Friday, February 22, 2008

sweet slumber

I love sleep. I have always loved to sleep. When I was a teenager, I regularly slept late into the afternoons on the weekends (of course, that was always after having stayed out into the early hours of the morning, but that is besides the point). As I got older, sleeping in meant sleeping until 9 or 10, and once I had kids, it became sleeping until 7 or 8.

I think, ironically, it was sleep-deprivation that actually made me appreciate slumber even more. And there is nothing more likely to cause sleep deprivation than having kids. In my case, I was really spoiled with Danny. He has always slept like a champion. I guess any kid who lives as exuberantly and energetically as he does needs his sleep!

Char, on the other hand, has often caused me to wish for a boarding school for babies and toddlers. Bil says she is too young to send away to school, but I think he is beginning to consider the option the more he has to get up with her. She gets up in the middle of the night, on average, once or twice a week. We might go a week or 2 with no night wakings and be lulled into a false sense that she has finally outgrown her sleep problems. And that is when she strikes, and we go a full week waking up with her at 1 or 3 or 4 am (and sometimes all three, just for fun). One morning, she woke at 4 am and would not go back to sleep. In desperation, Bil put a video on and laid on the couch hoping to catch some zzzz's. Unfortunately, Charlotte had better ideas; she repeatedly poked Bil in the face and told him to watch the video with her.

Sadly, this week happens to be one in which Charlotte has been waking up. We aren't sure what to do about it, and sometimes she goes right back to sleep after we give her water, but by then the damage has been done. I have a really difficult time getting back to sleep. Also, this night waking does nothing for my sweet daughter's disposition, because more often than not, she is up for at least an hour, before she finally collapses in exhaustion (which is about 45 minutes after we have collapsed). Thank goodness she still takes a nap. Most of the time.

Today happens to be a snow day and Danny has taken advantage of it, true to the genes he has inherited from his mother (he is just as prickly and irritated in the morning as I usually am, and just as hard to rouse from sleep). He finally woke up at 9:30, which is really late for Danny, but he must have really needed the sleep--he got about 14 hours! The great thing about this is that he woke up with a great big smile on his face. Amazing, the power of sleep: how refreshed and happy it can make you if you get enough, and how murderously frustrated it can make you (me!) if you don't.


beckbot said...

Oh, Patty! that's the WORST. Especially when a child is not a newborn anymore. We had to (sort of) lock Super Q in his room when he was around 2 yrs old because the 2 am playtime was wearing on us too much. It wasn't safe, either, because he wouldn't always wake us up, we'd just hear him getting into something. Thank goodness it was never the gas stove or anything, but after a few nights like that we got mean and put the doorknob lock thing on the inside of his room. By the time he had defeated it, he was sleeping all night. Telling myself it was for the protection of our midnight safety helped with the guilt.

Amy Jane said...

Reading your blog post makes me feel really lucky that I haven't had to get up in the night since Nick was 2 mos. old. (Sorry!) I'm not saying that to make you feel bad, but just because the more I hear other moms talk, the more I realize that he is a freak and that all the other children are normal. I know it's got to be hard to deal with - I love sleep more than anyone I know. Just ask Brian! I feel certain, though, that given her age, Charlotte's nocturnal shenanigans can't go on much longer. I really feel for you, and wish I could do something to help. Have you thought about slipping some Valium into her dinnner? :) In the meantime, just try to do the best you can, and sneak in a nap whenever you can, even if it's just 10 minutes. And don't feel guilty if you're too tired to get stuff done during the day. And remember that this, too, shall pass!