At 5:30 this morning I woke up to watch the baby scream and throw his bottles of creams and massage oil on the floor. Seriously, who does that? Who wakes up at the crack of dawn on New Years Day to smash bottles of the massage oil that someone gently rubs into your perfect skin every night after bath? Is he the emperor of some distant land and I just didn’t get the memo?
Last night, I was up listening to the countdown trying to get Holden back to sleep. He woke up again, but I must have been so deep asleep because I only heard him when David went in to see him. I don’t think that has ever happened, where I haven’t heard him at all.
David said when he went in, he pointed to his bookshelf, “Book! Book! Book!’ he said. David said, “No book.” And he screamed. This morning when I was getting dressed, the baby passed me two small pieces of scrunched up kleenex. David puts Kleenex in his ears when he is rocking or soothing Holden to sleep and he is screaming and crying in his dad’s ear.
It is hard to explain what it is like to have a baby that really doesn’t sleep well. Sometimes, I can look back on the last year and realize how far we have come. Holden doesn’t nurse during the night anymore. His naps are kind of regular and he can get to sleep with a variety of parenting methods (rocking, patting the bum, stroller rides.). People without kids look terrified when you tell them your 18 month old still never sleeps through the night. And then probably, because I know I would have thought the same thing, I’m sure they say to themselves “That won’t be my kid!”. Some people have kids that sleep and when you tell them about your child they say, “Well by this age he really should be…..” But then they trail off because they recognize you might rip them apart limb by limb if they continue. Then there are a special breed of moms who seems to relish every beautiful moment spent with their children. And they tell you that their kids didn’t sleep , but they loved being up with them in the night and having that special time.
That is the worst, because more than any other suggestion or comment, you feel like the worst parent on earth. Through their tenderness and patience, you can see your own failures as a person to live in the moment, to make each moment count, to enjoy a painfully brief childhood. When the baby cries for me in the middle of the night, I actually dread seeing him. But then I dread going to sleep too, because I know I will wake up too soon and be met with an angry little boy. If you gave me a choice in that moment when the baby cries, either go in and help him back to sleep – or to get punched in the face and he will magically fall asleep. I would get punched in the face. Every time.
Do you know the scene in Fight Club where Edwards Norton’s character talks about insomnia? He describes his life without sleep as being a copy of a copy of a copy.
That isn’t quite it. It feels more like the meanest, ugliest copy of a copy. When you don’t sleep properly, it is hard not to get things all twisted up and wrong. I find it hard to start things, It is hard to recover properly from practice. It is hard not to feel blinding self-pity. It poisons everything.
So sleep plan: 0. Holden’s grumpy sleep deprived mood: 1
Today, I’m throwing shade all over 2012.