Sleep

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Wouldn’t you rather be sleeping right now? C’mon, if you could. Would you curl up on your couch, hug a pillow, close your eyes? Or go straight to bed, draw the blinds, and absorb the hum of your heater? Yes, my darling, yes. Sleep.

In the last two years I’ve been broken, humbled, and hobbled by lack of sleep. While generally a decent person, I’ve found myself at times a raging maniac. My bursts of uncharacteristic assholishness typically occur after 3:00am and are directed at objects on the floor, the cat, my husband, or my son, in that order. When the sleep deprivation’s been extreme, despite (or perhaps because of?) the gallons of coffee I drink, it comes out at work. My best friend’s mad at me. Grargh! Rarh. Ruff.

Sorry. I didn’t know it would be like this.

Some folks get sleepers, we got Alejandro. We wouldn’t trade him for the world of course, not for some lazybags dope of a kid who couldn’t do half the things our little brainiac can do. He’s two and he has a larger vocabulary than my husband. (Just kidding Raf.) He can throw rocks into puddles! Catch a ball! And you should see him play games on the iPhone. Dude, the dexterity of his thumbs and index fingers! He’s gonna be SO prepared to survive in the wild. He’s happy and bright as the sun. He occasionally gives unsolicited kisses. But he (until recently) just could not sleep through the night.

He woke us up between 1-7 times. A night. For two years. I know you think we’re idiots. “Have you tried the ole “cry it out” method?” Yes, you jerk, we have. But you haven’t met Alejandro after midnight. We’re talking hours and hours of crying, folks. For days. The expensive sleep consultant told us to give up for a bit. Her plan B was completely unworkable, involving my husband sleeping on the floor of his room for eight weeks. We gave up. We prayed to the temple of our own bed, but left it to comfort him. 1-7 times a night. Oh yes. I said that already.

Not surprisingly, a two-year-old has the fortitude to force two sleep-deprived zombies to obey his mad demands. Because we were always hoping it was a “just once” kinda night, we’d slip into a pattern of crazy disbelief, one of us slipping out of bed at a time, doing a tuck, giving a pat, saying good night…Rinse and repeat. And again. Please let this be the last time.

I can’t explain how this type of interrupted sleep affects one’s mental state. After a 3+nighter I always felt slightly deranged. It was a subtle shift, a shadow on my character. It wasn’t even working for him–he still couldn’t go back to sleep on his own. We couldn’t help him, and we were losing our minds.

Until 2010! This year has been awesome because thanks to an amazing woman on the Internet who gave us a plan for $45, he’s sleeping through. It’s all about the door: he gets to keep his door is open if he’s quiet. It was hard for about two weeks as we introduced it but then, holy moly, he’s sleeping though! And even if he wakes up, he’s quiet. It’s crazy. He’s like in there doing macrame or something. We’re getting consistent sleep and I’m a happier person.

Now that I’m getting rested, I just have to resist my urges to burn the candle at all ends. I have to resist my own night owl tendencies, and go to bed. If I can’t sleep, I’m the only one to blame. But I feel lucky for that. It’s a beautiful thing.

Now drift off…
Love love,
Margot

About Post Author

Margot

I wrote my first novel "Richland" in cafés in San Francisco’s Mission District, after working during the day as a producer at design firms. I graduated with honors from U.C. Berkeley, with a degree in Political Science, and lived in San Francisco for more than 14 years. The siren song of the East Bay lured us after our son Alejandro was born. We're now adjusting to life in the weirdly idyllic neighborhood of Rockridge, Oakland.
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5 thoughts on “Sleep

  1. Great post Margot! That is a good website. I have a newborn who just started sleeping 5+ hours, and I couldn’t sleep because I was too excited! Go figure.

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