Tired oh tired, yes so very very tired

by DaniGirl on August 24, 2005 · 15 comments

in Uncategorized

(stretches, rubs eyes, peers blearily at the screen)

Oh god, I am so very tired. I thought the days of sleep deprivation were mercifully behind us, but I fear not. I’ve been up since precicely 4:15 am. I know it is 4:15 because Simon has an atomic clock stashed under his crib somewhere and wakes up at EXACTLY the same time for days on end. These past days on end have started in the ungodly hours before dawn, at precisely 4:15. Not 4:13 or 4:16, mind you. Every single day this week, 4:15 am.

He’s got this idea in his curly little head that when he wakes up at 4:15, he gets to go sleep with mummy, a myth perpetrated by mummy herself staggering around in the dark trying anything to make the baby go back to sleep for a little while longer. Some days the soother does the trick, some days the blanket does the trick, and some days only crawling into bed with mummy does the trick. How many of you are nodding along as I whine that once baby snuggles under the comforter he falls blissfully back to sleep, leaving mummy wide awake and grumbling in the gloaming? And no wonder I can’t sleep – he’s such a twitchy little sleeper. He grunts, he rolls, he hoots (there is no other word for it, he does in fact hoot) and he sticks his little feet in the middle of my back and kicks. He’s worse than his father! And inevitably, just as I finally drift blissfully back to sleep, the clock strikes 5:45 and the radio clicks on and another day leaps out of the bushes and exposes itself to us.

I’m not one of those people who functions well when sleep deprived. I can quite clearly imagine all the little synapses in my brain letting go of each other, breaking connections and disrupting mental traffic, so information traveling along its usual neural network highway gets as backed up as the 401 on a long-weekend Friday rush hour. That’s what my head feels like today – traffic congestion.

It’s better than it was. I went for more than a year without getting more than two or three hours of sleep consecutively, and averaging five or six hours of sleep a night. I was chronically and constantly sleep deprived. And it was not pretty. What I remember most is thinking, “I’m off work for a year at almost my full salary, staying home with my two spectacularly terrific children – this should be the best year of my life and I’m completely miserable.” And then I would feel guilty about being so miserable, when all I really needed was about 30% more sleep than I was getting.

I remember feeling such anger toward Simon when he woke up, when he woke me up, in the middle of the night. That part was scary. The sound of his cry would cause a violent release of adrenaline into my system, giving me that same nauseating rush you get after a bad scare, but three or four times a night, every time he woke up. I’d have to force myself to think of the “daytime” Simon, as I thought of it, the one who cooed and smiled and laughed, the one that I loved beyond reason, and not think of the nighttime Simon, my opponent and nemesis, who was not sleeping out of some form of infant spite. So many hours of silent and frustrated rage were spent in his room, rocking him endlessly in the darkness, while I wanted nothing more than to crawl back into bed and let somebody else be the one responsible for taking care of him. Dark nights indeed.

It seems like it happened to someone else. I’ve never admitted to the anger before, never wanted to acknowledge it, but I can see from this safe distance that it was entirely the sleep deprivation. I regret those dark nights, regret not being better equipped to deal with and overcome my own tiredness. But that’s kind of like regretting the sky is blue, isn’t it?

So today I am tired. Oh so very tired. But I have learned that I can function on a whole lot less sleep than I ever, in the time before children, would have given myself credit for.

Pass the coffee, wouldja please?

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Dean Dad August 24, 2005 at 1:31 pm

If it’s any consolation, that’s a beautifully written post. Exhaustion doesn’t hurt your prose, at least!

2 nancy August 24, 2005 at 1:50 pm

As Dean Dad said – what a wonderfully composition! And all about lack of sleep – well done.
I have two items of brilliance (?) to share with you…
(2) 10 day rule
I am sure that both of those very strenuously though about tips will help you immeasurably.
Dare I say my guys slept in till 7:30??? And I’ll still drink a pot of coffee….

3 nancy August 24, 2005 at 1:50 pm

oh shit – that was to be “wonderfully written composition” OR “wonderful composition” and I had 7 hours sleep….go figure

4 Suzanne August 24, 2005 at 2:00 pm

Hang in there! I know exactly what you mean when you talk about anger and resentment at your night-time child but not his daytime equivalent. I am so glad those days are behind me, too.

