Saturday, March 31, 2007

On perpetuating this mortal coil

Not shuffling off, mind you.

See me rolling my eyes at Hamlet? Whining, melancholy, tragic hero that he is. He knows nothing of Denmark or what is rotten in it.

And to be or not to be is not the damn question when you are a parent. More accurately it is to sleep? Ah, perchance to dream . . .

And the answer?

Not fucking likely ever again.

And yes this post should scare the bejesus out of any would be, or current, yet hopeful, parents of infants that sleep will once again play a role in your life. Well, it might if you are the husband but then again you probably won't be getting laid because your wife will hate you so much for snoring blissfully beside her while she does not sleep. So yeah, a good night rest is not really in your future either.

Hold on. Crap, I just burnt Carmella's toast. Good news is the smoke detector works!

Sorry, had to make more toast as she refused hockey puck toast. Gotta blog here and there while I half ass parent and do housewifely things you know. So anyway, the subject of parental sleep deprivation? Just like those black toes are a runner's badge of honor so is the ability to function on no sleep is a parent's.

Right after I had Carmella I got all these wonderful, well-meaning cards that said cleverly funny things like: Don't worry you'll sleep again . . . someday! Not! or you'll get use to never sleeping. . .

At the time I was completely puzzled over these statements of sleeplessness because I was getting more sleep than when I had when I was pregnant. I really felt well rested, I mean for a new mother. I was getting at least 3 straight hours of sleep not the 30 minutes I had been getting because I had to pee that often when I was pregnant.

And while Carmella was always a terrible napper she always slept great at night. So I totally missed out on putting that "sleep when the baby sleeps" advice in practice during the day. Beau was an even better sleeper. It was like he invented sleeping and eating he did those things so marvelously well. But I missed out the napping in the day with him too since I still had Carmella who most definitely was not taking any naps now that she was 2.

All that by no means is to say that either of my kids were one of those mythological babies who slept through the night right from birth; but they did sleep for 3 hours and then by a month old were going for 6 straight hours at night. And then by the time they were 3 months old they went 8 hours. By 6 months old they both slept for 12 straight blissful hours at night. Sure there were the occasional bumps in the road of sleepless nights here and there from teething, night terrors or sickness but by and large I have found out that we are the exception at having kids who consistently sleep well through the night. I'm not kidding I have friends with 6 year olds who apparently do not regularly sleep through the night.

Before you think that for one second I am bragging let me quickly get to my point. You see, I don't sleep through the night so it totally doesn't matter that my kids do. So for all my being blessed with kids who go to bed and sleep at night without issue still hasn't allowed me to get a good night's rest. Why? Because I hear everything. Being a parent has turned me into the lightest sleeper ever. See, now I finally get what they were saying in those wonderful, well-meaning cards. And here is yet again another instance of my smugness coming to bite me in the ass and humble me. Please, take my advice, anytime you find yourself in the middle of smug moment as a parent close your eyes as hard as you can and wish it away because if you don't you will be getting yours in spades. Parental karma. It is real and it will happen. Be humble, be very very humble.

So back to my point, if my kids get up in the middle night I know it before they do. Every cough, sniffle, turn in bed-- I hear. Heck I even wake up when Lola stirs and wait, all tense, to see if she is going to whine to go out. Ryan never hears anything-- even on the rare occasions when the kids come in our room. Even last night he didn't wake from Carmella and I's lengthy conversation about ear bugs at 2 in the morning.

I woke when I heard her whine. Then I heard her feet hit the floor and come padding in my room. Then she is standing by my bed. Whenever she comes in our room in the middle of the night she never says anything. She just stands there and waits for me to say something. (the kids never go to Ryan's side of the bed.) Even though I am trying really hard to fake asleep she seems to know that I am not asleep and is waiting for me to say something. So I do:

Me: What's wrong Carmella?

Carmella: I had a bad dream.

Me: About what?

And here I think she says a scary chicken.

