Posted on | January 5, 2013 | 7 Comments
Even before Sophia was born there was all this talk about sleep. How we weren’t going to get any for the first months. How I better sleep every damn time she closed her eyes lest I regret it and become a zombie in a postpartum world. Then after she was born people would grill us on her sleep patterns & habits and sound incredulous when we would tell them she was sleeping ten to twelve hours a night as a six week old breastfeed newborn. We felt like we had hit the baby jackpot. Slowly the invasive sleep questions subsided as our baby grew older and more predictable until everyone stopped asking about her sleep all together with the understanding that if our baby didn’t sleep well now then we had failed parenthood forever.
The irony in all of this is the fact that now is the time experienced parents need to be talking to their less experienced counterparts about sleep or the lack thereof.
It started out innocently enough with a bad dream here and there breaking across the baby monitor interrupting our REM cycles. Then it was the nasty, nasally plague that has infected everyone in the tri-state area this winter. Now? Now I don’t know what the fuck the problem is but it manifests itself in hours long screaming fits the minute her head hits the mattress at night.
We’ve run through all possible scenarios: illness, teething, too tired, not tired enough, scared of the dark, too busy watching the fish projection on the ceiling, demonic possession. And we’ve tried every possible solution to every possible scenario without much success. The most frustrating part of it all is the reaction we get from other people when we tell them of our plight. Most just shrug their shoulders carelessly and mumble something about “this too shall pass.” When??? And how??? This isn’t a kidney stone…this is my life, my sleep, my kid who seems to turn into a wolverine once a set of flannel pajamas comes into view.
The only solace I have is that it’s not just us, our friends with children around the same age as Sophia have been seeking answers to the same problems we’re experiencing and when I did a little Googling it seems it’s actually pretty common. If it’s so common then why do most first timers like myself not know about this??? Why didn’t anyone ever tell me “Hey you’re kid is going to go ape-shit any time between eighteen and twenty-four months and just not want to sleep. It’ll be like she did an eight-ball of cocaine. There’s nothing you can do but buy yourself a pair of earplugs and wait it out.”
Well I’m here to tell those of you who are or are about to be new parents…prepare yourself for this just like you prepared yourself for the night time feedings of infanthood. It’s real, your kid isn’t broken or sneaking Red Bulls when you’re not looking nor have you failed as a parent. It’s just one of those soul sucking times that as a parent having a membership to the discount wine superstore actually will be put to good use.
(The good old nights.)