Small Victories: Sometimes We’re All Stupid

Sometimes we’re stupid. Sometimes we’re brilliant. Sometimes this is a victory in and of itself.

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You see this cup of coffee? It was hard won. After a week of shoddy sleep — thanks to a wakeful, nursing toddler — and a morning of wack-a-mole style kid meltdowns, I was running of fumes by noon. Mama. Needed. Coffee.

I put my toddler down for a nap while my older two played on the deck. Then, I began to ready the coffee maker. My sleep-deprived mind filled with all of the glorious possibilities ahead of me — the boundless energy and amplified patience, the miraculously well-behaved brood and angelic giggles — that this cup of coffee would provide.

First, I poured the grounds into the water tank. Damn! Next, while cleaning the machine, I turned the entire device upside down over the sink just to have all of the unsecured parts fall directly onto my bare feet. Ouch! Then, machine cleansed and grounds ready to be properly inserted, I fumbled the cup of coffee grounds and poured the entire mound of caffeination granules all over the kitchen counter. GAH! After extracting coffee grounds from underneath every counter-dwelling appliance, I carefully — carefully — prepared my cup of coffee. Taking excess caution not to mangle my own efforts this time.

I did it! I was not stupid.  (This time.)

I loaded the dishwasher, listening to the coffee drip into my mug, feeling quite accomplished in my remedial coffee brewing success. I collected my mug of sweet liquid energy and grinned. I sat down on the sofa to take a much-needed break, stretching my stumpy legs and bare feet out onto the cushions, and sinking back into the pillows. Then: “WAH!!!!”

My 4-year-old tried to close the deck door behind himself while holding the interior door handle. Yes, he closed the door on his own hand. Like mother like son.

Maybe tomorrow we’ll be smarter. But for now, I’ll take my luke-warm coffee as my participation award.

When Mommy is caffeinated, everyone wins. Small victories.

Nearly Human

#3 used to be a decent sleeper — he was somewhere between the torturous night-grazing of #1 and the dependable slumber of #2 — but the 4-month sleep regression changed all of that. He never quite got the hang of regularly sleeping through the night after that sleepless tailspin.

For the last two weeks, #3 (9-months-old) has been in some sort of sleep crapiness. He awakes to nurse — we’re talking competitive eating here, no “human pacifier” stuff — 6 times each night. I’ve forgotten what being rested or having a functioning mind feels like.

HOWEVER, last night he only awoke three times. That means I got REM sleep. Oh holy sleep gods, I feel as if I can do anything!

I actually remembered to put my tea in the kettle to steep. I didn’t groan like an old ship as I pulled myself out of bed this morning. I didn’t zone out in the middle of assembling my pump parts trying to remember what day it was. I feel nearly human! 

**Third-time-mom disclaimer: I know full well the danger of claiming one’s baby is sleeping better or well. I am not expecting REM sleep to be repeated, but it was nice last night. Be kind sleep gods!**

What is Sleep?

Pregnancy-related insomnia is common. Between hormones and a squished bladder, you’re awake frequently at night. It’s nature’s way of preparing us for the sleeplessness ahead.

The sleep deprivation from your firstborn is the hardest. You’re delirious, confused, so exhausted it hurts. As time goes by, you somehow adjust to the reduced and broken sleep pattern. It becomes your new norm.

With subsequent children, the newborn phase isn’t painless, and certainly isn’t flush with sleep, but you’re better able to cope. You’ve learned tricks to help you and baby sleep at bit more, your nerves are calmer, you’re so tired from chasing an older child and nurturing an infant during the day that there’s no room for mind-spinning wakefulness at night. You savor the sleep you get; you know this pain is momentary in life.

Sleep deprivation isn’t easy, it isn’t fun, but it’s temporary. Your baby needs you. You’re all he or she has in this world. In a few short years, you’ll sleep again. Then you’ll miss the nighttime neediness… because mom guilt and parenthood is twisted like that.