Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Sleep Deprived

Baby has always been a pretty good sleeper.

Wait, I totally take that back.  She hates naps during the day and is perfectly fine on getting by with little catnaps or no naps.

Baby has always been a pretty good sleeper during the night (after the newborn stage, of course).

I've heard of parents whose children wake up in the middle of the night and the parents complain that they didn't get any sleep. Their children have a mixed up schedule and think waking up means play time.  Thus, they won't go back to sleep and want to play instead. 

I didn't understand what they were talking about.

Before having Baby, I took the phrase "sleeping through the night" very literally.  It meant that a person went to bed at a decent hour, then woke up sometime in the morning.  When I heard parents talking about their children sleeping through the night, that is what I pictured.

After attending baby classes, I learned that sleeping through the night really just means not waking for a stretch of five hours.  Like sleeping from midnight until five in the morning, or some time frame thereof.  Under that classification, Baby has never slept through the night. Ever.

So I made up my own definition for sleeping through the night.

To me, sleeping through the night means waking up every three to four hours for Baby to nurse (yes, all you naysayers, still.  I realize that she is turning one in a few days and still nurses all night long even though according to all the books I am teaching my child terrible habits and spoiling her.  However, if you do a little more research into breastfeeding and working moms, one will learn that breastfed babies, especially those who refuse bottles, switch their cycles around to eat more at night when the mom is around.  Don't criticize, it works for me.  Okay, I'll get off my high horse now).  Baby nurses from a half asleep mommy for a few minutes, then drifts peacefully back to sleep, as do I.

However, this past week it felt like I had a newborn again.

On Monday night Baby woke up at four o'clock in the morning.  I understand why she woke up. She had a stuffy nose and was having a hard time breathing.  Usually I can get her to go right back to sleep.  But not this night.  She woke herself up fully and wanted to play.  She started babbling to herself  (which is really cute because you can see her little brain working while she tries to spit different sounds out), and calling out for "da."  "Da," depending on the inflection and number of times she repeats it, can stand for Husband, me, or the cat (can I be considered fluent in Babyspeak?).  In this case, it was the cats who were aware that we were awake and were now running around and meowing at the doors.  Baby gets very excited when she hears them and wants to join in the running around.

Anyway,  I didn't get to go back to sleep and then had to get up for work.

I was hoping the next night would be different, that Baby would not wake me up at four in the morning.

Well, the next night was different, that's for sure.  Instead of waking me up at four in the morning, she decided to wake up at two.  In the middle of the night.  As in, two hours after midnight, four hours after I went to bed, and four hours before I was supposed to wake up.  I was not a happy camper.

At first I thought that maybe it was close to the time I had planned to get up and Baby just woke up a little early.  But with a glance at the clock I realized this was not so.

The night before, Husband mentioned that I could have woken him up as well (he sleeps through everything).  At two in the morning, I thought it should be his time to wake up.  I whispered to him to wake up.  I shook him.  I shook him harder.  And harder.  I hit him.  I kicked him.  Eventually he rolled over and yelled at me to leave him alone.  So much for that plan.

Baby and I hung out for a little bit while she did her babbling bit again.  I did get her to go back to sleep about an hour later, and when it came time for us to actually get up, I had to wake her so we wouldn't be late.

The next night was four in the morning again.  Did I mention that I had a huge headache the previous day from not getting enough rest?  I was really feeling the effects of not getting enough sleep.  I had a persistent sniffle that wasn't going away and seemed to be developing into something worse.  Didn't Baby realize I had to work?  And needed my sanity?

Thankfully, the next night Baby slept through the night (by my definition, of course).  I woke up in the morning and felt so refreshed, it was amazing.

I'm hoping that was just some sort of phase, perhaps related to her cold or teething.

Now I understand those mothers who say their child kept them up in the middle of the night.  You totally have my respect and I don't mind when you can't think straight or lose track of what you are saying mid-sentence.  Sleep deprivation will do that to a person.

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