I hope you will indulge this quick trip down self-pity lane...
I need sleep. Ok, to be fair, both Paul and I need sleep. But since this is my blog, this is about me. I'm not talking about an afternoon nap or a sleep-in in the morning. I need a good, solid night of 8-10 hours of uninterrupted sleep.
Desmond (9.5 months) is not sleeping well at night or, for that matter, napping very well during the day. And this has been going on for months (since before we left the US). And by not sleeping well, I mean that he is waking up - or at least crying out in his sleep - on average, 4-5 times a night. Some nights it is every 45-60 minutes. Last night, he needed soothing a couple of times before completely waking himself up at 2am - and was up for close to 2 hours. The worst is around 10pm when we have just drifted off to sleep. It is also really hard when I get him back to sleep, crawl back into bed, get warm and comfy - only to have him wake up again 10 minutes later.
Desmond started out a relatively good sleeper - not sleeping completely through the night, but only waking up 2 times a night to nurse. But then, as with Vincent, he developed into a light sleeper. It seems that he wakes up or needs soothing at the end of each 45-minute sleep cycle.
It always seems to be something - ear infection, teeth, upset and burpy tummy, mastery of new gross motor skills, a rapidly growing brain. Or an international move.
Yes, I know we could "sleep train" him. We could give him the opportunity to learn to soothe himself by letting him cry a bit. But we are worried he might wake up Vincent. And I genuinely believe that he still needs to nurse at night. And, in many ways, it is just easier to get up and nurse him or rock him than it is to lie in bed and listen to him cry.
I am fortunate that I have a partner to help with this. But, more often than not, it is me that Desmond wants. It is nice to know that I am needed...but this is getting to be a bit extreme.
I know that there are lots of other parents who have gone through this or are going through it now. We went through it (for months and months and months and months) with Vincent. I know it is a phase. I know it will end. I know Desmond will learn to sleep through the night and that by the time he is a teenager we will be pulling him out of bed at noon. But right now that doesn't matter.
I now understand why sleep-deprivation is such an effective form or torture. The only benefit of sleep deprivation (from my vantage point) is that it made the jet lag much less severe.
Fortunately, this pattern of interrupted sleep doesn't seem to make Desmond cranky during the day. Most days, he is happy, curious, laid back. And very cute and charming.
I write all of this not because I am looking for sympathy or empathy. But rather just as a way to vent. And as a possible explanation if I don't return e-mails quickly or seem a bit absent-minded when you talk to me or am completely irrational or am maybe a bit less patient with you than I should be - or if I completely bite your head off.
Just be a bit patient with me. I'm tired.