October 3, 2011

Perchance to dream

Lulu has always been a champion sleeper. (She gets that from me.) Her first few weeks at home after the NICU, we actually had to wake her up to feed her. When people ask how long she sleeps at a stretch, I usually lie and say "five or six hours," because 1) I do not want them to hate me and 2) I think it might sound kind of sinister and suspicious to admit the real number is usually something more like 10. The truth is that Lulu dozes on and off in her swing starting at about 10:00. I wake her up to feed her at midnight. Then I put her in her crib, and she sleeps straight through to 7 AM, and then usually another hour, after she's eaten her breakfast.

We thought we'd gotten lucky. We got bed rest and hospital visits and fifteen days in the NICU, but we also got a baby who SLEEPS.

In the past few days, however, all of that has gone to shit and now we are no better than the rest of you tired parents.

It all started when Lulu got came down with her first cold. She seems in good spirits and hasn't run a temperature. The only time she seems ill at all is at night, when she horks and burbles and snuffles herself awake.

Second of all, I think we are entering the four-month sleep regression. Lu hit the six-month mark last week, but her adjusted age is four months. Even before she'd gotten sick, she had started to wake up more frequently, and the quality of her sleep seemed changed, more restless.

Third, Lulu learned how to roll.

When I say that Lulu learned how to roll, I am only half telling the truth because she has only HALF learned how to roll. She can flip herself from back to stomach, but she can't yet flip herself from stomach to back. All night, she rolls in her crib, wakes up to find herself on her belly and the world utterly, horribly changed, and screams. Sometimes she gets her foot stuck in the bars of her crib, for added terror and fury. Sometimes she gets them both stuck. FIVE ALARM CRY, when that happens.

Lulu hasn't slept for more than two hours at a stretch since Thursday.

Which means that neither have we.

But Lulu doesn't seem to be feeling it like we do. Every morning, she wakes up as happy and fresh as if she'd had her full 10 hours. How does she do this? It has to have something to do with the energy of youth or a different metabolism or black magic or a blip in the matrix. Because there is no way that Lulu is getting MORE sleep than we are. Especially because a few times when she cried in the night we both played dead and pretended we didn't hear her. And then there were a couple of legitimate times we actually didn't hear her, so depleted were our brains of energy and stamina and sleeeeeeep.

J.D. and I stumbled through this weekend. On Saturday, we saw a friend skate in a roller derby and wanted to cry with jealousy at the display of raw energy. On Sunday, we went to watch football with friends and squinted blearily at the TV, fumbled with glasses, dropped nachos on the carpet, and generally behaved like total assholes. We draped ourselves over the handles of the cart in the checkout line at Safeway. People kept asking, concernedly, "Are you all right?" And we do not live in an area of the country where people usually give a shit how you are doing unless you are literally dying right in front of them. And sometimes not even then.

All through this, our baby cooed and smiled her gummy smile at strangers, and laughed her husky little laugh over and over and nommed the face off her Sophie the Giraffe teether and was generally adorable and cute and sweet and nothing like the raging hellbeast that she has been from 7 PM to 7 AM for the past three nights. Not a peep from her, even when her diaper leaked and soaked her pants or when I slipped and banged her arm while putting her in her carseat.

"She is such a doll," people said, over and over. "Does she EVER fuss?" And then I laughed and then I cried and then the person I was talking to took two giant steps away from me, slooooowly, with no sudden movements, and pretended to be totally engrossed in the back of a cereal box or the remote control or whatever was closest at hand and could also be used as a potential weapon against the crackpot crazy lady with the unbrushed hair who was gibbering about feet and colds and sleep regression.

We have a plan for tonight, though.

That, my dears, is a swing in our bedroom. And strapped securely into the swing is a baby stuffed with enough toxic, non-organic formula to put a grown man into a full-blown food coma.

Here's hoping it works.

1 comment:

  1. It must be worse, when your child HAS slept, and then suddenly goes to not sleeping, than when she trains you from the beginning to function on little to no sleep. Since Joy had colic, and rarely slept more than 2-3 hours at a stretch ever for the first six months ("I did sleep training with [redacted]!" one of my friends chirped to me after two months. "He sleeps eight hours at night now. You should try it!" Read my lips, lady who is about to become not a friend - C-O-L-I-C), we felt like we were getting pampered every time Grace slept for four hours at a stretch.

    I hope Lulu figures it out soon, for her sake and for yours. I remember crying as bedtime would approach, because I missed sleep so much. I hope the swing works, and sleep returns to your house!