Sunday, May 01, 2005

Musical Beds

So last night sucked. It capped several nights of crappy sleep, actually. Last night was all about Lauren and her refusal (?) to sleep. My little diva has really put me on notice in the sleep department lately, and it's pissing me off, frankly. Naps are at the forefront of my dilemma. She's not much of a napper anymore. I've been hoping this is only a phase, and a short-lived one at that, but it's been going on for a few weeks now and I'm getting concerned. Concerned for ME. If she falls asleep in the car on the way TO someplace, I'm screwed. She's done napping for the day, surviving on the 10 minutes she got in the car. That's it. If she falls asleep in the car on our way home, I can usually transfer her into her crib and she'll sleep for about 1.5 hrs in total. Those are good days. I live for those days. I'm starting to plan my outings around this strategy. If we're home when naptime rolls around, it's hit or miss. She'll usually go down, but not without a fight. It can take 30-45 min of fussing, crying, and general misery to get her to go to sleep for 90 minutes. It hardly seems worth it. But if she doesn't sleep she morphs into a crabby baby that makes me want to tear my hair out by late afternoon. And you see, I could maybe, just maybe, contemplate dropping the nap altogether if she would make up for it at night. But she won't. She won't go more than 10-11 hrs at night, and that's just not enough in a 24 hr period. Period. And worse, on the days she does sleep for more than an hour she's wanting to push back her bedtime. Until 9pm or later. I'd actually be ok with this if she slept later in the mornings, but she doesn't. And lately she's going to bed later and getting up earlier. In the 6 am hour. And that's just ungodly for me. I can do 7 o'clock, but I don't do 6. Or 5. HELL no to 5am! Which brings me to last night.

Lauren napped yesterday so it was all sunshine and light over here for most of the day. She was in a good mood all afternoon and all evening. Until bedtime. She was getting tired and rubbing her eyes - all the classic signs that it's time to put her down to sleep. But she had other plans. Oh yes, she had her own agenda. At 8:15 I put her down, rather unceremoniously, and she was one pissed off girl. Crying and screaming at the unjustice of having to go to bed, especially when Nicholas was still awake. (the kids share a room). This went on for 45 minutes with varying degrees of rage. This is becoming the norm, and I hate it. She was alseep by 9pm and Nicholas went to bed at this time. All was well until just after 12am. Then hell broke loose. Lauren woke up crying. I went and got her and in my foggy, sleepy state simply brought her into bed with us. I'm not opposed to having kids sleep in my bed from time to time, but I don't like it to be the norm. It's not for me. I know it works for other families, but not ours. I need my space. Thankfully, Lauren fell right back to sleep, only to wake again at 4am. She must have thought it would be fun to wake me up as well by kicking me in the face. Oh how I LOVE to wake up that way. Resisting my initial urge to kick back, I mumbled nonsense to her, all the while she's still wriggling and kicking and being a total pain the ass. Eventually she did fall back to sleep, but now I'm totally awake. And pissed about it. I take her back to her crib because even in her sleep she's slinging legs and feet in my direction, making it impossible for me to have any peace. Moving her was a big mistake because she started screaming the milisecond her body touched the crib mattress. Full volume screaming. I go back to bed anyway, thinking to myself that this is total bullshit and just go to sleep already! I get mean and nasty when I'm tired. Mr. Chick and I lay there, listening to her, for oh, I don't know, 10 minutes? It felt like an eternity. He went in to try to comfort her, which only made everything worse. He gave up and came back to bed. All the ruckus finally woke Nicholas up (of course), and he staggered into our room to tell us that Lauren was crying.

"Mama, Lauren's crying."
"I know, Nicholas."
"I'm going to sleep with you because she's too loud." And he proceeds to climb on to the bed, over me, and snuggle in between Mr. Chick and I.

So now he's in bed with us. First her, then him. I give up - it's 4:30am for the love of all that is holy - and I can't take it anymore. No one is sleeping, no one is happy. Me most of all. So I go into the kids bedroom and take Lauren out of the crib. She immediately stops screaming and crying. It's gratifying and frustrating all at the same time. I lay down in Nicholas's twin bed with her. We're laying there and I'm so uncomfortable I could start crying myself, and she's calming down but her wee body is still shuddering and hiccupping in that post-sobbing way which just breaks your heart. I'm having all sorts of conflicting thoughts and emotions. I want to simultaneously comfort her and wrap her up and love on her and let all her sweetness fill my heart, but at the same time I'm feeling really angry. Like I want to just throw her into her crib, shut the door, and walk away. More like run away. I don't ask for much, but why don't *I* ever get a break? I feel like I want to run away from my life. Which in turn makes me feel guilty. So I'm riding a delicate see-saw of emotions in the pre-dawn hours: anger, frustration, guilt, compassion, and love. I both want to blame her for how I'm feeling, and yet I know she's blameless. She wants the comfort and security of her mother - ME - and I want the sanity that distance brings. I just need a break from her from time to time, and when she doesn't nap (or barely does) and then must have me at night, too, I don't get what I need. What I crave. What I must have. I'm a damn good mother, but what makes me a good mother is that I'm a complete person. I'm MORE than a mother. But I feel like she's preventing me from ever having the opportunity to feed the rest of me. Which then drains me and makes me feel resentful. Towards her. And she's just a baby, almost 18 mos old. How crazy is that?! To have such negative thoughts towards someone so young and innocent. In my rational moments I know she's not being manipulative, but in the darker moments, like the ones I had this morning, I really start to question that.

And so the complicated mother-daughter relationship starts. The eternal push/pull struggle that will plague us our whole lives. The need to be together vs. the desire to be separate. Only right now the roles are reversed. I'm hoping for some distance and she's the one pulling us together. Soon, that will be opposite and I'll be the one longing for her to stay young and close to me and she'll be pushing me away, creating some distance for herself so she can build her own identity. It's ironic. And all this from one sleepless night of musical beds.

I love the way you write but sorry what you are going through right now hon....I can relate to sleep is horrible...
Keep us posted on this front.
Sleep deprivation is a bitch. I don't think there's anything worse. Nothing goes well when you're not getting enough sleep.

Brody's decided to drop his nap too. Little stinker only ever took one to begin with (usually from 9 a.m. to noon.) It's so hard.

There are some nights that I tell Brent he just has to take him. I just can't deal with it. I go in my room, close the door, and turn a box fan on high so I don't hear him screaming.
It's HARD and everything seems that much harder, more depressing and dismal in those lonely nighttime hours. I hope things work out for you MP.
Is this my entry? Sigh...Ireland is going through the exact same thing, but she does take pretty good naps. She's just a shitty night time sleeper. When she wakes up she's pissed. For the last 7-10 days I've been up with her in the middle of the night doing the same thing you have...flipping from one emotion to the next. I love my daughter with all my heart but there are times I just WANT. A. FREAKIN. BREAK! And some sleep.
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