Sunday, March 21, 2010

Interrupted Sleep

Even though the thought of being pregnant again makes me break out in hives and consider duct taping my knees together, I am always happy to hear that other people are pregnant, especially people that are related to me. Thanks to my brother's ability to produce swimmers and my sister-in-law Ali's willingness to sacrifice her abs for a few months, I am going to be an aunt in May. While Ali and I have talked about useless baby equipment (which includes most baby equipment), delivery (owie) and nursing (just jam the sucker in her mouth), one topic that hasn't really come up is sleep. So here you go, Ali. Here's my advice...

When it comes to sleep, you're fucked.

There are some insensitive people out there that insist on making you feel bad by telling you that their three-week-old baby is sleeping seven hours at a time, and they're full of shit. Maybe the baby slept that long once, but that one time doesn't mean that the infant is a freak of nature and sleeping through the night every night. As long as you're prepared for the fact that you will be sleep deprived and yes, my darling little niece will shriek at 2am and my brother might not get up and if you thought you were tired in your first trimester that was nothing, you'll be okay.

When little pumpkin face is around eight-months-old and has fooled you by sleeping more than eight-hours at a time, you feel like you have an actual bedtime routine and you find yourself loving this child more than you could imagine, colds and ear infections will appear, teeth will try to bust out and hard-earned sleeping habits will be disrupted. The worst part about this phase is that your body has been reintroduced to the blissful world of sleep, but now you find yourself awake at 2am AGAIN! At some point you will look at this crying kid wearing a crusty film under her nose and instead of whispering "Oh, sweet little pumpkin, mommy's sorry you don't feel good. I'm here for you." you'll loudly say, "I know you are capable of sleeping through the night because you've done it before, so GO BACK TO SLEEP!"

I'd like to say that at some point my niece will sleep through the night and after that you will be guaranteed to always get at least seven hours of uninterrupted sleep, but I kind of discourage lying. No matter how old kids are they occasionally wake up because of: bad dreams, wet beds, bloody noses, scary thunderstorms, illnesses or a bug on the ceiling. Even if it's an innocent trip to the bathroom at midnight because a kid drank too much water before bed, you will still wake up and listen, just in case. There are also non-kid related disruptions: sick pets, sick spouses, noisy neighbors, thunderstorms and of course, the post-pregnancy bladder. It's not that these things didn't mess my dreams up before I had kids, it's that they wake me up in addition to my kids also waking me up, which adds up to a lot of lost sleep.

So, Ali, thank you for being the designated driver over the last few months, I'm sure we will have many more conversations before you shove my niece's head out your hooha and I'll just give you one last piece of advice: Yves Saint Laurent makes a great undereye concealer.


DeeDee said...

14 years after being blessed with a son...I still wake up at 2:30 & 4:00 am. And why is it that I still wake up at 5 am (& it doesn't matter if I don't go to bed till 1 am) on Sat and Sun...the teenager sleeps till the crack of Noon, at least!! This is sooooo unfair!!

CDK said...

FUNNY! How true! I am pure evil when my sleep keeps getting interrupted. Bad enough when the kids are waking me up but God help anybody/thing that disrupts my sleep when the kids are actually sleeping. Ie: my hubby and his alarms this morning that didn't seem to wake him up but ruined my last good hour before the kids woke up!

Mary Kay said...

So true!