Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Case of Bad Timing

I think Petunia is trying to kill me. Or at least, I can't rule that out. Her sleep has gone to hell right at a time when I am trying to get up to speed on a new project at work. It is a high profile project, and a bit political. A lot of people are depending on me to get this right, so it would be nice if I were getting more than 5 hours of broken sleep at night.

But I'm not. Petunia's still getting over the cold that coincided with the ear infection. If her congestion is doing anything similar to what mine is doing, she probably feels like her face might pop off. Plus, she's getting at least one new tooth in, possibly two. And she's hit separation anxiety a tad early, and finds it very distressing when I leave the room. (Incidentally, this phase is much less annoying the second time around- maybe because I know it ends? This time, I find the little crinkled up face and earnest tears of distress sort of cute, and I mostly want to rush back, pick Petunia up and give her hugs and kisses.)

Given all of that, it is not surprising that her sleep is not as good as it could be. It is still better than Pumpkin's was at this age- Petunia is only up 3 times a night. Pumpkin was up 5 times. The really annoying thing is that Petunia is hard to get back down after the second and third wakings and has been waking up early and in a foul mood. This morning, I took her for a walk at 5:30 because I was afraid her screaming would wake Pumpkin.

Making matters even worse is the feeling I have of a missed opportunity. My mom was here last week, helping out while Hubby was on a business trip. We had planned for her to spend some time holding Petunia in the middle of the night, to try to gently wean her off one of her (at the time) two night feedings. I had high hopes of having improved sleep. I think having those hopes dashed, and knowing that I have a good month or two (at least!) before the separation anxiety improves and I can really try again to improve things, has made the current sleep situation even harder to take.

Still, I have recently been reflecting on Pumpkin's sleep history, and feeling pretty good about how it all turned out. Pumpkin's sleep issues were hard to handle at times. OK, they were hard to handle most of time time. But we tried to do what we thought she needed, and to keep to our parenting philosophy, and here we are, with a three year old who goes to sleep on her own and has been sleeping through the night for over a year. I want to feel just as good when I look back at how Petunia learned to sleep through the night (or relearned, since we had a short period in which she slept through the night when she was about 2.5 months old). So I guess I'll just suck it up, dust off my skills for coping with sleep deprivation, and remember that this phase seems far, far longer when you're in the midst of it than it seems from the other side.


  1. Us, too.

    I agree that this time around the separation anxiety is almost cute and almost mutual.

    I don't envy the fact that you have to go to work like this, though. Not to skate into a WAHM vs WOHM convo, but I gotta say that as hard as my job is, at least I don't have to go to work.

    And the 2nd time around is easier because you have walking proof that things will change. DH keeps reminding me that DS was a much worse sleeper and look at him now! And while that helps, it doesn't mitigate the sleep-deprivation I am suffering right now. It doesn't change the fact that I am. so. very. tired.

    But yes, knowing that the baby stage is fleeting really helps me enjoy it so much more. It seems like only yesterday that DS was this young and soon DD will be running around, using words like "firmly" and not needing me nearly as much. And I'll look back at this time with tears in my eyes, knowing that sleep-deprived and all, I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

  2. @nej- I think the answer to the question of which sounds worse on very little sleep: work or staying home with a toddler and a baby is probably a pretty good indicator of whether you'll be happier as a WOHM or a SAHM! I think it would be harder for me to handle the kids while sleep deprived than it is to handle my job.

  3. So sorry the sleep deprivation and uptick in job-responsibilities have coincided! Not a good cocktail.

    I wonder if 3 is the magic number for when kids begin to sleep "normally"?

    I was so not into devising strategies for sleep training so that meant I just sucked it up and gave the teat (and lost the sleep) for as long as I could deal. I had all these coping strategies so I wouldn't get resentful (listening to podcasts, reading with a headlamp...)

    As soon as they approached 3 (sometime past 2 1/2) there were no longer any sleep issues: they can fall asleep on their own and sleep through the night (say wha!!) All without having done a thing to coax them into that pattern. Granted waiting 3 years to get there sucked but...

    Is it because a 3yo brain is able to deal with waking and falling back to sleep better??

  4. No advice, just sympathy. Lots of it. I can comiserate about the sleep deprivation but I'm not back to work yet so don't need full use of my brain in the same way you do.

    But I do have to say, in some ways you're right that it may be harder to handle the kids than a job. At least at work people are rational and don't have tantrums and wreck your stuff. Most people anyway. :) But I find work itself exhausting even on a good night's sleep so I think for now I'm glad to still be at home on maternity leave. Crossing my fingers that Annie sleeps through the night (at least some of the time) by the time I go back to work, which is when she's one year old. 8 months to go.

  5. Oh, I'm sorry. That's tough. I wish you some rest and calmness.

  6. I have tons of sympathy/empathy whatever it is. I feel your pain! Our 3 yo is a little slower at figuring out the going-to-sleep-on-her-own part, but she's getting there. The almost 1 yo has actually been doing pretty well lately (knock on wood!), but has become such a PITA to get to sleep. In fact, right now my husband is trying to get the boy back to sleep and put him down without waking, after I failed that last part once again. Sigh...

    I hope the sleep thing works out soon, especially while you are working on a high-profile project! Good luck with both!


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