Tag Archives: sleep

One Thing To Rule Them All

I had planned to blog last week during our holiday. Not cause I have to. Because I really want to.

I envisioned myself writing deep thoughts about God and life in my brand new notebook as our mini-van winds its way through the Rocky Mountains. Or perhaps curled up with a pen and paper in front of the fireplace, trying to recapture the hilarity and wonder of a new family adventure. At the very least, I would have time, away from chores and telephones and teetering piles of laundry, to polish up one of the many half-finished posts in my drafts folder.

But no more whiney posts about parenting. Not again. I’ve done way too much of that.

This holiday week was chock-full of inspiration.

  • Easter week… bringing one of the greatest showdowns of these modern times – Jesus Christ vs. Chocolate. Who will capture the heart of our generation?
  • The Rocky Mountains – my very favourite place ON EARTH. Ten thousand Japanese tourists can’t be wrong.
  • Spending time, real memory-making, road trip taking, in each other’s pockets until you want to scream, time as a family.
  • Glen’s Grandma’s 90th birthday – bringing in cousins and uncles and one incredibly beloved nephew from far and wide; showing off our new addition for the first time; celebrating a woman who isn’t Great because of her many years on earth, but because of who she is and how she loves.
  • Finally introducing the boy to MY Grandma (clearly we have an embarrassment of riches in the Great-Grandma department) – by the time we left he had decided she was his favourite adult, ignoring the rest of us and dragging her away when the rest of us tried to talk to her.
  • My brother-in-law changed his FaceBook profile picture to a red equal sign (the internet is awash in the gay rights and the bible debate). I wanted to “like” it, but I wanted to explain that to everyone who might not understand why I do.

So I started about a dozen different posts, in my head and on paper. I tried. I really did. To write something touching or eloquent or provocative or even readable.

But the voice in my head sounded like Charlie Brown’s teacher.

Wah-wa-wah-wa-wah.

I was defeated by the one thing that trumps inspiration. It puts basic intelligence in a headlock and flushes all my emotional energy right down the toilet. It squeezes my physical body like a dish rag, until I am literally begging for relief. It is the one thing that rules them all.

Sleep.

Specifically, a desperate lack of sleep.

430amThe boy has discovered that he can escape his play pen at nap and bedtime. So he does. Over and over and over again. Apparently, this is so much more fun than actually sleeping. He cruises right past tired (which is a sweet time of eye rubbing and snuggling and big yawns) right into over-tired (which involves frantic hyperactivity, screeching at the top of his lungs and dramatic tantrums).

We tried everything. Rocking, singing, cuddling, co-sleeping, absolute quiet, ignoring him, gentle discipline, cough syrup, putting him down early, staying up late, skipping nap, liquid melatonin, begging, yelling, praying… we asked for ideas on Facebook. We even drove into the city to buy a tent to put over his playpen (which he broke in about 5 minutes). In the end, we spent hours and hours holding him in his bed until he fell asleep. Every nap. And every bedtime.

One night we played this game until 4:30 am. By that time, both he and I were crying.

I am barely human after 3 am.

Naturally, he wakes up at 7 am. Every morning. No matter what.

This changed the trajectory of our family holiday. Glen and I barely saw each other. I barely had time to shower, much less think or write or create. We didn’t tackle nearly as many activities as we had planned. We weren’t as witty or interesting or wow-look-how-cool-they-still-are-even-though-they-have-such-a-chaotic-brood-of-children as we had planned.

I’m not going to lie. These are the times I wonder… what have we gotten ourselves into? I’m not nearly as calm and patient and put-together as I hoped I’d be. I’m not the Mom I should be. I rely on DVDs and iPhone games and counting down the minutes until nap time.

And the selfish part of me resents all those people relaxing in the Banff Hot Springs while we usher two screaming, poopy children back out after the least relaxing 3 minutes of our day. And I wonder if I’ll ever finish a conversation at a family gathering without darting away to rescue someone’s purse or flower arrangement or too-close-to-the-edge-of-the-table drink. And I’m tired. So incredibly tired. All the time.

But.

And here’s the part that matters, even though it’s not all that touching or eloquent or provocative.

