Friday, February 4, 2011

Sleeping like a baby



The pinnacle of exhaustion came for me as I was walking down the street with Elijah strapped to my chest, praying that the rhythm of our steps would keep him from fussing. I saw a homeless man sitting unsupported on a newspaper box, fast asleep despite the traffic roaring past. A thought rose from the fog of my brain- "I know exactly what it is to be that tired." People may try to warn you, prepare you, but until it happens, until you have seen that hour of the night when you are pretty much sure no one else in town is still awake, you don't know.

Elijah is four months old now, and things are so much better. I no longer keep pillows and blankets all over the house so that I don't have to waste any of his precious few sleeping moments in search of somewhere to lay my head. I wear regular cloths, not the versatile and oh-so-attractive sweatpants/t-shirt combo. I am on the other side of Insomnia Mountain, and the grass really is greener.

My friend Waahida gave me the best advice I have received as a parent thus far: let go of your sleep expectations. At times, it was my mantra. Because the second you start thinking, "If I could just sleep for [four hours, three hours, ten minutes]", the frustration sets in, because chances are, it's not going to happen. Even now, I'll go to bed at 10, thinking, "Great, I can get a solid three hours before Elijah wakes up again," and that will be the night that he wakes up every time his binky falls out. When these toxic thoughts start to rise up in my consciousness, I beat them back, replacing them with sheep or the ocean or anything else that can ease my trip to slumberland. The temptation now is the project myself several months into the future, when, perhaps, Elijah will not wake up every three hours. But maybe he will, so I continue to follow Waahida's sage advice. Besides, why on earth would I want to think about months from now when I've got the best baby ever right here?

So, for all you parents out there, what is one piece of hard-won advice that you would share?

Just please don't tell me that my baby needs a hat. I've heard that one a few times already.

4 comments:

  1. I wish someone had explained the one vegetable per week more clearly. Would anyone like to see orange baby Sarah or Lisa pictures? Yum, carrots. MAMO

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  2. My advice would be to have girls. They never give their parents ANY trouble at all ;-)

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  3. Erma Bombeck on getting ready for bed except I think this is similar to getting ready to leave the house for me with perhaps a little variation

    My husband rubbed his chin, looked at the cat sleeping peacefully under on his lap, under his lap top and said, “I think it’s time to go to bed.” to whomever was listening.

    Agreeing, I started closing down programs on my computer, sending off last minute emails, checking the family’s schedule for tomorrow – our collegiate’s, our high schooler’s, our married daughter (quick check of her blog will tell me where she’ll be tomorrow), my husband (remember to remind about a hair cut) and mine (3 meetings – will need to get up early to prep).

    Then it’s a quick trip to the laundry room to either put a load into the dryer or hang up a load to dry. Before going upstairs, I pick up dirty dishes, clean clothes/towels and anything else that needs to go up. After climbing the stairs, I put the dishes in the sink, clothes in the upstairs basket and towels in the linen closet. Then, back to the kitchen to turn on the tea kettle, feed the puppies a quick snack and put them out. While waiting on them, I remind our teen that it is time to turn off her computer and go to sleep. I turn off extra lights, the dogs’ music and let the pets in, locking the door and, making sure they have fresh water. The tea kettle boils just as I tuck the puppy into her kennel. I make a quick hot drink for my husband and me and carry it downstairs.

    After handing the cup to my husband, I feed and water the cats. On finishing our drinks, I collect the mugs and put them out of the kitties reach. I, then, turn the bed covers down and start getting ready for bed.

    My husband slowly lifts the cat off his lap, puts his laptop aside, rubbing his chin again, he say, “I guess it’s time to go to bed” and I agree.

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  4. It has been said before and I'll say it again: Sleep when the baby sleeps. And I'm not kidding. 9 AM? Take a nap. 7 PM? Lights out. Go to bed. As you so wisely stated Miss K, you just never know when it's going to be the night that you're up every 10 minutes--or when it's going to be the first time the baby sleeps all the way through. Miss K, that day will come. I assure you. :)

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