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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

He speaks but doesn't sleep

Last night the boy woke up at around 10:30pm. The husband went into his room to see if he could settle the little one back to sleep. Sometimes that works, sometimes that doesn't. It didn't work. Instead the boy started crying and yelling. Through the wall and over the baby monitor I heard "maam, maam". My heart expanded. He was calling me. He wanted me.

Lucky for the boy I was feeling so much love for him then and as I took him to bed with me because by the time morning rolled around I was feeling anything but. Instead I was frustrated, angry and irritated. He had been up six, or was it seven, times during the night. Each time I would nurse him back to sleep. Every time I tried to take the boob away, thinking that he was asleep already, he would howl and moan. It was a long night.

I had come to accept that he is up at night. At ten months he still wakes twice a night, never sleeping more than three or four hour stretches. I can manage that. What I can't manage is a repeat of last night.

Today has been a long day. Already tired to begin with, when I couldn't get the boy to sleep for his morning nap I was close to the breaking point. He would fall asleep in my arms only to wake whenever I put him down in the crib. I managed to bundle the two kids in the stroller and we headed out in the pouring rain. With a chai latte for me and a muffin for the girl I pushed the stroller and cried.

I am trying to be the parent I want to be, but I feel like I am failing miserably. My temper has been quick to flare and my patience short. I feel like the girl is bearing the brunt of my moods. I have had no time today for her usual almost-three year old antics. I want to be able to talk to her and teach her through these situations. Instead, if I have to tell her one more time not to push her brother I may scream.

I am very frustrated with the boy for not sleeping for me, either last night, this morning or even this afternoon. He did finally fall asleep in the stroller and the husband manged to get him down for a nap when he came home early from work sick. But why won't he sleep for me? And how do I cope?

I love the boy, I cherish him, I usually enjoy him. It touches me that he has been saying my name today "maam, mam" and reaching for me. But, honestly, I would rather that he sleep.


  1. I hope the day ends on the same bright note that it did at 4am this morning and tomorrow brings brighter moment (even if it's not weather related). Rain, early mornings and a child who won't sleep is a lethal combination. Try not to be too hard on yourself. You know you are a good parent. It's just one of those days that gets written off and has no lasting impact on anyone.

    I happen to be in the same boat as you today. Up at 4:30. The only naps he had were in the car. Patience ran very thin and I found myself saying things to him that I never would if I wasn't so sleep deprived. Tomorrow will be a better day. It just has to.

    Sleep well.

  2. I agree with Julie. We all have these moments where we feel frustrated and at the end of our rope only to add on the heap of guilt for feeling anything but pure unconditional love for our child. What an unfair irony!

    The truth of it is there is no other job in the world that is harder than being a mom. There are no vacation days, no overtime pay, and somedays not even a coffee break or even a quiet minute to pee! In any other situation you would not expect yourself to be chipper and easy after 18/24 hrs of grueling nonstop work. So don't expect yourself to be in this case. The reason it feels so sucky is because you have accepted the magnitude of how important what you are doing is. Lets face it, some days if they are fed and bathed at the end of the day that ought to count as success!

    We will never be perfect... sometimes we'll be downright grumpy... but as long as you are not careless and your kids feel loved (they do) and secure you are the best mom they could ever have.

  3. I found with both of my kids that they went through phases of being good sleepers and being really horrible sleepers. I started having a little list in my head of things that I would consider during those really bad times. It helped me to come up with solutions, things that might help make the situation better, but it also helped me to be more patient and to understand that it would pass.

    Some of those things are:
    - Did he get enough fresh air and exercise? Could I add a few more hours in the next day?
    - Is he teething? Would some homeopathic teething remedy or in really bad cases some tylenol help us all get some rest?
    - Is it too hot or too cold in the room?
    - Is there a developmental milestone he is working on (if so, there is no immediate solution, but it will pass)
    - could it be something he is eating? could I make some dietary changes?
    - Is there anything overstimulating him?

    It may be none of those things, but at least having that little list gave me some things other than my lack of sleep to focus on!

    Hope you get some rest soon...

  4. I think that there is something developmental going on. It wasn't until the end of the day that I realized "duh" he is trying to walk. I was holding his hand and he actually took two steps on his own. Thinking that has made me a bit more understanding towards him. :-)