Tuesday, August 20, 2013

On sleeplessness, neighbors, and honing patience

I feel like I know you already, someone recently said to me upon meeting them. I read your blog all the time, we have a lot in common. I love cooking, reading, and I love to sleep! I don't want to tell you because I don't want you to feel bad but my kid slept through the night starting at three weeks. I don't know how you do it!

She's right. I love a good meal, a good book, and my do I love sleep, though I dare say not more than the average Joe. Just you know, five consecutive hours would be nice. Even four. Fine, I'll even take three. But mothers of babes who sleep through the night, don't be afraid to share your tales. Sure I covet your rest, but I don't begrudge you. We all have our own unique struggles. Sleep deprivation happens to be mine. 

Since my last post on my baby and his lack of sleep [and by consequence, my lack of sleep] things began improving. We implemented cry-it-out and after three days, voila. We went from once hourly wakings all night long to him sleeping from 7:30-3:00am, and then 3:00-5:00 and 5:15-7:00am. Two night wakings, the two weeks it lasted, was beautiful.

And then, just like that, for seemingly no reason at all, since last week, we're back where we started. I put him down and by 11:00pm he's crying his eyes out. And he won't stop. And if he does, its only to wake up 30 minutes later to cry again. I read that at this age sleep issues can arise because of separation anxiety and while I sympathise, I don't know how to move forward. We're moving him to his own room today, I don't know if this will only serve to have two howling kiddos, as his room will be across the hall from his older brother's, but it's worth a shot to see if it helps for him to have his own space.

How do you do it? K marveled at me this morning after a particularly brutal night. How do you handle him screaming his head off all night, and remain so patient? That's the thing. The difference between what we hold in our hearts and what we do with our actions. I hold his small helpless frame in my arms. I kiss his downy head as he burrows his head into my neck, seeking peace. And I remind myself that he's seeking peace. I have to be compassionate to him because none of this is done with some twisted joy at depriving me of sleep. But in my heart? There is frustration. At the exhaustion. And the migraine snaking around my head.  But I know letting loose the frustration within will only serve to make a tough situation, tougher. I'm frustrated. But I keep it in my heart and not my actions. Not because I'm above the fray but because I know it's essential to making it through the fray.

K's parents were still in town last night so the hubby and I took the opportunity to take a walk in our neighborhood. We ran into a neighbor. We introduced ourselves. He asked if we had children. How old they were. Three and seven months old, we told him. Ah, he smiled. My kids were exactly that age when we moved into this house twenty-four years ago. Now we have the house all to ourselves. 

I watched his receding figure as he walked his dog, and tried to imagine twenty-four years down the road. A time when this house will be devoid of scribbled drawings and fingerprints coating the windows. It's hard to picture it but one day if my prayers are answered, these children will grow up. And one day, I will forget the sleepless nights and only remember the soft downy hair, and tiny noses pressed against my shoulder. And one day, I will miss this. All of it.  


In the meantime I will soak in those rare days I can walk down the aisles of the grocery store toting not a cookie monster in a shopping cart, but just a basket in hand [I did this yesterday and I ended up almost meditating in front of the soy sauce, the ability to stand in one spot at the grocery store without worrying that a hand might dart out to grab a glass bottle was downright surreal]. And I will continue to reign in the patience required for the sleepless nights. Because this too, all of it, shall pass. And all of this, all of it, is beautiful.

It's not what you look at that matters, its what you see.- Henry Thoreau

6 comments:

sprogblogger said...

This is just lovely.
I know you're working on fiction right now (at least I think so) but I truly hope that a beautiful, meditative book on parenthood is in your future. (And mine, because I'd run out & BUY it in a heartbeat.)
Anyone whose posts on the beauty of sleepless nights can make me weep in agreement (and I'm not even acutely sleep-deprived today!) should be doing this for a living. (the writing, not the sleep deprivation, you know.) Thank you for ever-so-gently bringing me back to what's important here, the seeking and giving of comfort. It's not what you look at, but what you see. Thank you--I think I really needed to hear that this morning.

Rachael said...

Every time you post about the future and one day missing these moments, I tear up. Your writing is beautiful. I agree with Sprogblogger--I would buy a parenthood book from you as well. Well, I'd also buy a novel you authored as well, since I love reading!

iamstacey said...

What a sweet post. A good reminder for me, too.

mystic said...

Excellent post

"I watched his receding figure as he walked his dog, and tried to imagine twenty-four years down the road. A time when this house will be devoid of scribbled drawings and fingerprints coating the windows. It's hard to picture it but one day if my prayers are answered, these children will grow up. And one day, I will forget the sleepless nights and only remember the soft downy hair, and tiny noses pressed against my shoulder. And one day, I will miss this. All of it. "

Aisha said...

Susan, Rachael, I'm on a final round of edits with my agent to publishers for my book and your words felt like a hug to me. Thank you so so much for your sweet words of encouragement.

Stacey, glad it helped!

Mystic, thank you so much, coming from you it means a lot.

Adam Buller said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading what you all have to say...
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