Saturday, April 5, 2008

Sleep Deprived Zombie

I am a sleep deprived zombie. My eyeballs ache from tiredness and I have lost my spark.

I seem to produce sleepless babies with boundless energy who need never ending attention. I feel so jealous when other mums tell me about their 'sleep through the night' babies who, to add insult to injury, also have regular (and long) naps during the day. I can only imagine what a difference that would make to my life.

You would think that by number three I would have it all worked out! I do all the obvious things and give her a calm, routine end to the day. She wakes frequently during the night and often wants nursing back to sleep. I think it is time for some controlled crying. Actually, I know it is time but my older kids can’t bear the idea and think it cruel. How dare I treat their darling little sister in that way!!

It is not so much their reaction which has made me wait so long, it is more that they both get up around 6.30 am for school and need all the sleep they can get. I need to get up even earlier than the kids and so end up taking the easy option to help her settle rather than prolonging an already disturbed night’s sleep.

It is hard to find a solution which involves the baby learning to settle herself with minimum disruption to the rest of the family. Whenever I finally summon up the courage and the will to start, she comes down with a cold or starts teething and I feel too sorry for her not to give her the comfort she needs.

This week two local mums gave me suggestions, one told me that as soon as her baby went to childcare she came back exhausted and immediately settled into a good night time routine. The other mum told me to give her a bottle mixed with cereal so that it would feel heavier in her stomach and encourage her to sleep that bit deeper. I don’t really want to start day care just yet so I guess I will try out the bottle. Since she has always been nursed and just has the odd bottle I am not sure how it will go but it is worth a try. I will keep you posted.

When I am tired I tend to cut corners and make ridiculous mistakes. This week’s was a classic. My mum is coming to visit from the UK, to keep me company whilst my husband is away on business. I arranged for a cab to pick her up. I provided the flight number, the departing airport and the expected arrival time. The taxi duly arrived as instructed but I received a phone call later that night. He wondered why the flight was no longer listed on the arrivals board, all the passengers had come through passport control but my mum had still not materialised. As soon as he called I had flutter in my stomach, the kind when you just know you have done something stupid.

Predictably, having double checked my mum’s email I realized that I had every bit of information correct, except for the day of the flight; she was not due to fly until the next day. I felt such a fool. I sheepishly called him back and explained my error and then called my mum to forewarn her that her daughter was causing no end of disruption and definitely needed some TLC. She duly arrived the next day and both she and the taxi driver had a good laugh at my expense on the journey home.

Lack of sleep is a known form of torture but because after the worst nights they awake with a smile on their face and a glint in their eyes, we fall in love with them all over again and forgive them everything. A mother’s love; unconditional and everlasting.

Sleep well.