Another shitty morning after another shitty night.
Last week at the market, I saw a woman with her newborn son. Someone asked her if he was sleeping better, and she said, "Not really. He's still waking every two hours. I guess it's just a phase he's going through." He was 10 weeks old.
And because I'm me, I had to share my truth with her, that my son woke every two hours until at least 14 months, and even now doesn't sleep through the night very often. "My son woke up every two hours for -" I started to speak, but I just couldn't go through with it. "... A very long time," I finished weakly. I laboured through Swee'pea's entire infancy believing that a good night's sleep was just around the corner. If someone had told me then that it could be years before I could depend on a four-hour stretch of sleep, I might have been in danger of doing something drastic.
* * *
The stretch of two nights in a row I last blogged about? It lasted a month. A month of being able to stretch out in sleep, of waking up on my own, a month of peace. A month without ambivalence, without constant, unfillable hunger. I was a bit disturbed that we'd done nothing differently, that it was all completely beyond my control. And I knew it was too good to be true, I knew it couldn't last. But with every good week, I thought we were that much closer to putting the sleeplessness to rest. I started to wonder how I would revise the little about me bit here, the bit that says my son is a lousy sleeper. I never imagined we'd have another whole month and a half of shitty nights. And now we're worse off than before, because now I know how good it can be, I know how good *I* can be.
Back when Swee'pea was a baby, I thought the secret to him sleeping through the night would be getting him to fall asleep on his own. That's what all the books said. But I can tell you from personal experience that that is total bullshit. Most nights he falls asleep by himself, but that doesn't stop him from waking up within a few hours and demanding to get into our bed, even if we ourselves haven't gone to bed yet. Then he'll wake up screaming to have his socks put on or taken off or to change his pyjamas, or to find his soother, or give him another soother, just to hold. Sometimes he bellows like an autocrat, "Lie on your back!" (so he can rub my belly more easily). Sometimes he screams for reasons I can't figure out.
Last night at 4:30 am, he was screaming for socks (his dad had taken them off when he changed him out his wet diaper and pyjamas), and I lost it (not the first time). I yelled at him: "Stop screaming! If you're going to scream, do it in your own bed. Mommy and daddy's bed is only for quiet indoor voices." The middle of the night is not a good time for me; I think all my night-time patience dried up with my milk. These days, however, after so many interrupted nights, the daytime isn't great either. I'm resentful and impatient, I yell at the slightest provocation and disengage at the first opportunity, running to the computer for some kind of connection, some kind of relief, but never quite finding it.
I find myself rationalizing my daytime distance the way I did when he was a baby. That he's chosen to demand my attention while sleeping and he doesn't demand it while awake. Or that it's just until I finish Buffy, then life can get back to normal. But I think Buffy is just a friendly escape.
So... please help. Give me your best advice. How can I get more uninterrupted, solitary sleep?
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