I’m Tired

There’s a lovely “What I Did On My Summer Vacation” post steeping in my draft file, but you’ll have to wait a few days to read about the sheer exhilaration that came from sharing a beach house with some of our nearest and dearest.

Because I’m really.fucking.tired.

I’m tired of not sleeping in my own bed. Yes we got home on Sunday night, but my jet-lagged toddler has been shrieking my name before my head even hits the pillow. So there I sleep, curled up at the bottom of his bed, praying that he doesn’t kick me in the face for the 13th time.  He, however, is perfectly content and cozy with Mommy squashed between the bedrail and the footboard, because he knows I’m close to him.  Isn’t that what parenting is really all about anyway?  Sleeping with your head on Curious George and your feet underneath a handkerchief-sized lovie blanket, because it promotes healthy attachment?
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It’s so sweet to roll over unsquish my limbs and un-crook my neck and see this face.  But those hours don’t really count in the sleep bank, if you know what I mean.  I’m in the red, according to the sleep bank.  I’m foreclosing on my bed.  Let me just run with the crappy metaphor, ok?  I’m exhausted.  You’re lucky I’m even stringing sentences together.

I’m tired of trying to keep this house in order. Tired of dishes and laundry and unpacking and finally clearing the floor in our bedroom, just so Max can dump not one but FIVE puzzles back onto the floor.  Thank you Cousin Sally, he really does love the puzzles, but does he have to love all FIVE of them at the same exact time without putting a single one back together??

I’m tired of watching the hours that I have “free” when Max is with the sitter or in preschool slip away because all I want to do is sit very still and stare at the wall. Or maybe browse Facebook. Or Twitter. Or People.com. Instead I run errands, and clean up messes, and cross things off of other people’s lists. When what I really want to do is SLEEP.  And ok, maybe look at Twitter.

I’m tired of feeling like I am the only person on this planet who has a toddler with this level of energy. A toddler with a certified, genuine, you may not be able to label it but I am SURE that it is a sleep disorder so help me god. I’m tired of hearing “Won’t he just fall asleep?” and getting evil stares from the people behind us on the plane when I let him roll on the floor in front of our seats at midnight because that is how he self soothes. No I can’t just put him in my lap. No I can’t just rub his back. I have to bend over so that my nose is close to the floor and whisper in his ear that “Mommy’s here honey. It’s ok. You’re ok” while he’s reaching underneath the airplane seat and attempting to remove the flotation device.  And trying to touch the people’s toes that were sitting behind us.  He has to wiggle and kick and stretch. It doesn’t matter that it is now 1 am and bedtime has come and gone. It doesn’t matter that he’s exhausted. He just.can’t.stop.moving.

I’m tired of living over the river and through the woods. Turning down playdates because I have to be no less than 10 1/2 minutes from home, in case he falls asleep in the car and I need to transfer him for a nap. Because we still drive him around for naps. Sleep disorder, and all. I’m tired of the sick feeling that I get in my stomach when I count the hours between “But Mommy, it IS wake-up time!” and “But Mommy, it not night-night time! It not yet dark!”. I’m tired of the terrifying reality that comes with being the only one in charge for all 15 of those hours. There isn’t enough coffee in the world to convince me that I’ll make it sometimes, which is why I’ve started to understand how those moms on Oprah turned to meth.

Today my sweet, kind, perfect boy woke up at 5:45 am. Slept for ten minutes in the car this afternoon and then woke up when I tried to transfer him for a nap. He did the kiss/rub cheeks thing that makes me melt as I carried him upstairs. An hour later we were in the car again, driving along the coast as he stared peacefully out the window. “Mommy, you need to go to sleep.” he said, wide awake.

I hate that I am so tired. I hate that being tired becomes an excuse for the “Bad Mommy” behavior that I am not proud of. It’s fine if we eat dinner in front of the TV, he’s so tired and cranky that at least he’ll eat this way. Yes, you can leave all of your toys scattered across the kitchen floor. I’m too tired to argue with you….or pick them up myself, for that matter. STOP hitting the table with your fork. DO NOT climb on that counter. NO you can not pull all of the leaves off that poor tree.

So I push through. Force myself to lower my voice and soften my eyes. Will myself to stay awake. Beg my inner resolve to comply. I’m afraid that if I don’t, I will miss the moments that matter most. Like today at dinner, when we turned off the TV and sat at the table together, just Max and I.

