I think after almost eighteen months of denial and Pollyanna optimism about our future, it’s time to get this weight off my shoulders and tell the truth about Maggie: she is the worst sleeper I have ever encountered. And I lived with an insomniac who flipped her nights and days for two years.
This is not a plea for advice. If I have learned nothing else since that first positive pee stick, it’s that everyone and their mother has an opinion about what you’re doing wrong and what they’re doing right to get their blessed little snowflake to sleep for twelve hour stretches with full naps. And that’s great for you and Suzy Sunshine but it isn’t doing my dark-undereyed hallucinating ass any good.
No, this is just a cast into the internets to let other parents know that you’re not alone! My kid is also utterly ridiculous. She is not wired to sleep well. It may be the policy of our government not to negotiate with terrorists, but between the hours of midnight and 6am our household meets her demands promptly. I consider it a good night when she only wakes up twice.
Because she sleeps in our room, I’ve had at least a decade of my life shaved off seeing those big eyes and that enormous hair peeking over the side of the bed saying “Up, please? Nurse please? NURSE PLEASE.”
The other problem is the banging. Oh sweet skipping Jesus, the banging.
Maggie is what you might call a “restless sleeper.” As I said before, she sleeps in our room. This is largely now due to necessity since our other bedroom is SO small that Maggie can either have a little bit of space to play and move around or we could put a crib in there, but not both. At the beginning it was so she could nurse easily and I could be lazy and only sit up to feed her instead of going into another room. Win-win. But since we’re all tossers and turners and frequent wakers ourselves (and it’s not the mattress, both of us have always been that way), we were never interested in a family bed.
So Maggie has her own space…and she spends most of the night sitting up straight, flopping back over, and doing full clockwise rotations around her bed. In trying to transition her to a mattress, I’ve found her on the floor five feet away from the bed. Twice. And many times in the night we hear this: “*rustle* *rustle* *SLAM* …Waaaaaaaah!” You see, she sits up and slams her head back down so hard that it wakes her up fully, she’s disoriented, she’s scared, and wants to nurse.
I, also disoriented and now thoroughly startled, am awake for the next hour and a raving bitch in the morning. Seriously, it was a pretty short drive down the CrazyLane to get me from placid and happy to humorless and grump-tastic. These wakeups just hasten the journey. And these are nights that don’t include night terrors, which she frequently experiences.
You know what the worst part of this is? The absolutely terrible part?
Dr. Google says night terrors and restless sleeping are normal and I just have to wait it out.
(Unrelated aside: seeing “balling” when someone means “bawling” is a trigger of mine when I’m this far down CrazyLane. If I read “I was balling my eyes out” it takes everything in my power not to respond “Oh really? You were fucking your eyes out? That should at least merit a grin, if not the cessation of tears.” I told you. Humorless bitch.)
So aside from our happy bedtime routine, which actually works really well–it’s tear-free and keeps her asleep for at least 4 hours before the first wakeup–I’m at a loss. I’ve tried two naps and one nap, hearty and light dinners, relaxing baths with a touch of lavender oil, adjusting my diet to be free of any kind of sugars and stimulants, and I’ve tried adjusting her bedtime anywhere from 6:45-7 to 9:30. Nothing seems to matter. She’s just wired to wiggle.
So if you need us, I’ll be rocking in the corner, correcting others’ misuse of homonyms and researching extra-strength undereye circle concealer.