5 Bren August 24, 2005 at 2:59 pm

Oh Dani–I so understand how you are feeling. For two years I have been chanting to myself “this too shall pass”
Bren and her two slightly yonger boyz
Oh yes–I agree that your prose is lovely, as always

6 SilverCreek Mom August 24, 2005 at 3:14 pm

OH dani!
I have a 4 yr old who wants to sleep with Mommy come 6 a.m. ALL I WANT IS ANOTHER HOUR.. Although I get it at the other end too. Miranda has this need to talk about her problems with me till midnight and it has to be in her BED! (OK I know, I know at least she talks to me) No wonder my house is a disaster. LOL! Whatever happen to teenagers that slept all day????
Very good Prose like all the rest said.
Better than mine!

7 Snack Mommy August 24, 2005 at 3:25 pm

Dani, you always have me totally exhausted when I read your sleep deprivation tales. It brings back all of the literal aches you feel at those times. I also think you captured the sentiments about your emotions toward the child in the middle of the night perfectly.
Excellent post today Dani.

8 BeachMama August 24, 2005 at 4:40 pm

I feel for you, as I made my pot of coffee this morning at 5:05am, I was wondering if this will last forever. I know it is all my fault that I used to get up at work for 5am when I was pregnant, but really, can he not change to say 6am? At least the 4am phase passed rather quickly, and I was able to cat nap while his Dad got ready for work. Needless to say I am quite used to being sleep deprived, but unlike you, I think (think is the key word) that I can function on very little sleep. It does catch up to me in the afternons though… always ready for a little nap.
Hope you get some sleep tonight,
Anna – together in your sleeplessness

9 Danigirl August 24, 2005 at 5:01 pm

(rubs eyes, blinks, rubs eyes)
Wow! (blushes) Thanks for the positive feedback, guys! I should whine more often.
I was feeling insecure about exposing such negative emotions, and I can’t tell you how much it means to me when you tell me you feel/felt exactly the same way. Blog as therapy – who knew?
Thanks for making it not only easy, but worthwhile, to look at the darker side sometimes. And of course, thank you for stroking my endlessly needy ego.
xo Danigirl, on cup 3 of coffee – now feeling bleary and jittery at the same time

10 Donna August 24, 2005 at 5:28 pm

Hi Dani,
I just wanted to let you know that was a great post. I actually get to comment today because dear daughter (#3) is sleeping and not in my arms.
I too have felt those same feelings during the middle of the night wake-ups. Not for dd #3, because at this point I have not had a good nights sleep for the last 4 years and I’m just used to that tired foggy feeling. Lets see if I count dd #1 age which is 3 and the 9 months I didn’t sleep while pregnant for her and the next two pregnancies. That’s about 4 years. This means I need to sleep for the next 6 months to catch up on all my deprived disrupted sleep. Maybe I could morphe myself into a bear and hybernate. 😉

11 Beanie Baby August 24, 2005 at 8:48 pm

Oh Dani–
I don’t know a single new mama who didn’t feel that way–who didn’t get scarily angry sometimes when she was sleep deprived. Really. In fact, most of the new mamas I know didn’t just get angry, but yelled, shouted, swore, and cried.
It’s ok to be human.

12 Running2Ks August 24, 2005 at 10:53 pm

It’s why sleep deprivation is used as torture.
Go easy on yourself. It is a terrible thing to deal with.
You are a great mom!

13 mgood August 25, 2005 at 2:14 am

Um, I was going to blog about this today too, because I actually had to call my dear husband to come home from work and take Josephine away before I melted down. Melted down more, actually because there were tears. Actually, blogging in my head was the only thing that kept me sane as the napless wonder who had me up at all hours last night whined and refused to nap.
I’ll be thinking of you tomorrow morning from 4:14 to 4:16.

14 mgood August 25, 2005 at 2:15 am

PS- you said it better than I could.

15 Jen August 25, 2005 at 6:50 pm

4:15 am eh. Well – there’s always J. Crew…
Here’s wishing you lots of sleep.

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