For a brief, blissful, period sometime in January, I thought that we had become one of those families. As in, those mythological families where everyone sleeps past 7 a.m. Whose members look at you with a mixture of polite sympathy and horror when you mention that your children like to get up at six. Or earlier.
“Us?” I imagined saying, casually, nonchalantly, at a playgroup full of tired parents. “Oh, we get up around 7:30 or so. Yes, of course the children sleep through the night. Don’t yours?”
In other words, I got smug. And it has come back to bite me in the ass. And, I’m just going to come out and say it: it’s all Isaac’s fault. No, really. It is. Don’t let that adorable face fool you for a second. He’s a stinker. A stinker who, for the past three weeks, has either woken at 5:30, raring to go, or at 3 a.m., soaked and inconsolable. Or both.
We go to him, we change him, and then, at his insistence, we take him on a small guided tour of the darkened house in order to prove to him that, really, it is still night-night time. And then, if we’re lucky, he yawns and agrees that it is in fact night-night time and falls back into bed and immediate sleep for anywhere from three hours to 11 minutes more.
If we’re not lucky, he continues wailing. And, eventually, we put him back into the crib anyway, and wait him out.
And then there’s Rowan. Who is much more rational — no, wait, I take that back: anyone who comes into your room three times in one night because “the monsters came in” is not really rational — who is much less hysterical but no less demanding in his quest for comfort.
The nadir so far (that sounds so ominous) was Saturday night, when Isaac woke at 11, Rowan at midnight, one, and two, Isaac at 4:30, and then at 5:45 for the day. When I went in to get him, he had figured out, for the first time, how to climb out of his crib and was standing on the floor, wailing. Good morning to you, too. I delivered him to Rachel, whose turn it was to sleep in the basement in order to ensure that at least one parent in the household would be semi-functional, and slept a couple of hours on the vacated futon.
This, of course, is irritating.
But what tips it over from irritating into — what’s the word? — heinous is the fact that, once the children have, at least temporarily, gone to sleep, I can’t. I lie awake as 3 a.m. turns into 4 a.m., then 5, as my brain rampages. It hums Kindermusik songs, makes lists, gets into imaginary matrimonial disputes, whips its head around at any tiny sound, and generally tortures me with wakefulness until I can finally convince it that it is night-night time — just about 45 minutes before one or the other of the kids gets up for the day.
I’m so tired. I know that a couple of hours of lost sleep per night is nothing compared to what the parents of newborns are going through. I know I shouldn’t complain, that it could be worse, but I’m sucky like that. In any case, I figure that I’ve racked up a total of about 40 hours of sleep deficit in the past month. That’s an entire workweek. Just think of everything I could’ve accomplished in that hypothetical week. I want that week back. I need that week back. And I don’t think I’m getting it any time soon.