Thursday, January 17, 2008

Journey of the Sleep-Deprived

I need sleep. I walk around at work feeling like I'm trying to communicate underwater. I forget things. Yesterday morning I was in the shower when I realized I had forgotten to go to a dinner Tuesday evening for adult ed teachers (I'm teaching a class this winter--more on that later). I was mentally kicking myself for being so spacey, when M came in the bathroom to tell me that the Beach Boys were on the radio at gymnastics the previous day. Only it took him about 16 sentences to convey this information. When I came out of the shower I could hear Z bawling downstairs. When I got down there, I could see he was mad (completely undone) because M was eating cereal out of HIS bowl. Because I had just gotten up and had a semi-peaceful five minutes in the shower, I was able to use my best empathic voice, "M is eating his cereal out of your bowl and now you're really really sad. Papa didn't know that was your bowl. You can use another bowl today and have your bowl tomorrow." That didn't work. He started crying about the cereal, pointing to the cabinet. I shuffled around for another box of cereal and he just screamed, "no, no!" to everything I proffered, finally getting his point across that he wanted to close up the box of Shredded Spoonfuls and tape it closed, so that he could open it himself. By the time we accomplished all this M was done eating and I was able to rinse out his bowl, give it to Z, remove the tape from the box and pour him cereal. Whew.

Fifteen minutes later, I had everyone dressed and we started to get ready to go out. I got E in his snow suit, boots, coat, hat and mittens. M got himself ready. Z ran to get his vest--his new favorite article of clothing, a red nylon vest that he discovered in the drawer that must be at least 20 years old, with a frayed zipper and those really shiny silver snaps. He put it on himself and I zipped it up and proceeded to put on his snowpants. And he flipped out because he didn't want the snowpant straps over the vest. Now if I was still the calm, relaxed mommy of 15 minutes ago, I would have calmly removed the vest, fastened the snowpants, replaced the vest and moved on to coat, boots, hat and mittens. But at this point I was fed up, we were running close to missing the bus, and I just didn't want to deal with a two year old acting like a two year old. So when he started kicking when I tried to put his boots on, I opened the front door and put him on the snowy front step in socks. Still he kicked and screamed when I tried to put on the boots and C came in to find me crying in a heap on the floor and Z in full blow-out fit. C took over, I got my own stuff together, and we pulled into daycare at the exact same moment as the bus. Inside daycare, Z continued to dramatize over the vest, needing to hang it on a hanger just so, without any interference from me.

He was clearly really tired, and so was I. I had been really excited the night before, because I'd been able to sneak out of the bedroom while E and Z were still awake, and they didn't notice, cry or come after me. Unfortunately, C took that moment to come upstairs and change clothes, so E got up and came and joined me in bed where I was writing. I fell asleep, and so did Z in his own bed, E fell asleep in C's spot. At some point in the night though, E fell on the floor (either C moved him to his own bed, and he came back, or C moved him to my side of the bed) and I must have been really deep asleep, because C had already gotten out of bed, come around to my side and picked E up before I really realized what happened. Not long after that Z joined us in bed and proceeded to spend a really restless night, talking in his sleep and tossing around. So of course I spent a really restless night. In the shower yesterday morning, even before I melted down at and with Z, I decided I need to get more (better) sleep--no more lying down with E and Z until they fall asleep (and so do I) and no more E and Z in my bed in the middle of the night.

After I went away for a weekend in November, they stayed in their own bed that weekend and for several days afterward, but resumed their nighttime rambles. The only solution I could think of is to go away again. But since that's not really in the cards right now, I decided to work on the front end--getting them to go to sleep by themselves, so I don't disrupt my own sleep with a nap from 8-9:30 p.m. and because maybe, just maybe those books that say if a kid puts himself to sleep at the beginning of the night, he'll be able to put himself back to sleep in the middle of the night are right. So last night after I tucked everyone in, I turned off the light and stood at the end of the bed rather than crawling in with them. "Mom, aren't you going to sleep with us?" M asked. "No. Shhh." "Mama deep us?" E asked. "No, shhh." "My mama, seep us?" Z asked. "No. Shhh." And after they quieted down, I tiptoed ever so quietly to my own room. I didn't want to turn the light on right away and attract their attention, so I lay down on the bed in the dark. And woke up at 9:30.


  1. OH NO! But, they are right that the best way to keep a kid in bed at night is to have him or her fall asleep without you there.

    Just, um, try doing jumping jacks next time instead of lying down on your bed.

  2. baby steps. you could come stay at our house for the weekend.


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