I wasn't sure when or if it would happen-- that feeling that if you don't get a good night's sleep you might lose your mind. When you stagger through the house like a zombie, communicating only in grunts and groans. When, in the darkness, hope is hard to conjure.
I thought I was pretty close to the wall this summer in Connecticut as I paced up and down a country road in my pj's at 5:30 am, a screaming Andrew in my arms. If I dared slow down, the screaming got worse, so I speed-walked, bouncing him back and forth in my arms, eventually watching a gorgeous sunrise I would have rather missed.
But that was nothing compared to where Tim and I find ourselves now. If you look at recent photos of Tim, he looks tired and gaunt. I look tired and whatever the opposite of gaunt is. Being tired makes me hungry.
For months 2-5 Andrew slept well at night. I didn't dare mention it here, for fear of the jinx. Even our pediatrician just had us nod at the 2 and 4 months appointments when asked about night-time sleep. He held up his hand to keep us from uttering the words, "He's sleeping well" aloud. Andrew got up once a night during that period, and that worked for us.
Then, at 5 1/2 months we started daycare, Andrew got his first cold, and it turned into croup. Naturally, the night-time routine would be disrupted. But now we are on week 3 of that, and we can't get our mojo back. His 6 month appointment is today, so the doc will tell us it's time to get rid of everything that used to work for us anyway: the tight velcro swaddles, and the
There's a perfectly good crib in his room down the hall. We will be introducing him to it now. So he'll be un-swaddled, un-angled, and without his mom there to pop in a pacifier whenever it pops out. We wish we could find a way to help him acclimate him to his new surroundings that did not involve screaming and waking up the whole house. Poor Margaret, who as a busy high schooler puts in 18 hour days with school, sports, and then homework, doesn't need to be kept up by crying all night long.
Most nights Tim and I take turns hiding in the basement with Andrew when he won't go back to sleep. I whisper-beg him to be content to snuggle up with me the way Margaret and Jack did, collapsing into my warm body in bed and falling asleep. I want to say, "What could be better than to sleep with mom? Win-Win." Nope. I wish he would let me rock him in the roomy recliner, so I could doze off, too. But he insists on more deliberate movement. The circular path around and around the couch. The bobbing this way and that, and walking up and down, up and down the stairs. Occasionally I slow down and try to get horizontal on whatever surface is nearby: bed, couch, floor. I eschew a blanket because I don't want him to think I'm actually going to sleep. Last night I spent some time with my right leg partially covered by a baby washcloth in an attempt to stay warm.
Sometimes, I give up and turn on the lights, place toys in front of him, and let him play. He sits up straight as a school master, and quickly finds his grin. The cries turn to coos within seconds as he gets down to the business of play. I smile at the cuteness, then wonder how much more of this we can take.
The thing is, I have PERSPECTIVE that I didn't have with the first two kids. I KNOW this stage won't last forever. We will get through it. I also know this isn't the end of the world, because we've been there, too. But I also have the perspective that sleep issues, while HUGE, are only the beginning of the parenting issues we will face with Andrew. Can I get an AMEN, middle school parents? That's something that first-time parents don't always grasp when they are knee-deep in diapers and onesies.
And that makes me feel more tired. And old as shit.
I've never been a morning person, but staying up all night with a baby makes me grateful for sunrise when it comes, and for the warm cup (or three) of tea that awaits, because that means the night is finally over.
"Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning." Psalm 30:5
Happy 6 month birthday, Miracle Baby!