By now you have heard me belly ache about my daughter’s sleeping or lack there of. I’m like a broken record whining off key and out of tune on a turn table with no off switch. If you’re too young to know what a turn table is I’m really in trouble (look it up you young’ens). I’m really in trouble anyway because no sleep is bad news according to all of the health reports I’ve read lately. After 21 months of this it’s amazing that I’m not just sitting in a chair staring into space for most of the day or just drooling on myself even. Yuck, I really don’t like saliva. Anyway, you can imagine the advice I have gotten on this topic over the past year. Everyone has a sure cure to remedy the situation. This is my story on how nothing (so far) has worked.
First there was the warm bath before bed, calm and quiet book reading, and dim lighting. It sounds like a nice date with yourself, but in fact this is what all baby books seem to recommend. The problem is my daughter falls asleep easily, she just doesn’t stay asleep – so nice, but no solution. Then there was the feed her a big, heavy meal and of course it’s polar opposite: a small, light meal. Neither have made much difference. Except the big meal made her roll around with gas pains and the small meal made her hungry for a snack in the middle of the night.Why not? We’re up anyway. Light blocking curtains are in place, but she wakes up at 3 am (the witching hour) so no help at all. Then we tried the no nap during the day policy idea which was hell on earth for all involved. The poor kid was exhausted and cranky and frankly so was I. We have put her to bed early and also put her to bed late. By some criminal twist of fate going to bed late always makes her wake up early (and also in the night) and going to bed early also makes her wake up early and in the night. The most traumatic experimental night was a recent one where we attempted to let her cry it out. We were determined not to go into her room. So there we were, in bed in the middle of the night, listening to the soul crushing crying coming from our little girl on the first floor. Before long Jim caved in and went down to right all of our wrongs. It was a good thing he did too because she had somehow gotten her foot over the crib bumper and wedged between the crib and the wall. She was stuck and we were inexcusably guilty for not coming to her rescue. We will probably have to pay enormous therapy bills when she grows up (for us not her) and all because we selfishly wanted to sleep through the night.
It gets worse. Today I clicked on an article from The Week, “Does snoring make kids crazy?” Mostly because I wanted to know what they meant by “crazy” and I was given one more thing to worry about. Apparently children with sleep problems are more likely to develop behavioral problems like hyperactivity by the age of 7. They are talking about ADHD which has been diagnosed in my family so it isn’t much of a stretch to imagine this could be in our future and this label could be thrust upon our sweet and sleepless little child. The article assumes that lack of sleep causes changes in a child’s neurological makeup, but I wonder if the converse is also true. Can a neurological difference be causing the sleep problems? I’m worried, but at the same time at least ADHD is something familiar and something I can understand. Her pediatrician assures me that some kids don’t sleep through the night until they are two and that there is still hope. Hope. Hope is what I am always clinging to without apology and without shame. Hope that someday I will sleep again for eight hours straight and so will she.
As for me I am so tired that sometimes when I wake up in the night I am not sure where I am. I’m a bit disoriented for a moment and have to remember which side of the bed to roll out of before I attempt to climb down the stairs. It’s a sacrifice I am willing to make, but not without complaining a little or a lot or sometimes all day long. I’m stubborn. I’m Irish. I won’t give up even if I have to meet the UPS guy at the door wearing my pajamas (because choosing an actual outfit requires the kind of decision making that my tired brain can’t always muster the energy to do). I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I know this can’t go on forever. Now if I could just turn that light off and find a nice quiet place to rest my eyes for a bit I might be able come up with an appropriate ending for this blog post. That doesn’t look likely.
Here is a link to the article I referred to in case anyone wants to read it: http://theweek.com/article/index/225210/does-snoring-make-kids-crazy