For every miserable, smelly, irritating, exhausting challenge they bring into our life, there is a heart warming, sweet, wonderful, life affirming moment that makes it all worthwhile.

At 4:30 am, I cried tears of frustration as the boy screamed and fussed. In his thrashing he managed to twist himself out of my arms and smash his head against the wall on the way down. The sound just makes me feel sick. It was a low point.

He immediately stopped screaming and fighting and scrambled into my arms. “Mama! Mama! Mama!” Rubbing his face into my neck while I checked for a lump and kissed it better. He stroked my hair and wrapped his legs around my waist and his eyes finally, FINALLY closed.

I guess I’m easy to please. Because that little cuddle made the whole wretched night worth it.

He’s still my favourite boy in the whole world.

So here’s us, home to recover from our “vacation” and not a moment too soon.

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The Craving

I’m jonesing for a fix. I can feel it in the leaden weight of every single cell of my body. In the itch behind my eyes. In the sharpness of my voice. In overreaction after overreaction.

The daily hits just aren’t enough anymore. I need something more, something better.

I used to be able to hide it better. This growing need. I could gloss over it with big smiles and peppy speeches. But it’s harder to form the “I’m fine” answers that used to roll of my tongue so easily.

I crave it.

When my friends discuss their holiday plans my twinge of jealousy has nothing to do with exotic locales, or warm ocean breezes, or exciting adventure. It’s this. The good stuff. Pure and uncut.

I see hints of it everywhere I look. The comfy couch. A bean bag chair in the playroom. My son’s fuzzy blue blanket. Mattress ads on the radio. They’re taunting me…

I need it.

REST.beach bed

So here’s me, where life stage, a stomach bug and week full of appointments have taken their toll. I’ll be the one heading to bed early tonight.

Today’s post is part of Lisa-Jo’s Five Minute Friday challenge:

Now, set your timer, clear your head, for five minutes of free writing without worrying about getting it right.

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.

2. Link back here and invite others to join in.

3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..


Too Tired To Think of a Title

Apparently, happily ever after doesn’t involve a whole lot of sleep.

It’s been several years since we took part in the dawn patrol. Like many difficult times (exam week, giving birth and potty training come to mind) the true feeling of the experience quickly fades. It becomes a collection of “me too” and “I remember when” anecdotes you can whip out at parties to impress people with your fortitude and earthy wisdom (or maybe that’s just me). There remains the vague sense that it was miserable and hard, but the sting has passed.

Then you find yourself there again… and Hokey Dinah, it sucks!

Between the hours of 2:00 and 5:00 am, our little man needs to be held. He is not screaming. He is not inconsolable. As long as he is safely snuggled in my arms, he is relatively content. But woe on all our heads if we try to put him down, or bring him to bed, or fall asleep on the couch, or attempt to lean in a non-nurturing-sneaking-a-nap way (they know, they always know).

So, I rock him and pat his back and walk around and rub his forehead and he rubs my face and holds my hand and pulls the glasses off my face and snuggles close and eventually nods off JUST as the sun peeks over the horizon and the question arises: go back to bed? or stick it out for the day?

So yesterday, Glen asks me, “do you really mean what you’ve written on your blog?” Because it seems that there’s a whole lot in there about the blissful experience of cuddling the new kid.

Sneaky Bum, when he puts it that way, it’s pretty much everything I’ve been begging for. And come to think of it, it IS kind of wonderful.

And somehow it was easier last night, because I remembered to enjoy it. And somewhere along the way I lost my expectation of sleep (unless it is Glen’s turn, of course). And I knew I would fit a nap in today, because the age-old “sleep when the baby sleeps” is a classic for a reason.

Of course, the relentless busyness, general aura of neediness in the home and all-around emotional upheaval of this MASSIVE life change probably has just as much to do with to the exhaustion as our little night owl. He’s waking up in a relatively new place with new people each night. Of course he needs some comfort. He’s been such a trooper so far. Of course we will give him the comfort he needs.

So here’s me: tired, so very, very tired. But very, very happy just the same. And totally stoked that I finally have something to contribute when the “my baby was so colicky he never slept” conversation crops up (because Mommyhood is 9 parts unconditional love and 1 part bragging/one-up-manship).


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