Thursday, April 29, 2010

On Sleep

Sleep is a commodity wasted on the young. Oh, sweet sleep! I remember long bouts with you through the lazy, school-free summers of my youth. I miss that feeling of nowhere to be and nothing to do. To wallow in pure laziness until only biological needs or lunchtime hunger forced me to finally roll out of bed. I remember scheduling my college courseload so that I could sleep till 10 a.m. every morning.

As I grew older and I started working, we only saw each other on the weekends. But those Saturday and Sunday mornings were like no time had passed at all. I slept effortlessly...heavily. I would awake refreshed and ready to go.

Things are different now.What happened to us? I hardly ever see you any more. I've got bags under my eyes. There are some gray hairs. I'm awake at 7 a.m. every single day.

I'm sorry that things haven't worked out. You see, we have this baby named Mad Dog. He's spectacular in almost every way. My heart is so full of love for him that I think I'm going to need an angioplasty just to scrape it all out some day. He's smart, fun, kind, and really cute.

Something happens to him when the sun goes down. An evil demon enters his body. This demon doesn't like you, sleep, very much. You make him very angry. Mad Dog rages through the night. He coughs and shrieks. He gets sweaty and bangs his little fists on the rail of his crib. He throws every toy, pacifier, stuffed animal, or blanket out his crib. Nothing will soothe his primal rage except to join his parents in bed.

We tried the no-cry sleep solution, the plenty of cry sleep solution, and wishful thinking. We consulted the Oracle at Delphi, our pediatrician, and the people at coffee shop. Finally, after my eye bags got charged an extra $25 to fly on our vacation, it was time to get serious and rebuild our relationship.

Out came the Ferber book, aka "Cry it Out" or "Just shut the door and go to sleep, that'll teach the little brat." We actually discovered there is some serious science behind Ferberizing, and it's not just about crying it out. We helped Mad Dog to learn how to fall asleep without us in the room coddling and rocking him. That way, when he wakes up in the middle of the night, he'll know what to do.

It was miraculous. On the second day, Mikey fell asleep within 5 minutes. He stayed asleep the whole night. Oh, sleep, I was so relieved to see you again. Last night, he slept the whole night again. I think we are back in business. Here's to making up for lost time, Sleep. I'm sorry we were ever apart.

P.S. If this celebratory blog posting jinxes us, and Michael regresses, I will be jumping off a bridge. Thank you!


Anonymous said...

Bwah ha ha! Who wears the diapers in this family?

Anonymous said...


TraciBU said...

Okay, so, sleep is pretty much the most important thing in the world to me. 12 hours is nothing. Easy! But I've been upset because my hubs thinks that we shouldn't have kids because I won't be able to handle the lack of sleep. I'm relieved to know that there are in fact solutions! Alhough the "aw F him and let him cry" (AKA Ferber) would have crossed my mind more naturally, I think.

Oh side note-- I am convinced sleep is a gift from God. I read all these articles about how sleep reverses aging effects (not reduces, REVERSES), and it's also when you cannot control your world and you just have to let Him handle it a while. It's our daily humbleness reminder.

Chris said...

I know who wears the diapers, and it isn't me. RTR, eh? Man, harassed by 'Bama fans on my own dear blog. I strongly suspect Uncle Joe :D.

I won't lie. The sleep problem is by far the most challenging thing about having a kiddo. Nothing else comes close.

You can definitely handle the lack of sleep, and the unbelievable joy and love that a child gives you helps to get through it.

Also, think about what a good looking, smart kiddo (with great parents) you guys could create.

Sleep is absolutely a blessing, and the lack of sleep does seem accelerate the aging process in my case :D.

Amy said...

So glad it worked out for you like it did for us--I'm just sorry I didn't give the book to Shannon sooner!

jen said...

glad to hear it worked out. i have sent a link to several of your sleep posts to many of your friends. i love my kids a lot too, but the little one just won't sleep. ferber? my little sh*@t can take him down. NOTHING worked. when i actually do get a few minutes of uninterrupted sleep, i spend it dreaming about getting more. it's like crack that way.