It was going to happen eventually, because I’m such a blabbermouth-documentarian-narcissist, but I’m also embarrassed about that, so I’ve been resisting the blogging trend. What made me cave in, finally, is that there’s no other way I’m going to keep track of Sophie’s first year.
The big news today is that she slept through the night for the last two nights in a row. You probably have no idea how momentous this is. Imagine being woken up every two to three hours, all night long. Imagine that happening for a whole week. Imagine that every time you are woken, you need to get up, get out of bed, shiver in a rocking chair — or sit in bed with your back aching because there’s just no comfortable way to cradle a child in bed — and because you have to take care of a needy child, you don’t even get to go to the bathroom or blow your nose or put on a bathrobe first. You just keep getting up, for about a half-hour at a time, at least every 3 hours, always just before you have entered that deep REM sleep that all humans need. It’s usually fairly calm, even sweet, but you’re awake and not asleep. And then once a week or so, it’s not calm, so you have to walk the crying baby around & around, singing lullabies, for two hours or so, deep in the night while you’re desperate to sleep. Ben helps, but he’s not good at getting her back to sleep, and sometimes I started to suspect that this not-being-good-at-it was on purpose, so that I would stop asking him to help. Sleep deprivation makes me cranky.
Once you’ve pictured what waking-every-three-hours would feel like for a couple of days, then imagine that this goes on for nine months.
I think this is how they extract confessions from prisoners at Guantanamo. This is what most parents endure for the first six weeks of their child’s life, but in Sophie’s case — despite us reading all the books and half-trying all the advice — in Sophie’s case, it lasted nine months. It’s amazing what a human body can endure. I don’t mean to turn all you non-parents off of parenthood. Really, you’ll probably only have six weeks of this. Really, most of my friends tell me that Sophie is a dangerous baby because she is so cute & giggly & curious & sociable & over-the-top beautiful that she tempts everyone to have a baby, too. And I respond, “stop by our house at 2 am. That will cure you.”
I actually lost words. My brain slowed down. My fall classes weren’t as good, because I was not as quick at guiding the discussion. It is a proven fact that parents of infants are more prone to road rage. Sleep deprivation does that to you. Sometimes I yearned for sleep the way a hungry person yearns for food. Sometimes I forgot to do basic things, like drink water during the day, because I was just so tired. Once a month or so, I just totally lost it. The world literally felt darker.
For the last two months or so, she has regularly slept for four hour segments, and I would wake up somewhat more refreshed, declaring hallelujah, because I had actually gotten some moments of deep sleep. The last two months, the world started to get brighter again. And then for the last two nights, I actually got to sleep for a whole six hours at a time. The sun is out again.
This won’t last. She’ll teeth, or have a growth spurt, or stop eating all her favorite foods, or something. But for now: she slept through the night!