my tragic right hip

Busting out bad joints all over the place

December 13th, 2012

Sleep, Interrupted.

There’s a terrific line in Claire Derderer’s equally powerful memoir, Poser, that’s says something about there being so many sleep deprived mothers in Seattle that they are a hazard to drivers, to other people, to, well everyone. Yes, I’m both exaggerating and paraphrasing, but the sentiment is there–at this moment in time I’ve been without regular sleep for almost three years and it’s starting to pay its toll. I think that’s the main reason a friend once told me that she feels like motherhood sucks up your youth and spits you out old–imagine my disdain to learn this when I was already so much older when I had my baby in the first place.

Right through infancy and well into this toddler stage, I would characterize the RRBB as a “good” sleeper. He slept through the night from a young age, and still has a very easy ‘going to bed’ routine that we worked really hard to establish. Yet, it’s never really over–this is what I’m coming to understand, that period of intense sleeplessness that comes with parenthood. Oh yes, my husband seems somewhat immune to it on some levels, he hears our son far less during the night than I do, but that doesn’t mean he’s anymore well rested than I am. Lately, RRBB’s taken to screaming, “Mummy!” at the top of his lungs at various points in the night, either he’s too hot, or one of the umpteen books he’s crammed into his crib have poked him in the cheek, or his nose is stuffy, or his carrot is missing, he’s too hot, his pillow is no longer doing its intended thing of acting like a makeshift duvet cover–the reasons go on. And I can’t help it, it’s instinctual, I’m up and out of bed before I’m actually even awake and in his room and bam two hours go by and he’s cranky and I’m cranky and we’re in our bed or in the spare bed and limbs are pressed up against me and the minutes tick by because, well, I can never ever go back to sleep.

It’s a marathon, parenthood, in ways that I never would have expected or understood before I actually had a child. Those babysitting moments, parenting-in-training, ha!, well, you can always give the kid back afterwards. Being an auntie? While I completely adore and am involved with our extended families, there was always that moment when either they drove away or we did, and our lives went back to normal. Now I know this doesn’t come as a shock to 100% of the people out there–I’m still marveling in the fact that I created a person. Yes, I always wanted to have a baby, that’s not the issue, what I’m consistently finding amazing, in the truest sense of that word, awe-inspiring, is how much of a personality the RRBB had from the moment he was conceived (he hiccuped, a lot; perhaps that’s not personality per se but you get my point…). And I’m not going to complain, even for a moment, about how our child is attached to us–we’ve worked hard to make him feel safe, happy and secure. But when it’s 4AM and he’s woken up 16 times and I’m ragged from work, life, work, life work, life, I’d take him transferring some of that attachment to the giant stuffed carrot he sleeps with every night.

A friend at work and I were talking about the exhaustion the other day. That it kind of hums along underneath you, rearing its ugly head when you least need it to. Raising a toddler is challenging. Combating the natural curiosity that leads to situations where his life is in peril is strenuous. Standing up to the temper is, well, a battle. Winding your way around the constant “no!” is not effortless. And then on top of it all, you’re so tired you can barely see straight. And then you come home to this–like I did last night–when your son sees you give your husband a hello kiss and then ten straight minutes of gooshy, snotty, goopy wet kisses follow and it’s as close to magical as you can get in a day. How, how do they do that?

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Girl with titanium hip will rock. Girl with titanium hip will write. Girl with titanium hip will read. Girl with titanium hip will battle crazy-ass disease called Wegener's Granulomatosis. Now stuff that in your spelling bee!

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