I know I'm not the only one who can't remember what it feels like to get a whole night's sleep. I'm not the only one to wonder what it's like to feel rested, normal, lucid. I know there are others out there like me, feeling the dismal effects of months or perhaps years of sleep deprivation.
First there are the early warning signs, which at first are quite funny really (at least they make good blog material). Then you become a bit desperate, and so you try one type of sleep training. And when that doesn't work you begin resorting to other strategies that might work. Then, finally, there's a break in the clouds and something works and sleep comes back to you in all its blissful glory like a long lost lover.
Then, it ends. Bang. Goodbye. Hahaha, I was just teasing. What? You didn't really think it was going to be this easy did you? You foooool!
I'm writing this, not because I'm looking for advice (although... anyone? I'll pay you... in, uh, cookies?) but because I feel confident that this phase, as difficult as it is, will pass. I'm not looking for an oh-my-gawd-how-did-I-never-think-of-that! solution, because I don't think there is one. Sometimes an answer isn't what's needed - just the willingness to be patient. The horrible truth, though I loathe to write it, is that I may not get a full night's sleep for a while... Like, another six months. Ouch.
To those who, like me, find themselves walking around in a state of semi-conscious delirium at 3 am., preparing bottles, soothing sobs, exhausted, alone: hey, hello, hi, I'm there too. And if you're silently beating your head against the wall, peeved by the unfairness of it all and wondering when it's all going to end - hello.
There's no shame in chugging the coffee straight from the pot. Or catching a few moments rest by telling the kids it's time to play let's see who can lie still the longest! Desperate times call for desperate measures.
A child development specialist recently warned me, during a discussion about sleep (ha), that all this lack of sleep, this go-go-go lifestyle, this never-resting, non-stop pace, would one day catch up to me. And I was all oh really? Oh great, that's very helpful, thanks so much! I'll just go right home and get eight hours sleep right now!
(That's sarcastic, in case you didn't get that.)
The truth is, there might not be a solution right now. It's hard to hear. The books say your child should be sleeping through the night by XYZ age. Your doctor tells you sleep training will answer all your problems. You want a solution, so, so bad. Because in every other scenario in life, there is a solution - minutes away: I need information - there's google. I need a medical diagnosis - there's my doctor. I want Thai food at 2 am. - there's a place down the road.
I want my kids to sleep. Sorry, this service is unavailable, please try again later.... beeeeep.
I'm looking forward to the day I don't wake up feeling like I've been backed over by a double-decker bus. And I'm pretty sure soon there'll be a time when I feel bright-eyed and bushy tailed. I'm pretty sure...
And until then there's always Red Bull.