Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Ten Things I've Learned About Sleep

Sporting her new sleep sack, Shira taunts me with a little daytime sleeping.

1. Sleep is the like the best friend you took for granted, who has moved on to bigger and better friends, and now taunts you at every turn. In spite of the meanness, you desperately want to be friends again, and you'll do whatever it takes. Suddenly I'm back in seventh grade, and now I'm weeping in the corner.

2. Smug, second-time parents should take a moment before proclaiming how easy it was to get their first child to sleep through the night. They ought to realize that the second child, no matter how delicious in other regards, will certainly make it her goal to wipe said smugness from their faces. And she'll do it around three in the morning.

3. I am not above the odd temper-tantrum (don't tell Alyce) in the early hours of morning, when Shira, after two hours and twenty minutes, is still barking after you've done everything, short of handing her the moon, to get her back to sleep. Now if you'll excuse me, I have a moon delivery to make.

4. I am also not above kicking my husband under the covers when the other child is crying. The deal in our house is that the one with the boobs gets up for Shira, and the one without gets up for Alyce. It rarely works in my favour, but you can be sure that when it does, I'm not wasting one iota of potential sleep, not even for a more civilized shake of the arm. It takes too much energy, and I am well beyond civilized at this point.

5. That after the second half of my pregnancy with Shira, and the eight months since I gave birth to her (about thirteen months) of not sleeping through the night, wherein the last of two of these months 'not sleeping through the night' usually means up nursing every two hours, I am so tired that I have lost the ability to exercise an ounce patience on individuals who insist on crawling through the grocery store at the pace of a sloth. I might just lose my mind.

Even Alyce moves better than eighty percent of other shoppers. Here, she's helping me out at Trader Joe's. And yes, she's wearing a tutu.

6. I am willing to trade chocolate and kettle corn for some sleep.*

7. Did I mention that we have been sharing a room with this sleepless, barking baby for eight months? This makes letting her 'cry it out' a little tricky, since you are in bed a foot away from her. It's as though she has actually crawled into your ear and is yelling at your soul.

8. That after eight months of sharing a room with our little sleep tyrant, we are ready to pass her along to her big sister. Alyce and Shira are now roomies. We had always planned on them sharing a room (since we like the idea and because our desire for a large family is not matched by the income required for as many bedrooms), but our lack of sleep may have influenced us to move a little too quickly. If it was a challenge to let Shira cry it out in our room, it's a bit of a disaster to let her cry in a room with Alyce. Because then Alyce cries. And then I cry.

9. Even after a night filled with screaming, crying, disruptions, hurt feelings and more crying, the girls don't seem to hold even the tiniest of grudges come morning. Alyce, who was entitled to some grudge holding, was just as excited to see her baby Shira in the morning. There were smiles all around.

10. Parents do hold grudges.

*Keeping in mind that I will resume the eating of chocolate and kettle corn once sleep has been had. I'm no hero.


  1. Oh, my goodness. I'm so sorry. My second baby was just like Shira, and we were in the same situation (sharing a room.) It turned out that he started sleeping through the night when we threw up our hands in frustration and put him in his brother's room, but it sounds like that won't work for you.


  2. Oh, honey. Comraderie in sleep deprivation -- do I ever hear ya. Be strong! And remember... if you ever need a friendly ear and it's the middle of the night where you are, it's MORNING where I am! :-)

  3. Leigh Ann, thanks for the good thoughts! We'll keep trying different things, and I do believe that one day (oh please) she will sleep!

    Mammy P, I hope I won't need to reach out at 3 am my time, but chances are you'll see me around. That's why I follow you on Twitter--I can read them early morning and giggle through the tired.