We looked at his alphabet flashcards, and holy crap, he knows his letters?! The credit goes to Michelle and preschool, because I had no idea he was ready for that yet. Mother.of.the.year. We talked about what he was going to bring to school for lunch tomorrow, and he put on a wicked smile. “Salt!?” he teased. “Pepper!” he laughed. And as my grin spread across my face and eased the fatigued panic that had been plaguing me all day, he said “I know Mommy! I bring some BACON in my lunch!” And we cracked up together, you know…because he goes to a Jewish preschool and all.

Sleep, apparently, is for the weak. But bacon? Bacon just makes everything better.

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Comments:

  1. Sleep deprivation sucks hard. I’m guessing it’s been going on for quite some time. The early childhood educator in me has to wonder if you’ve talked about it with hid pediatrician? Does he sleep/nap at school? I hope you get some relief soon.

    • Mama By The Bay says:

      Thanks Robbie! We’ve been brainstorming on this with his Pediatrician/GI clinic/Sleep Specialists for a few years now, and everyone is still stumped. Best guess is that it’s a combination of reflux/GI and behavior/age. Either way, I still get frustrated 🙂 And nope, no nap at school….that would be SO unfair for Mommy though, if he did!

  2. I’m with Robbie, curious about how Max does with nap at preschool.

    I know the tiredness, believe me. I know the I’m so tired I’m angry at everyone, yelling at everyone, dammit, just leave me alone. The one movie while you eat is fine tired. The chicken nuggets just for tonight so I can sit still a few minutes tired. The not right now, I’m tired tired. And I try, Kim. I try to soften my eyes and lower my voice and unclench my jaw and untighten my shoulders. It doesn’t always work. This shit is hard. Feeling bad about being mean mommy just drains me even more. I can’t imagine tacking on sleep issues too (for the kids, not me; I think I’ll have sleep issues forever now).

    I do hope it gets better. Trying to combat the fatigue is tiring in and of itself. Although we need to say no to meth and crack (tequila is so NOT on my list of no’s), bacon is a good soother.

    • Mama By The Bay says:

      Arnebya, you’re so soft-spoken and kind, I can’t imagine you as a “mean mommy”!! But it makes me feel better to know that you have your days too :)And yes, chicken nuggets are a major dinner staple at our house. That, and mac n cheese. The microwave is my friend.

  3. That picture is precious! It is all worth it just to have the few minutes of quality time, right? I agree, bacon makes things better! (I mailorder mine and have it in the freezer..ha ha)

  4. There is no shame in using sitter time to sleep.

    I’m firmly in the happy mom makes for happy family camp.

    Which means, in my book, that there’s also no shame in making your kid sleep alone in his bed. Nowhere in the mommy contract does it say you must (try to) sleep like a dog curled at the child’s feet.

    And if you’re literally so tired you can’t sleep (yes, a very real and awful condition), talk to your GP.

  5. Mama By The Bay says:

    Mari, your “sleep like a dog” comment just stopped me in my tracks! Craaaaap. When you put it THAT way 🙁 And thank you for your sweet words…great reminders to take care of myself too!

  6. Kim, I SO feel your pain! My girls don’t even have major sleep issues (thank God) and i still feel like a zombie all the time. A very grouchy, quick tempered, can’t find my keys, always late for life, zombie.
    But it will get better, right? We will sleep again…in a few years. Maybe we could do a nanny-share, or better yet, a night nurse!
    Thank you for writing this blog, you are my hero! 🙂
    Ps. The bit about bacon made me laugh out loud!

  7. Hi again. You could always get him a dog and assign the dog to ward off bad dreams.
    Kidding. Only get a dog if the adult at home most of the time really, really wants the dog.

  8. Maybe it’s a stage that both of our cherubs are going through. Mine wakes up on an hourly basis every single night. When I go in to rock her, she goes back to sleep for a little while. If I ignore her to “cry it out” she just screams until the entire Bay Area is awake. Perhaps she is also waking up Max? I am so freakin tired I want to puke. And, in fact, did just yesterday on the dentist. See, it could be so much worse. You could be a barf-a-saurus rex on your hygenist. xo T.

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