Wednesday, January 16, 2008

A delicate balancing act

I've been struggling for the last couple of days trying to figure out why Ryan will not sleep through the night. As soon as I think I have things figured out and he sleeps through one night, the very next night we're up two times.

We put the kids to bed between 7:30 and 8 p.m. every night with no distinction between weekdays and weekends. Sophia usually sleeps until about 7 or 7:30 the next morning, while Ryan, on the other hand, will get up at least once during the night, if not twice, which is not uncommon. Last night, for example, he woke up at 11:30 p.m. and then slept until 8 a.m., while the night before he was up at 1:30 a.m. and again at 4.

We've tried stuffing him with food, putting him to bed later, more sleep during the day, less sleep during the day, nothing makes a significant difference in his sleep habits. At this point I'll try anything to get him to sleep.

On top of this problem, when he wakes up, if we don't stop the crying immediately Sophia will wake up and she will not go back to sleep and we're up the rest of the night trying to get her back to sleep. This makes it impossible for us to just let him cry himself back to sleep.

When I go to bed at night, my blood is coursing with anxiety because at any moment, no matter how tired I am, I will have to jump out of bed and run into my son's room to shove a bottle in his mouth to stop the crying. Fortunately, the anxiety doesn't prevent me from falling asleep, exhaustion takes care of that.

My husband and I take turns waking with the baby. Since we both work, it's only fair that we both share the midnight responsibilities. I get first shift and he gets second. First shift guarantees that I get up at least once every night. He gets second because every morning, no matter how ridiculously early it is, he gets up with the kids and lets me sleep in, which I love him for, but it doesn't make up for a lack of continuous sleep.

I find myself slugging back caffeine all morning at work and slugging back energy drinks for the rest of the day just to stay awake. I could easily fall asleep at my desk.

At home, we frequently end up bickering about the stupidest things, like who didn't bring the mail in, or that I left a dirty glass on the counter, or he didn't replace the toilet paper roll. Fortunately, we know the arguments are stupid and can usually stop them before they get out of control. At work, though, it's harder. No one cares that I haven't had a good night's sleep in six months (although they are sympathetic); I have a job to do, on that I want to do to the best of my ability. I think I'm doing a pretty good job balancing lack of sleep and working, but a good night's sleep would sure go a long way.