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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Miles to go before I sleep. But who needs to go?

While my family was out of town, I slept like a baby. Well, that's not strictly true. As my husband wisely pointed out after a particularly harrowing night with one of our demon offspring darlings, "sleeping like a baby" would mean waking up and crying every thirty minutes to an hour, wanting to be held and rocked all night and soiling one's pants, occasionally so much so the sheets would have to be changed before you went back to sleep. That isn't at all how I slept when my family was gone.

I went to sleep whenever I wanted, one night at around eleven, the next night at around two a.m., after blogging in bed. Sexy, huh? I woke up between eight and nine in the morning, refreshed. I didn't feel like I would die, or at the very least weep, if I didn't get a cup of coffee within seconds. I know there are people out there like me who understand that I'm not joking. They know how physically painful it can be when someone tries to talk to you when you've just woken up and haven't had enough sleep. There's a rage that can be hard to control. I feel that way most mornings and I really don't know what to do about it, short of moving out. And moving out isn't really an option, because I love this house and, okay, the other people who live here with me.

Yesterday, my family came home. Last night, I went to bed around eleven, with my husband. Baby J, more toddler than baby, has finally started sleeping upstairs. Guiltily, I watched two episodes of "Coupling"on the laptop in bed. I know, I know. You aren't supposed to bring the computer to bed and all that. And you definitely aren't supposed to bring it to bed to watch a show that probably annoys your husband to no end. He didn't say anything, but laugh tracks make him feel the same way I do when I get woken up in the morning, livid. And I'm sure it didn't help that I was adding to the annoying laugh track with my own inane giggling. In spite of all that, he managed to fall asleep, like he always does (lucky b**tard). I was getting sleepy too, so I turned it off and drifted, for a few seconds.

I was woken up by the sound of his snoring. And slurping. Yes, ladies, he slurps in his sleep. I hope I've prevented any infidelity by admitting that. Can you really have a steamy affair with a married guy with three children who slurps in his sleep? I know he's hot, but is it really worth it? To seal the deal, you should know that the slurp reminds me of another slurp that used to keep me awake, years ago. That was the slurp of my best friend's dog, who slept in her room, and liked to self-soothe by licking know, what dogs lick that humans can't reach, but totally would if they could.

So the slurping and snoring kept me from going into a deep sleep, but I drifted off a bit, not enough to survive an exclamation by Baby J. He was probably dreaming. His dreams are pretty realistic, so he yells things like, "MINE!" and settles immediately, probably after grabbing the thing back in his dream. Unlike me. His short noises manage to startle me out of my hard-won sleep. I lie awake, heart racing, for at least fifteen minutes before I start to drift again. And the snoring recommences. Are you sensing a pattern here?

At some point, I had a horrible, terrifying dream. It involved me being hired to play stand-up bass for an orchestra. I was on stage and couldn't find the sheet music. Never mind that I've never played bass in my life, nor do I have any musical talent, unless you count rocking out alone in the car, after ensuring that all of the windows are closed. There was a gospel choir singing and I couldn't enjoy it, because I was shuffling through all these papers in my chair on the stage, where I was about to play. There were moments of calm, like when I thought I could just pretend to play, but then I realized I was the only bass, and people would notice. And no one was helping me. They all had their parts memorized, knew how to play their instruments and were relaxed and eating sandwiches. I didn't even have a sandwich, or a drink. I was crying as I shuffled through all the garbage by my bass. I finally woke up, heart racing. It took me a few minutes to calm down.

I tried to go back to sleep once everyone was awake, but that never works. I feel guilty and I know my husband is irritated with me, because he actually got up with the baby. I was too groggy. And when I get up with the baby, I can never go back to sleep. Neither can Baby J for that matter. My insomnia rubs off on him*.

Some women have post-partum depression. I have post-partum anxiety and it lasts for years. I get better as the baby gets older, usually around the time they sleep through the night. When people say a baby sleeps through the night, they usually mean for five to seven hours at a stretch. That is not my definition. I need to know that, once the kid goes to sleep around seven or eight o'clock, he won't wake up until morning - my morning, seven or eight a.m. - unless he has a stomach bug. In my limited experience, this usually happens by the time they're three. We're two thirds of the way there. Obviously, I'm a light sleeper. I think my anxiety is triggered by lack of sleep. But what can I do about it, short of running away from home?

We've tried, by the way, having my husband sleep in the far-away guest room with the baby, since they are the two things most likely to interrupt my sleep. That's not an option at the moment, because it's occupied by a young French woman. Don't worry about our marriage, by the way. She's my husband's cousin, here for a short visit before she goes to work at a camp in North Carolina.

I'm going to Washington next weekend to see my oldest son sing with his choir and to visit my sister, but I really just want to sleep. As much as I like her, I'm looking forward to the rest more than her company. Will someone please tell me how to fix this? I don't know if I can make it another year.

Namasté, y'all.

* This footnote is just to see if anyone reads these. The other day, a friend and I were talking about a couple we know. The husband is nuts. And I said, "I think his 'nuts' has rubbed off on her." Now say that sentence out loud, with a real country accent. Please tell me that's as funny as we thought it was.


Anonymous said...

definitely as funny as you thought it was.

Blog O' Beth said...

Dude! totally funny and instantly got it - didn't even need to re-read it.

And I can totally relate to the no sleep thing. My husband snores and talks and walks. It's like you can't even tell the difference between him being awake and asleep except for his clothing. Add on to that 1 toddler and 1 pre-schooler and sleep has been elusive for years. "Ahh to sleep, perchance to dream".

Suz said...

No kids here, just a live in boyfriend who snores and has chronic insomnia. I can sleep well if not interrupted, otherwise, I have some issues with the insomnia myself. You can see the prob!

Just clicked over after reading ShopTart for a few both the blogs!

Tracee said...

Same issues here. Minus the slurping. My husband just chokes on his own snoring. We play musical beds/couch most nights. And my youngest is 4. The best sleep is, sadly, when my husband resorts to the guest bed and I have one kid on each arm. And double pull-ups and mattress pads. So, usually, I just don't go to bed. I'm a light weight with alcohol (ha! the only thing light weight about me, hehe!), so if I've been drinking, I can usually sleep very well. Good thing there are interesting blogs to read at 2 in the morning. Thanks! :)

Libby said...

Good read. My sleeping husband is a tooth grinder.

I do a lot of blog-reading, and I have your blogs bookmarked. I check for updates all the time, because your posts are funny and serve to remind me that Columbia is a nice town full of interesting people. I think I first learned about your blog in a local magazine, think it was Free Times.

Su said...

Have you tried some white noise or a sound machine or something? That helps me drown out my husband's snoring/wheezing. Also, I keep the monitor down looooow, so I can hear emergencies but not semi-awakenings. When you're not getting sleep, you can totally understand why it's used as a form of magnifies all other crises and normal daily aggravations to the point of crisis. Ugh! Hope you find a solution soon.