My sons are 7 and 2. So, you might think, “cool, this lady is finally getting some sleep!” But, you would be dead wrong. So wrong in fact, that my mind is starting to slowly slip away into a world of chaos and misery (and over exaggeration?) and I’ve started to come to the conclusion that we may never truly sleep again.
I remember when my first son was born and my husband and I would literally dread the sun going down. It was like an actual horror movie when night fell. Nights never seemed to end and every time we heard a noise we would wake up frantically in a cold sweat. And the worst part was all the people who would tell me “Don’t worry, it only gets easier.” No, you are all in fact liars who tricked me into hoping that sleep would come eventually. Lies, all lies. (I’m sorry to any new moms out there who are currently horrified.)
Fast-forward to 5 years later.
My husband and I decided to go down this insane rabbit hole again for some reason. Probably because by then our minds had become so sleep deprived that we lost of semblence of good judgment. Our second son was born and then I knew for a fact that sleep was just a happy memory that I could file away under “NOPE, NEVER AGAIN.”
Even though we didn’t think it was possible, our second son was somehow a worse sleeper than his older brother. We had apparently wronged the sleep gods somewhere down the road and were paying dearly for it now. Our son just turned two recently and he still doesn’t sleep through the night most nights. I repeat: Still does NOT sleep well.
Being up in the middle of the night with a sleepless child, who is staring up at you smiling and happy, is both a blessing and curse. Your mind is saying, “WHY?!” and your heart is saying, “you are so sweet.” And that’s when you start to lose it. Because, when you’re up in the dead of night and the only thing on TV is ‘Married with Children,’ and you just keep hearing the “Love and Marriage” theme song over, and over and over again, and you start to get enraged about two things: A.) Love and Marriage got me into this mess. And, B.) Why can’t I stop watching ‘Married with Children’!? It’s a slippery slope.
My husband and I have such vivid dreams now — likely because they are packed into a 5-minute window. But, our sleep has started to combine dream and reality, and we usually wake up not knowing what the hell is going on. The other night I woke up because I didn’t hear anything. So naturally, I panicked because OH MY GOSH, ARE THE KIDS BREATHING!? My mind is so warped to think that quiet and sleep isn’t a natural thing. Silence means something is wrong.
I woke up the other night and found my husband just sitting up staring at the wall. It was actually pretty terrifying, like, what the heck are you looking at!? I’m thinking, “Great, now we have to add ghosts to our list of things that keep us up at night.” But no, he had thought he heard a noise and woke up to listen, and then apparently just forgot why he woke up and was just sitting staring at the wall. This is what our lives have come to. Staring at the wall in the middle of the night is just a thing we do now.
On the rare occasion that our younger son sleeps through the night, something else ALWAYS happens. Last week, my husband and I went to bed early, you know, to try to counter attack the middle of the night wake-up calls. This always backfires though, because somehow our children and the universe at large know we’re trying to cheat and get actual sleep. So, we’re sleeping and all seems to be going well. But then, out of nowhere, our older son comes bursting into our room screaming that he had an accident. This coming from a kid who maybe had two other accidents in his whole life. During the whole clean up clamour, our younger never even woke up. Of course. The one night the stars aligned to have our younger fussy son sleep through the night, was the one night our older son wakes up.
And this is the case every night.
Something mysterious and almost comical happens every time we think we’re going to get sleep. If it’s not one of our kids waking up, it’s something else — one of our dogs barfing/pooping/barking, or something somewhere in the house falling and crashing to the ground, yet we can never find whatever “thing” fell. Or, it’s the freaking smoke detectors with low batteries. Seriously those smoke detectors will be the death of me. Sure, they’re supposed to save my life from a fire, but since they constantly mess with us, I will die from rage at the sound of the incessant beeping. The other night we spent a good hour walking around the house trying to figure out which smoke alarm was beeping. We were like zombies. Roaming the house half asleep, all in search of a “beep.” And, of course, our children never woke up.
So, we continue our sleepless journey every night. And we will probably continue for the rest of our lives. Because someday our little ones will turn into teenagers. And then we’ll have endless things to worry about and lose sleep over. Heck, my mom still tells me how she can’t sleep at night because she’s up worrying about how her grandson isn’t sleeping and then in turn affecting how I (her daughter) isn’t sleeping. Makes sense right?! Basically, the cycle will forever continue. My parenthood journey is destined to never include sleep. I’ve come to accept it, but I can still dream about it….dreams that are cut short by a barfing child.