Friday, June 23, 2006

sleepyhead

yesterday was a long day. we hosted a playdate at our house: 8 little ones under age 2 playing, eating, swimming. it was a blast.
so the night before, i had hoped that baby hall and i would get some good sleep and be well-rested for our big day. granny was here and, as usual, entertained baby hall at full speed until 2 hours past her bedtime. this is great, i thought, wear her out!
ha.
that night, baby hall awoke at her usual time for her nightly refill. "more milk" she cries softly. i always glare at the clock and it is always within 10 minutes of 1am. no matter what time she goes to sleep she always needs more milk at 1am.
she drinks a cup and falls back asleep, usually until it's time to wake up and start our day.
that night, i don't think she ever fell back asleep. she drank her milk (loudly) and then i heard her talking, to no one in particular about nothing in particular. just saying random words, "shoes"... "no"... "baby"... "outside"...and then, after about an hour of moonlit jabbering, she demanded "more milk!!"
i stumbled out of bed again and glared at the clock. didn't i just do this an hour ago? go to sleep!
she didn't. until 4am. then she slept until 8:30.
the playdate went great. the kids played good and hard in the sun and splash for 4 hours. as soon as everyone left, baby hall curled up in her bed and went to sleep.
i curled up on the couch and did the same. the pools needed to be emptied, the snacks needed to be refrigerated, and the toys needed to be brought back inside. but i needed a nap first.
so when daddy hall brought home this article last night, i couldn't help but laugh. maybe if i'd read it the day before it would have been more of a warning and less of an i-told-you-so. as if i didn't already know...i'm just so tired, i tend to forget.

read it and relate. i'm going back to bed.

When baby comes, say goodbye to rest
Compared with sleep deprivation, labor is a minor annoyance
Thursday, June 22, 2006
By RENEE KIRCHNER / Special Contributor to The Dallas Morning News
MOM sleep is the opposite of REM sleep: Rapid Eye Movement, when we are supposed to dream. Mothers rarely enter this restful state. Instead, we have what I like to refer to as MOM sleep.
It starts when you're expecting your first child. In the last trimester, you become so bulky, it's difficult to find a comfortable sleeping position. If you do fall asleep, you wake up every hour with an urge to go to the bathroom. This is how MOM sleep begins; it only gets worse.
The magical day arrives. You are blessed with a baby. Congratulations: You will never again have a completely restful night's sleep.
I'm not sure why new mothers waste time and energy worrying about labor: While painful, it's usually over in 24 hours. When a pregnant woman is listening to horror stories about 36-hour labor followed by a Caesarean section, I just shake my head. What about the first three months with the newborn?
No one ever talks about that. In my experience it was much more painful than labor. I never imagined a human being could survive on so little sleep.
The first night my son and I were home from the hospital, I think I slept a total of two hours. After I nursed him and put him in his bassinet, I stayed up a while longer watching the end of a TV show. Just after my head hit the pillow, he was crying. I changed his diaper and fed him again, although I was in a stupor.
He slept for only two hours at a time for the first few weeks, so by the time I would fall back asleep he was waking up again. He could only drink a few ounces at a time, so he would get hungry again after just a couple of hours. By the second week, I would cry with him when he woke up.
As a new mother, you quickly learn to take every opportunity to rest while your baby rests. Don't vacuum, wash dishes or do laundry, no matter how bad the house looks. Repeat after me, "The house is not important; the house is not important." Keep your sanity: Sleep every chance you get.
Sleep deprivation does not end when your baby gets older. He will lull you into a false sense of security. You may go months at a time with uninterrupted slumber. But don't be fooled. It is just the calm before the storm. Each stage of your child's life offers a new opportunity for you to lose sleep.
Teething pains start soon after your child begins sleeping through the night. Those new teeth are sharp and they give your baby something to cry about. Young children also get colds and fevers that keep them up at night. So now you will not only be sleepy, but probably sick as well.
Your baby will grow into a toddler and he will wake you up from a sound sleep for any number of reasons. "I had a bad dream," he will say, or, "I need a drink of water," or, "I'm afraid of the dark." You can expect about one visit per week, usually when you are in a deep satisfying sleep.
Many times, you will have to accompany them back to their room, where you will lie on their bed, only to find yourself still there in the morning.
I used to be a sound sleeper before my children were born. Now the slightest noise wakes me.
Sometimes I will open my eyes to find a pair of eyes staring at me in the dark. This scared me to death the first time it happened, and I still can't get used to it.
They will never wake your husband during the night. For some reason they are only satisfied by the comfort of their mother. While this is flattering, I would not be insulted if they asked for their father instead. What I would be is well rested.
I'll soon be entering a new phase of MOM sleep. My oldest will be driving; my youngest will be a teenager. I'll spend evenings waiting up for curfew.
After 14 years of MOM sleep, I've lost about a full year of sleep. After the children leave for college, I'll have to sleep 16 hours a day just to catch up. I think I'll get started; a nap would be very nice right now. Good night.
Renee Kirchner is a Carrollton freelance writer.