After two years of talking about our lack of sleep, I’m really just done with it, but here we are again–or still. I honestly can’t believe it. I do understand, however, why sleep deprivation is such an effective means of torture, but there’s no telling that to a two-year-old.
Did I mention that for almost three months, we had a son who went down at 8pm and slept through until at least 6am, and once or twice, even 8am? We did. Those were blissful months. I was sleeping in my own bed, and my wife was there with me. We even had an occasional spontaneous intimate moment. My back started to recover from sleeping in rocking chairs and on floor pads. It may have all been a dream. Right now, it feels like it must have been.
At this moment, I am typing in the dark whilst sitting on the futon in our guest room. My son is trying to get comfortable next to me. He woke up fifteen minutes ago, after sleeping for only an hour, and couldn’t go back to sleep in his room. I’m “working” at the moment, which means I’m waiting for a live student to pop into a chat room. These are my work hours. Our son won’t settle for J at night, which is a very long story which ultimately comes down to me being the nighttime parent because I screwed things up a long time ago with things like night nursing, but that’s all in the past. We can’t do anything about that now.
Unfortunately, our little family is in crisis because of our lack of sleep. Last night, the night before my wife’s first day back at school for a new semester, our son woke up as I was getting ready for bed, and I couldn’t get him back to sleep until well into the one o’clock hour. When he woke up again at 3am, I ushered him as quickly as I could out of our room and to the guest room/office where I opted to sleep with him to keep him quiet. Sadly, J didn’t sleep once this happened–not much anyway–so her first day back was one of total exhaustion. Our exhaustion is deep and ugly. It has resulted in countless quarrels and several big fights. It has us drinking far too much caffeine. I’m hitting the Rescue Remedy as often as I can to combat the anxiety I have about sleep.
This sleep regression is something that was born of the toddler bed transition. Unfortunately, this was also the exact moment our son decided to get his two-year molars. He came down with two nasty illnesses as well, but he was finally sort of starting to sleep in his bed. There was even one fluke of a night when he slept through the night and we rewarded him with a toy. But then he got that dreaded New Year’s ailment, the one that ended in pneumonia, and all bets were off. We coslept a lot–all three of us. I would sleep with him whole nights on the futon. We just did what we could to see our son through the illness. Unfortunately, within all of this, we started to see a major sleep regression. As he felt better, he stopped napping for more than thirty minutes or so. He couldn’t sleep for long at all in his bed. We have had nights (as I recently recorded) where he has woken up five minutes after going back down, thirty minutes after going back down–all night long. We’re in some kind of hell. Counter to our instincts, we’ve put him in his bed and left him to cry only to have a child who’s far too upset to sleep. If I thought it would help, I’d offer to buy him a car as bribery.
In therapy today, we were both a wreck. We worked through some ugly shit that has come up during the sleeplessness, and eventually, our therapist urged us to come up with some way, any way, to get some sleep for a few weeks, suggesting we may need to cosleep again so that we can all get some rest and recover. So we’re loosely cosleeping, which is to say, we’re not going to push the issue of him sleeping in his bed for awhile, and I’m probably going to be spending a lot of nights on the futon with the boy until he works this out and we devise a plan that works. It feels like we’ve taken about ten steps back. Maybe on the other side of this, we’ll see some sort of amazing development. Maybe he’ll start sleeping through the night and reading and speaking two more languages. Or maybe he’ll just sleep okay and not be such a grumpy little mess. Either way, it’s got to get better from here. (Doesn’t it?)