so the other day I made the ghastly mistake of celebrating Stella finally sleeping thru the night (at the crazy age of 2.5 years). and guess what. she stopped. the last two nights have been insanely bad. like, I’ve debated picking up my blankets and sleeping in the yard kinda bad. She’s been up 3-4 times, lots of screaming, which wakes up Jack. and then suddenly Lincoln’s up, standing in the hall and saying, “I”m hungry. my legs hurt. I’m not tired anymore” or any other crazy statement that never makes sense at 1am. all the ups and downs of sleep has convinced me of two things:
1) the sleep stuff never ends. it just doesn’t. it might go on good stretches, but it’s never over. they will always need something. just when they start to sleep (ie, teenage years) you will start to lose it because, well, where the hell are they?!
2) parenting is a 24 hr job. period. there’s no getting around it. there’s no clocking out. when Thing 1 craps in the corner of his room at 3am and then puts the same dirty underwear back on, yeah, you can’t really sleep through THAT. there’s no crying it out to chaos. it won’t end. as matt so perfectly said last night, “he won’t be happy until everyone else is up” misery loves company, and this house, at night, is MISERABLE. “all of us together!” as Lincoln likes to say so often.
lack of sleep is a crazy demon though. it makes my eye twitch. it gives me ulcers. it makes me confuse my mascara wand with my toothbrush (yeah, it was as bad as you can imagine). it makes me slam cupboards at 5:43am. it makes me yell at the cat (who gets all to much sleep if you ask me).
I remember being pregnant with Lincoln and reading the book “Marley and Me”, and reading the author’s descriptions of the ‘sleepless’ years. and being totally petrified. It was just a small paragraph, subtly hinting to never sleeping and living on coffee and understanding bosses. I couldn’t imagine how people stayed up all night and then functioned the next day. I couldn’t fathom a lifestyle like that. I remember telling myself, “It’s not as bad as people make it out to be”. ahhh. the sweet little lie that enables us to do the hard things in life. maybe it’s not so bad for everyone, but it is for us. (of course we created our own issues by creating Baby Bootcamp, aka three kids in less than three years). we don’t sleep. Matt sleeps in his car during his lunch hour. his area manager thought he was joking.
on an average night I sleep from 10-12ish (not counting the 45 min I usually get on the couch, where I fall asleep sitting up, head on my hand), Jack wakes up and I attempt to not nurse him. then Stella joins the party right as he goes to sleep, prompting another Jack wake up, prompting another round of non nursing screaming. which in turn wakes Lincoln up (Stella at this point is passed out and snoring, successfully having riled up the whole house) Lincoln then usually wakes Stella back up, and so on and so on. until 3am becomes 4am and I log in another 1.5 or so of sleep and suddenly Jack is trying to get up for the day. it’s a special circle of hell. other than moving to a large house with padded rooms or giving away a child or two-I see no solution. except time. this too shall pass mantra, as annoying as that always is to me.
as bad as it is, one thing always comes to mind though. I’m making it through. I could comisserate with the Marley and Me author. I could laugh about it over lattes. I manage to make it to work. to run a store. to continue to have babies. to function on a daily basis (even though I use my mascara wand as a tooth brush). this too shall pass. someday it will be nothing but a meager paragraph in a chapter of our life.
but damn am I tired.