Intense Sleep Deprivation

Why is it that in college I could stay up until three in the morning, wake up four hours later, and still feel rejuvenated, and yet, a mere five years later I can't even survive on seven hours of disjointed sleep and one nap a day? Somehow "children" must be the reason. It's the only thing I can think to blame.

My kids have brought me to the edge of intense sleep deprivation and they are about to push me over. In an attempt to gain the upper hand I've had to turn to some pretty tricky (and by tricky, I mean sometimes rather humiliating) methods of getting shut eye. Towards the end of my pregnancy with my son, I would find myself dozing on the couch as my daughter played nearby on the floor. She didn't like it. I suppose it might be that she thinks sleep is the enemy. Don't believe me? Come spend one night at my place during bedtime, and you'll see just how much a 2.5 year old can fight sleep. In an effort to arouse me from my lumbering slumber, she would jab her fingers into my eyelids screeching, "Eyes, mama, eyes!" It was a rather effective method of awakening that I may just have to use on her when she reaches high school.

Now with two kids who aren't really into sleeping, I have to get a little shut eye whenever possible, and I found just the way to do it. During my son's morning nap, my daughter and I play "Baby." It was her idea. Really. I was just laying on the couch completely immersed in playing toys with her (I promise) and she must have decided I looked cold and needed a blanket, not to mention a stuffed dog to hold and a pacifier to suck on. And then she told me to close my eyes and go to sleep, so I obeyed and closed my eyes. I guess she figured that made her the mom and she pulled out a dish towel and began wiping the floor. (Though I can't imagine how she knows how to do that. I haven't seen a mop being used in my house for months.) She checked on me every few minutes, sometimes offering a sippy cup or patting my head, and I obliged her wonderful imagination by relaxing. It was the least I could do.

We've now played "Baby" many times, occasionally by her choosing, and my husband no longer looks concerned when he comes home to find me contentedly sucking on a binkie. He's just realized how desperate I am. And I'm just hoping that she'll become a bit more efficient with cleaning the floors.

So there you go. Today's lesson is that there is no shame in finding ways to relax. Whether it be taking a quick refreshing snooze while you nurse your newborn, or by convincing yourself that the only way your toddler will nap is if you are forced to lay down with her. Hey, I won't even judge if you tell the kids you "need to go to the potty" and take a catnap in the bathtub. You need it.

Disclaimer -- Always make sure the kids are safe: playing in their crib, glued to the TV, off loaded to the neighbors, dining on a extra large bowl of sugar, whatever it takes.

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