What I need

I’m in a weird place today. Internet is not always my friend. I’m thinking of banning myself from my iTouch. I came here to one of my favorite bar/cafes after lunch today (and after wandering around for half an hour trying to find it, staring at everything around me as if I’d just realized that I’m in Albania…) because of the free wireless, and after checking my e-mail ended up in a downward spiral of completely inane celebrity gossip.

Gimli has extra work this week because the big-wigs from the international support offices are all here for a conference and so there’s all these extra meetings and receptions and whatnot. He didn’t get home last night until 9:30, long after Oz was in bed, and some time after Illyria threw a screaming fit about sleeping in her own bed. She usually naps in the extra twin bed in our bedroom and she has asked before to sleep there at night, but normally we just say no and that’s that. Last night I held her in a death-grip on my lap as she screamed and cried and begged to sleep in Mama and Dada’s room, pulling on my shirt as though by sheer force of will she could move us both there. As I usually do in these situations, I tried to mirror back her feelings to help us both identify what’s going on – “You want to sleep in Mama and Dada’s room?” – “Yeah!” Her whole body relaxed and curled into me. “What don’t you like about your room? Is it too hot?” No. “Is it too cold?” No. “You don’t want to be alone?” Yeah!

How could I say no to that?

So I carried her to her napping-bed, and that’s where she slept soundly all night long. She woke up once saying “need book – got stuck – got it!” as she pulled her bedtime book out of the crack between the bed frame and the mattress, but she didn’t stir when at 4:30 I got up to use the bathroom or at 5:00 when Oz woke up for the day.

So we’re thinking of making this a permanent change. We’ll move Oz into her room, where his crying at night won’t disturb the neighbors, and we’re going to make another effort at hard-core CIO.

Gimli and I are so deep in sleep debt that any little thing sets us off. We’re on hair-triggers. I can’t even remember what it was this morning, actually I think it was something Illyria said when I came back from putting Oz down for his nap, but I didn’t say anything, I just walked straight out to the balcony and started folding laundry that had hung out all night to dry. I just had to be alone for a few minutes.

We have got to start getting more sleep.

I’m going to give up the iTouch, much as I don’t want to. I take it to bed with me and end up reading Jezebel and playing Snood for an hour. I need that sleep. I use that hour to unwind, to “reward” myself for a long day of parenting, but really it’s not helping me. It would be better to do a few stretches and then just start counting sheep.

And we have to break Oscar of the habit he’s in of waking every 15-20 minutes from 3:30 or 4:00 a.m. until he’s up for the day at 5:00 or 5:30. It’s killing Gimli, who is doing night duty these days. My suspicion is that Oscar knows that at some point in the early morning Mommy will come in and nurse him, but he doesn’t know when it’s time, so every time he wakes up he checks – is it time yet? – crying until someone comes, and becoming more and more insistent until Gimli breaks down and goes to get me (usually around 5 a.m. Which is why I need to be going to bed at 8:30 and not 10:30 p.m.) So I’m going to start setting a musical alarm for 5:15 (and gradually extend it, I think, over time, to 6:00) and that’s when Mommy comes in. So hopefully he’ll catch on that when he hears the music, that’s when Mommy is coming, and not until then. No music, put yourself back to sleep.

He’s completely capable of putting himself to sleep, it’s just those few hours just before dawn when he simply WON’T.

Oh, and about Illyria sharing a bedroom with mom and dad, in terms of our privacy – we haven’t been sleeping in the same bed together since August, or maybe even earlier, anyway, due to Oscar’s night waking. We’ve been taking turns on night shift, sleeping on a mattress in the hallway outside his room. One person gets the master bedroom, the other person gets the corridor. We have a little cuddle time every evening and then part ways. It sucks, but our thinking was that at least one person would be getting a decent night’s sleep – although it hasn’t actually played out that way and NOBODY is getting a decent night’s sleep – and it’s another reason we need to be DONE with the night waking.

Maybe at some point Illyria will agree to move into Oscar’s former room, which is probably where she should have been from the beginning, but at this point our main priority is sleeeeeep.

I’m in this strange place right now where I don’t really know what I’m feeling, I’m just too tired. I’m on my fourth cup of coffee and ready to keel over. We have a play group date this afternoon at 4 with a French lady I met at the park one day, which should be fun. She’s really nice, too bad they’re moving back to France in December. Anyway my social anxiety is kicking in a bit but hopefully the other moms there will be nice.

I have some ambitious work goals for November, since one of the other families that Dhurata works for will be going back to the US for 2 months, and she’ll be able to work for us four days a week (!) So I’m hoping to about double my work hours from October. My own version of NaNoWriMo.

I wish I could take a personal weekend retreat for meditation, yoga, sleep, reading. Maybe when I’m retired.


3 Responses to “What I need”

  1. slowmamma Says:

    Oh no. I’m sorry about the lack of sleep. Sleep deprivation is a very effective form of torture. In fact, those days were so brutal that we just gave in to co-sleeping and never looked back. I’m not recommending that, or anything in particular. I just wanted to send some support and wishes that things settle soon.

    • Elizabeth Says:

      Thank you!
      Yeah, we’ve thought about co-sleeping and tried it a few times – after all, we had Illyria in our bed for two years (after which I swore I would do things differently with #2…) The problem has been that Oscar nurses all night and I end up getting actual sores, aside from not being able to sleep while he’s nursing (can’t seem to get comfortable – I guess cause we’re both tummy sleepers). I have nothing against co-sleeping per se, it just has never really worked for us, either. 😦

  2. Rachel Says:

    I’m sorry you are still struggling with sleep. I usually let LG sleep with me when M is out of town if he asks. He doesn’t ask often but I figure it does no harm for him to sleep with me on occasion.

    As far as the early morning waking, I agree that Oscar knows you’ll come eventually so he’s trying to figure out when. That is why CIO is so hard, you have to be all in or all out or it’s miserable for everyone. Will he play with a toy or look at books in his crib? Maybe you could put something in there after he is asleep. It works with Sis but she is quite a bit older.

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