Me: A scary chicken? What did it do?

And here I think she says no, not a chicken, a donkey.

Me: Okay, a scary donkey. What happened?

Carmella: No not a donkey! An ear bug.

Me: Oh. Well what happened?

Carmella: Are they real?

Me: What? Ear bugs? No absolutely not! Totally made up.

Carmella: I saw an ear bug in my book at school. Here I remember that they are learning about insects. Recalling earlier in the week Carmella's princess ant. Fucking kindergarten teaching them shit. Making them all smart so I can't just lie and make stuff up anymore. I am so screwed.

Me: Right, those ear bugs. Well they are nothing to worry about go back to bed.

Carmella: But can it happen?


Carmella: Can they get in your ears?

Me: Only if you live in Africa. Never go to Africa and you will be fine.Surely they haven't learned about Africa yet and I can still use this one.

Carmella: Oh, but not here in the United States? Crap she knows this is geographically related.

Me (worried now that this is going to take another turn): Right, not in the United States and definitely not in Georgia. Now go to bed and you are not allowed to get up until the sun is up in your room and mine. Remember, we sleep until the sun is up on Saturdays.

And she shuffles back into her room. And Ryan snores on beside me.

Last week it was Beau that woke me. Beau talks in his sleep so he pretty much wakes me up every night. But at this point I ignore the screaming demands for "Mama! I want a peanut butter sandwich! or " I want my Batman shirt now!". I figure if he is up and it is important he will come in my room.

So the other night when I heard him scream out "I want to kiss you!" I assumed he was talking in his sleep again. But his demand to kiss me persisted and I told him to come give me a kiss. And he said "Oh, okay." I was happy that the idea of getting out bed hadn't occurred to him and he waited for permission.

He padded into our room dragging Blue (his blanket--he is the quintessential Linus) and kissed my leg and went back to his room.

Easy enough, I thought.

Then I heard him: "Aw! Damn it, my light is out. Mama! My light is out!"

Me: So turn it on.

I hear him trying to turn on his light. And then "Aw! Damn it! It is broken!"

Me (determined not to get out of bed because if I get up and walk around there is no hope of going back to sleep.): Sleep without it. Dark is good. Makes you taller.

Beau(starting to whine): I'm scared. It is scary. I want my light.

Me: Just go to sleep. It is all fine. Don't you want to be tall?

Beau: Light! Light! Light!

And then the snoring lump beside me moves and says, "Oh for Christ's sakes!"
And stomps down the hall to Beau's room and turns on his light.

And me? I am smiling as I settle to go back to sleep. I am proud that Beau? When he said "damn it"? Got the d in the first syllable every time. But in my heart I was most thrilled that Ryan? Finally got woken from his peaceful slumber.

Ay! Now, there's the rub.


  1. I had a friend whose baby was sleeping through the night at 8 weeks. We had to slap him!! The poor baby was starving through the night :-) Don't worry, it does get better in about five years LOL. Have you considered alcohol? No. You're a runner. That won't work. Ah, well... Can I speak with your husband? I want to know how he trained YOU to get up all the time :-)

  2. Sooooooo, my wife is 30 weeks pregnant. Fun.

  3. Wes--I do drink. Obviously you have not been reading carefully. See April of last year when I went to the Holy land. But no matter it a deeper sleeper it does not make me.
    And Ryan is spolied because I nursed both our kids for the first 10 months of their lives. What could he do--hold the baby on my bewbie for me? Plus, he is the one who gets up and goes to work. Doesn't matter though because I am always already up.

    AtlKortez--good luck. . . .?????

  4. Our home was broken into last Winter and my wife has trouble sleeping too...she keeps "hearing" things and wants ALL the lights on in the house 24/7! I swear she has super-sonic ears, she can hear my Oldsmobile coming home from work a block away at 2:00 a.m., and once I'm home, she can finally fall back asleep. Damn those thieves, when will she ever feel safe again???