Friday, March 19, 2010

The Land of Insomnia

I, personally, have very rarely had trouble sleeping. Sometimes--often--I stay up too late for no good reason, but I am always happy to climb into bed and almost never have trouble staying asleep (unless, of course, someone else wakes me up!) In short, sleep and I have always gotten along fine.

Not so for my husband. He hates to go to sleep. When he was a kid, he used to lie in bed for hours, not sleeping. Before we got married, he never went to sleep before every last one of his roommates had turned in for the night. He was perpetually underrested, and tells a story of once hallucinating in shiur something about a magical battleaxe. Inexplicably, he never made the connection between "being tired all the time" and "not sleeping enough." Seriously. It never occurred to him that he was tired because he slept six hours a night. I have no explanation for this, since he's a pretty smart guy, but I can attest to it personally.

His dislike of sleep seems to be genetic, as I've mentioned before; his father will put off going to sleep until he passes out on the couch, and the first time he (my FIL) came to visit, I came out of bed to find out where they were to find both him and my husband sitting next to each other in identical positions on the couch, conked out completely with books on their laps.

When Barak was born... well. When Barak was born, literally from the day he was born, he resisted sleep, and not much has changed. He loves staying up late. He is never happier or sweeter or more delightful than he is at, say, 9:30 or 10 PM when everyone is asleep but him and me and maybe Abba is around somewhere too. But being that he's five years old, he does eventually crash; the secret is getting him into bed before the meltdown occurs, because the warning period is usually pretty short.

Iyyar has never been quite like that. When he gets into bed, he falls asleep pretty quickly, but if he wakes up at night, it's bad--he gets really disoriented and has a hard time falling back to sleep. As a baby, though, especially for the first nine months or so, he was horrible. It tooks literally hours to get him to sleep and then twenty minutes later he'd wake up screaming. It was awful. I still don't know what it was or why it stopped--the sound machine helped a lot so I have to think it was some kind of a sensory thing.

Avtalyon never had sleep issues. He was an amazing sleeper for the first three months, and part of the reason the adjustment to three kids was so easy for me was that for the first half of my maternity leave at least all he did was wake up every three hours, nurse, look around a little bit, and go back to sleep. These days, though... he is not quite ready to dump the nap, because if he doesn't get one he melts down completely. But when he does nap, he frequently sleeps two or three hours and then, around bedtime, is standing in his crib for hours. Lately, he's been waking up in the middle of the night, not crying, not wanting to be soothed, just awake. He wants to come out and play. Failing that, he wants a book. Failing that, he will entertain himself by any means necessary, the louder the better. For the record, he has two roommates. I've tried waking him up earlier from his nap and have regretted it every time--he's disoriented and miserable and just falls on the floor and screams. The only way to get him to calm down and stop is to put him in the stroller and take him for a walk so he can zone out and recover.

Which brings us to... Marika. Sweetest baby ever. Seriously. One of the easiest, too. But lately, she's developed this habit of waking up at around 9 or 10 PM all perky-like. Perfectly happy. Just awake. And she stays awake. Last night I tried nursing her and putting her down any number of times, and she kept waking right back up. At 10 MHH came home and I asked him to bore her (for a while every time he took her and walked around the house with her she'd pass right out. "I'm very boring," he told me proudly.) That didn't work either. An hour later he came into my office with a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed baby. Hmm. I went and cleaned the kitchen and by midnight we both really wanted to go to bed but Marika was having none of it. Time for the big guns. I turned out the light, got into bed with her and pulled her close to nurse. All I could think of was a puppy worrying a bone; she was latched on but flailing and thrashing and whacking me and then started to wail and howl. Hmm. I put her upright, thinking she needed to burp, and she did calm down, with a few tragic after-wails to let me know just how awful things were and how difficult her recovery would be. I opened my eyes and realized that she was, once again, wide awake and looking around. She'd been mad because she didn't want to be nursed to asleep, she wanted to be AWAKE. And looking around. Which she was. Until 1:30 am.

It's not like she naps all day, either. She has maybe a 2-hour nap in the morning and two or three shorter ones in the afternoon. She's awake most of the day. I'm careful now not to take her out in the Snugli for too long, because that can easily turn into a 3-hour nap for her.

She looks so big to me now--she's two arms' worth of baby. I remember when she was born being able to hold her with one arm, with her head in the crook of my elbow and my hand around the bottom of her tush. Can't do that now. Usually now when I'm walking around the house with her she's either looking over my shoulder, or I'm holding her on my hip facing outward, which she likes. She loves lying on her back and especially when I'm changing her diaper will give me these fabulous grins. I'm even seeing signs of a second dimple appearing in her right cheek--she's been a one-dimple baby until now. She's just starting to grab onto toys and my clothes and seems to have a particular fondness for a certain ratty orange sweater I wear around the house a lot. "Hmm," she seems to be thinking, "That's nice yarn. Wonder if she'll still have some of that lying around when I'm old enough to knit." I think I do, too.

1 comment:

Deborah said...

Yikes. That's all I have to say. Yikes.