I am so tired. I have two kids, ages 4 and 1-and-a-half. I thought that I’d sleep again eventually — when I wasn’t pregnant, when we were through the newborn stage, once we were through the 4-month sleep regression, once night feedings stopped…
But here we are.
I’m running on three or four hours of sleep today because my 4-year-old woke up in the middle of the night, turned on his music, waited about 20 minutes, and then tried to remake the bed himself after wetting it. My husband got up to try to let me sleep, but it was too late, I was awake. I helped out and then went back to bed.
I then laid awake with anxiety. It was now 3:30 a.m. My 1-year-old has been waking up between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. every day for weeks — with an occasional three-day reprieve where he slept until 5:30 or 6. The feeling of getting woken up just as you fall asleep is worse than simply staying awake. So, there I lay, too anxious about not sleeping to sleep.
And now it’s 4:45 a.m., and the little one is awake. I have not gone back to sleep after the 3 a.m. wake-up. He’s cutting three teeth, and every time he’s teething, he wakes up before 5 a.m. Last week, it was the RSV waking us up. The week before that, it was not one, but two middle-of-the-night ER visits for croup.
No advice please. I’ve tried and Googled it all. To bed earlier, to bed later. Letting him cry, letting him in our bed, soothing him in the crib. Sending Dad, sending Mom. Milk before bed. Sleep hygiene. Tylenol. Prayer. My husband has tried his best to trade with me, but the only person our toddler wants in the morning is MAMA, and he lets the whole house know it. No one wants to take him overnight, either, so we could catch a break, and I don’t blame them. Who would choose to wake up at 4 a.m. (besides a 19-month-old)?
“I don’t know how you do it,” a well-meaning friend said. “I wouldn’t be able to handle it. I can’t go without sleep.”
Am I handling it though? I cried in the kitchen for 15 minutes at 6 a.m. I’m pretty sure I shouldn’t operate a motor vehicle. I keep scheduling work meetings on the wrong days and forgetting to show up. I temporarily have lost the ability to write “one” instead of “won,” “right” instead of “write,” etc. I lose my patience with the kids. I’ve started having anxiety attacks while driving that we’re going to crash on a particular stretch of I-295. I’m so anxious that I’m not going to sleep at night that I can’t even fall asleep in the first place.
My Starbucks order changed this year from a Grande to a Venti.
“Sleep deprivation can cause decreased emotional regulation,” I read in one article on tips to make it through the day on limited sleep.
“Just wait until they’re teenagers!” More well-meaning but utterly useless words. “You’ll miss these days!” I will absolutely miss the feeling of my baby’s soft cheek against mine while I inhale his smell and rub his fuzzy head, ache for it even, but the mere idea that I’ll have to wake my kids up in the morning instead of having already been awake for four hours by 7 a.m.? I could cry at the thought of a full night’s sleep.
“The key to weight loss is sleep!” Guess I’ll be hanging onto this extra 10 pounds of baby weight until my kids are in high school.
This too shall pass, surely. Until then, I’ll just be accruing points at Starbucks and counting down the number of teeth left before we’re done with teething (six). If you see me, please don’t suggest any sleep tips, my emotional regulation is pretty bad right now. Should I just start drinking Diet Mountain Dew?