88/365: Surviving

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Sampling the Christmas goodies from Aunt Katie

So, I’ve been taking pictures. And there were some good moments over the weekend, but to come totally clean, it was a pretty gruesome few days. Iris hit the 9 month sleep regression with her usual aplomb. And we weren’t sleeping well to begin with, so you can imagine what a regression looked like.

I got 2 hours of sleep on Sunday night.

And it’s finally time for us to make some family changes. I still don’t really think my frustration and edginess is a true (hormonal) postpartum. I think only sleeping for 2-3 hours at a stretch for 9 months has kind of chewed up my tires, and whatever survival mode adrenaline kicked in after Carl’s accident pretty much drained off over the summer. And it’s one of those things where, as a mom, you could try to own the whole problem and just medicate yourself into oblivion, but we are a family. Sometimes everybody has to bend a little. Carl is stepping up a lot more—taking on more of the night wakings (he always did the evening ones) and (woot woot!) taking longer daytime stretches on the weekends so I can do fantastic things like… sleep and watch movies (Lincoln is really good!).

And sweet, stubborn, busy little Iris is learning that even though we love her very much, we don’t always make it cribside in fifteen seconds like we used to at 3am. It’s not cry-it-out exactly. We check on her. I still feed her at night. There are snuggles to be had. But we’re asking a little more patience from her, a little more independence. Not too much, I hope. But a little.

There have been tears, I won’t lie. And those minutes are genuinely awful. But—to my total shock—she resettled herself with only a few gentle fusses TWICE last night, and—better still—she’s waking up happy. It’s been a while since that happened. She used to babble when she woke up, but after the regression hit, she was so sleep-deprived she was waking up in the morning crying and miserable.

Happy mornings are good.

6 hour stretches of sleep are AMAZING.

I think we might survive.

 

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4 thoughts on “88/365: Surviving

  1. Blessings, my dear! No, I don’t think it’s hormonal. I think you’re right on. It’s sleep deprivation. When Mama comes to the end of her resources, it’s time to ask Baby to take on a little responsibility for her own welfare. Sounds cruel, but I think it’s true. It’s certainly better than having a mother who feels like a psychiatric case or has to go on meds. to cope. We all need to learn a little patience. It just doesn’t come without a price, and hearing Baby cry is one of the hardest (if not THE hardest) part of young motherhood.

  2. I really, truly don’t know how you’ve done it this year with the sleep deprivation you’ve endured. I think I would be a quivering, psychotic mess. I get grumpy on ONE bad night, and I don’t think you’ve had a really good one since before Carl’s accident. You are amazing. And you are an awesome parent. (And um, yeah, I don’t imagine hormones are playing much of a role considering the hugely legitimate other issue here.) My Coke slushie is raised to you.

    • Thank you for the encouragement! That means a lot to me, since you are pretty much the gold standard for patience with babies. Part of me still feels like I’m doing something “wrong” that sleep is still such an issue for her, but we’ve done cosleeping (started there, actually), have consistent/cosy bedtime rituals, use white noise, etc etc. She’s just a busy little girl, and someday I’m sure that dynamism is going to be one of her big gifts… But right now it’s exhausting. On the bright side, expecting more from her at night gives me the energy to be more accommodating during the day: we no longer fight about naps. She’s sound asleep in the carrier right now, snug as a bug. There are bonuses. 🙂

      • I think every parent has that “I must be doing something WRONG” feeling when their children struggle, but really, don’t we all struggle sometimes with life? To me, parenting is less about doing everything right so we never have problems, and more about being there for our children to help them through the specific set of problems that come part and parcel with their unique lives.

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