleep woes.
In case you can’t tell, I am sleep-deprived, which is the understatement of the year. It has defined me. I am the mom with the kids that sleep like total, absolute crap and no amount of concealer can erase the dark purple circles that have permanently etched themselves under my eyes. There is exhaustion, which every parent of small children suffers from. Then there is sleep-deprivation, which slowly tortures you and tries to break your spirit. No, seriously. Sleep deprivation is a form of torture – read about it here. I was saving a sleep-related post for when Olivia was sleeping through the night as a sort of celebration of what we’ve overcome, but considering she’s 9 months old and that has only happened three times (one of which I was not even in the house for) it’s time to hit publish and stop holding my breath.
It’s not for lack of trying. We have been through what feels like 10 rounds of sleep training. I’ve used my pediatrician’s office “telephone advice hours” so often that I have the doctor rotation memorized and won’t call on a specific day if I feel like that doctor will recognize my desperate, teary voice. I’ve bugged a pediatrician friend so many times that I felt compelled to send her cookies as a thank you for her pity and also for not billing me for her time. I’ve researched Baby Wise, Healthy Sleep Habits Healthy Child, and 12 Hours of Sleep by 12 Weeks – when Olivia was 26 weeks old, and had people send me their sleep-training plans from pricey sleep consultants. We’ve taken away the pacifier ; we’ve given it back and made it rain pacifiers so there is one covering every square inch of her crib. My credit card statements are littered with products I’ve ordered over the past 9 months after reading hopeful reviews from moms promising that it performed miracles for their non-sleeper. Things like:
- Zipadee Zip
- Love to Dream Swaddle Up
- Wub-a-nub pacifier
- Mommy’s Bliss Nighttime Gripe Water
- Dr. Christopher’s Kid E-Col Colic & Teething Drops
- Gerber Soothe Colic Drops
- Soothe & Glow Giraffe
- Essential Oils (yes, this is the level of my desperation)
You cannot put a price on a good night’s sleep, which is why I seriously need to invent a product that promises to get your baby to sleep and buy Facebook advertising that only runs between the hours of 1am-5am so all the desperate moms can see it and rush to buy it. With my millions I would be able to soundproof my bedroom and hire a night nanny. At this point, this seems like a much more plausible scenario than Olivia sleeping through the night.
Sweet, happy Mogwai by day, too turnt Gremlin by night – we can’t quite crack the code with our little sleep bandit. After finally getting her to sleep 6pm-4:30am straight (I’ve seen some lovely Jersey sunrises at that hour) her new thing is to wake up between 2:30-3am and SCREAM for 1-2 hours straight until she exhausts herself. Of course, because our bedrooms are clustered together no one is getting any sleep. AJR gets jacked up after hearing deafening crying for hours on end so it can take him up to an hour to go back to sleep once Olivia is asleep as he recites Paw Patrol episodes at an ungodly decibel that has you wanting to drown all those pups to end the madness. Once he’s asleep, I nab an extra 30-60 minutes before Olivia is up for the day and we hang in the basement until non-paid programming is finally over and something normal comes on TV.
I never drank coffee before Olivia. But back when things were worse than what they are now (oh, yes my friend, they can be worse. Like up every 30-45 minutes worse from the hours of 12a-5am worse) teaching myself to like coffee became essential to my survival. I lovingly refer to it now as “bitch be gone” and once that sweet juice hits my bloodstream I’m bopping around the kitchen dicing up strawberries and singing nursery rhymes in a silly operatic voice that puts Mary Poppins to shame. Two hours later and it wears off pretty quickly and I’m more like Roseanne wondering if it’s okay to put everyone down for the night at 10am and refill my coffee cup with wine.
Most parents experience a sweet sigh of relief once the kids are all asleep for the evening because they know that their kids will actually stay asleep and they can binge watch Orange is the New Black. Not me. I know it’s only a temporary reprieve at most before the sleep terrorists begin their tag-team assault to drive me slowly into madness. I silently curse myself at 3am wondering why I had to stay up and see which house that annoying couple in Birmingham chose as if it has any impact on my life whatsoever. I not-so-silently curse my children for robbing us of the sleep that my husband and I so dearly need as we lay next to each other listening to their dueling swan song of “WAAAAHHH” and “We’re on a roll!”
I am sure that eventually Olivia will start sleeping through the night and many years from now I will be experiencing sleepless nights for an entirely different reason. In the meantime, I’m milking this as an excuse for why the house is a mess, dinner is usually takeout, and cookies disappear at an alarming rate.
Oh, and you may notice that I made ZERO mention of naps and the struggle that comes with that. You know why? Because F naps. That’s why. Now who wants to take my kids for an overnight?