Monday, August 17, 2009

The Joys of Sleep

It's now been nearly 14 months since Jacob was born, which means it's been nearly two years since I've felt rested. Pregnancy sapped a lot of my energy, even at my best moments, and everyone knows about sleep deprivation once the baby is born. I still contend that Jacob's first couple months were a complete blur because I was so sleep deprived that nothing really "stuck". Not complaining, just saying. I know for a fact that I function better, I have more patience, and my outlook on everything is better when I've had a good night's sleep. I've also heard and read lots of things where people say that once you have kids you don't sleep well for about 10 years...which I suppose means that you then get a short reprieve before they start dating and staying out with friends, which keeps you up all night all over again. We'll see how that plays out....really not ready to think about that yet.

But for now, a year-plus in, Jacob is sleeping. I'll probably jinx it with this post, but he's been sleeping well for a month or two after a horrendous few months. I was so happy when Jacob started sleeping through the night at 10 weeks, and hoped we were through the worst. And I guess for the most part we were because no matter how many times he'd wake up after that, it was rare that a full feeding (meaning, an hour of awake time) was part of it. Still, after a few great months of sleeping, it went back to erratic. Up multiple times, screaming for no apparent reason, you name it. It was horrible, and feedings or not, it was nearly as bad as when he was a newborn. There were times now and then that he would sleep through, but for a while, it was rare. Then it got a little more frequent, and now he does it pretty much every night. The last couple nights he's woken up for a couple minutes about an hour after going down, but at least we're still up so it's an easy fix. I can't complain about that one bit. But as a whole, it's been great not having to wake up in the middle of the night...and pretty much every morning my first thought is, "Thank you, God. He slept again!"

Still, Craig and I are both tired. And you know what, it's not even Jacob's fault. We definitely don't go to bed early enough. Between doing things I have to do (dishes, grocery shopping) and things I like to do (watch TV, read the paper, hop online), there just doesn't seem to be enough hours in the evening for me to get it all in. So, inevitably, no matter what time I aim to go to bed, I'm always climbing into bed around 11:45. My alarm goes off at 6am. Ugh. It's not enough sleep, and I can tell when my eyes start closing in the middle of the day as I stare at my computer. Vacation was great because we could sleep in until Jacob woke up, which is usually somewhere between 7:30 and 8. Weekends are fantastic like that too. I got to the point a while back where I gave up on the idea of ever sleeping in again. Weekends were no different than a work day. But then Jacob started sleeping later and 8am sounds a heck of a lot better than 6am. So whereas weekends were great solely because I got to spend time with Jacob (and Craig, too, of course), now I get the added bonus of once again sleeping in. It's huge, and I look forward to it all week. But still, it's obviously not enough because it's Monday and I'm already sleepy. Hopefully one of these days I will get control of myself and just force myself to bed at 11, if not earlier.

I will say, though, that I'm nearly at my most content when Jacob is asleep. That sounds terrible, because I should be happiest when he's awake and with us. And truly, if he's awake and happy, then I am happy. He can be pretty darn entertaining lately! But for some reason there is something wonderful about knowing that he's sleeping peacefully, and that I can still get a little taste of life before him...being able to hop on the computer for as long as I want, watch a TV show uninterrupted, or just spend time with Craig without having to worry about which one of us is going to keep track of Jacob's every move. Selfish, maybe...but when so much of your existence is taken over by a baby and work, it's nice to have a little "me" time. And having "me" time without it leaving Jacob out of the mix is even better. When he's sleeping he's comfortable, he's content, and he's building up to a better tomorrow. And seriously, he is one of the cutest sleepers ever :)

I know I'm not alone in this based on the articles I read and Facebook statuses I see from primarily stay-at-home moms whose daily sanity level is directly related to the length of their child's nap. So I guess no matter how wonderful the child, no matter how delightful their awake time, it's always nice when parents have a chance to do their own thing. It's just unfortunate in my case that I ever wish for his bedtime since I only get to see him for 3-4 hours a day as it is. Sad, isn't it? Maybe someday...but for now I will just wish for good sleep for all of us so the time we have while awake is the best quality it can be.

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