Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Desperate for Downtime by Anonymous

We have come to the end of our wits. We are teetering on the brink of insanity. We have lost bags upon bags of marbles. We are invariably irritable, frustrated, cantankerous. We have reached a level of desperation that we never thought we would still know nearly a year after the birth of our daughter.
I hear about these babies that sleep through the night after just a few short weeks. I hear about these kids who sleep for 12 hours straight. I hear about the babies that can just be laid down in a crib and easily, tearlessly fall asleep on their own. I don't really considered parenting to be "unfair" -- until it comes to this. How come those parents get to sleep? Sleep deprivation really is an instrument of torchure. I googled it. Its kind of disturbing...
I have tried everything. She has a consistent bedtime routine. Getting her to go to sleep is not so much of the problem. Getting her to stay asleep is an unobtainable aspiration. She will wake up anywhere between one and three in the morning and she will stay awake for hours. The apartment is dark. There are no distractions. We don't talk to her or let her play. We have tried leaving her in her crib and letting her cry at increasing five-minute intervals (Ferber method). We have tried just standing next to her crib and rubbing her back until she goes to sleep (except she won't go to sleep. She will stand there and cry and it is heartbreaking). She uses a pacifier. We keep a fan in her room for white noise. We have tried softly talking, singing, and humming to her. We make sure her needs are met. She gets a new diaper, a bottle, and a blanket. I have spent hours on the internet and reading books. Every suggestion they have offered has been tried and nothing will work. She isn't sleeping too much during the day. She usually only sleeps about an hour or two during the day, even if she only got five hours of sleep at night. She isn't just sitting around all day, not expending any energy, either. She is constantly on the move, exploring everything she can reach, crawling and walking all over the place. She eats a good bit during the day. I just don't understand how she isn't completely exhausted at night or why she won't just stay asleep.
I have been told that when I was a baby, they could just lay me down and I would go to sleep on my own. I find this hard to believe, because for as long as I can remember, I have had trouble falling asleep. Even if I am exhausted (which is pretty much always), I still toss and turn for hours before I can fall asleep. Then the baby will wake up after I've just fallen asleep. So I can barely even rest when she rests. I can't take the medication because I won't hear her, or I won't be able to get up.
Has anyone ever heard of the child's book for exhausted parents? Go the f*** to Sleep, by Adam Mansbach? If you are sensitive to swear words (or have no sense of humor) then I wouldn't suggest it. But if you aren't quite so tightly wound, check this out:

I find myself thinking about this book quite often.
I guess I just needed to vent. Maybe I'm hoping someone has some advice or a method I haven't yet tried. Or maybe I am hoping somoene else can sympathize.


Recovering Church Lady said...

LOL! I actually came across that book a while ago and so wanted to forward it on to Mark & Sophie but I know that people see me as "that tightly wound" and I did not know how it would be received coming from me.

Anyway, I have a comment about one of the sentences in this post. You said that you have "been told" that you went to sleep super easily. OK that had to come from your mom or your dad. I want to say that I think that sometimes parents "forget" stuff when they see their own kids struggle with the grandkids. Those little comments can be so hurtful, I would suggest you chalk it up to the sunny glow of false memories or something. Ha!

Anonymous said...

They have been telling me that since long before I had a child of my own. I'm glad someone enjoyed my post. I was afraid I had been offensive.