Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Sleep.... the elusive dream state - Dec 10, 2007

Sleep - ah, the relationship I love to hate. I am obsessed and repulsed at the same time. At times, it is all I want to do, yet the time I have I like to spend awake, doing.
As a mother of two boys (who STILL wake up in the middle of the night to crawl into our bed) I have had my share of sleepless nights. I have also spent portions of my life studying or working during the night, since it was the only "free" time I had. I generally have a night owl complex. Once the boys are asleep, I am wide awake... balancing the checkbook, making earrings, folding laundry, blogging, talking to Jason while he is "working", and generally, wasting time that I could be sleeping. In the morning I am mad at myself for staying up too late and by midafternoon, I loathe my ultra bad habit! I torture myself with sleep deprivation for a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 5 days and then spend two to three days going to bed at the same time as the kids... but it is so disconcerting when I wake up feeling refreshed that I can't continue for longer than 3 days in a row.
Last weekend is my ultimate example of the frustration of sleep deprivation and the irony of actually desiring the thing you loathe.
We stayed in a hotel because Connor had to have teeth filled at a dentist out of town (cavities and the guilt associated with not flossing my child's teeth daily can be found on a different blog not yet written). Connor crashed out right away and we finally made Grady lie down after the front desk called us and told us that the people downstairs were complaining about the loud noises in the room up above (he was running back and forth bouncing his new Disney Princess ball (like a PRO, by the way) and we didn't have the heart to tell him to stop, yet another example of my horrid parenting skills).
So anyway, think hotel bed (ahhhh, SOOO stinking comfortable compared to the cheapo old mattress we have at home (NEVER buy a no-flip pillow top at a "deal" price). No mess or stress cluttered in the room with me; I was SO ready for a good night's sleep. As I'm lying there, waiting for sleep ALL these things I have been repressing come rushing into my mind (work issues, worries about people I know, making sure we don't miss the free morning breakfast, etc, etc.- okay, so I hadn't been repressing the morning breakfast thing, but it did cross my mind once or twice....)
Anyway, I was so irritated, but I talked myself through it all, prayed about the people I worry about and the work issues I have little to no control over, and finally felt calmer and started to doze, ahhhh almost to wandering mind, pre dream state and - "AHHHHHHHHH!!!" - Connor yells in his sleep, something about 'that toy is his'.... argh. I doze again, and Connor flips over, so I jump up to make sure he isn't going to fall out of bed....
Oh, this is the phobia I forgot to mention about hotel rooms.... I CANNOT stay in hotel rooms with my kids in the bed next to me without spending the whole night worried that they will fall out of bed. Jason laughs at me when I bring up this very important issue. He says they fall all the time, and they are fine. I say hotel beds are generally two to three times higher than normal, regular beds (especially toddler beds) and I don't want them to be traumatized. So he thinks it's funny; I spend the whole night terrified.
So, phobia activated, I spend the next 4 1/2 to 5 hours starting at every movement. And for some reason, Connor is sleeping actively that night. He yells at a playmate or twitches extra emphatically approximately every 10 minutes. I doze, he twitches, I jump... repeat. Then Grady chimes in... Doze, twitch, jump, twitch, yell (Grady), kick (Connor), cry out (Grady), stand up to look at them (me, duh), repeat, repeat, repeat.
By 2:30 I am inwardly screaming and sobbing I am so tired. Let us add to the symphony here that Jason is not so peacefully snoring next to me. The hotel bed is so awesome that he doesn't feel it every 5 minutes when I sit up or get out of bed to check on the children precariously sleeping on the edge of the dangerously high mattress. If I was a more evil person or more vindictive wife, I would have "accidentally" smacked Jason or purposefully woken him up. But because I like to cage my frustrations and inwardly smolder, I allowed him his rest. Every twitch, yell, jump, snore added to the furnace of resentment burning inside of me.
By 4:00, the kids' dream patterns finally calmed down and I leapt almost hysterically into sleep.... ahhh, dream state... NOT! Grady woke up crying that he was thirsty. So I got water. For 15 minutes our night (um, early morning) rythym was whine, sit, drink, set glass down, close eyes, repeat. At 4:45, Grady had to go pee. And remembering the frustration and anticipation of potty training, I didn't have the heart to tell him to pee in his flipping diaper and let me sleep!!! So up we got, pee we went, more water he drank and once again.... ahhhh the teasing. I believe the orchestra broke at 5:15 a.m. I did actually get a couple precious hours of light sleep.
But I will not soon forget how I felt on the night I wanted the thing I usually avoid. I wanted sleep more than I ever have in my life. I felt that I almost fully understood the torture of sleep deprivation. I regretted every night I have intentionally stayed up beyond my bedtime. I wished so hard for the hours of sleep I had scoffed at just the week before, that I even went so far as to consider going to bed on time in the future. That has obviously not changed, but I know now that my children are more effective villains than I will ever be. They invent ways of stealing my sleep much more memorably than I ever have. And I am sure this is only the beginning of the end of me!!

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