February 3, 2011

Bad Night's Sleep

Oh, man, what a bad night's sleep. It wasn't up there with, for example, the night in the hospital after one of my c-sections, when I spent all night feeding one twin while the other one cried, then switching so the crying one was being fed and the fed one was crying, until 4:00 a.m. when the nurse took them to the nursery, and then she brought them back at 4:20 a.m. and I am not even kidding, saying they were hungry, so that I watched incredulously as the sun came up and I STILL hadn't slept after SURGERY 24 HOURS EARLIER.

But as we know, an experience does not have to be The Worst Anyone Has Ever Experienced in order to qualify as Bad, and last night was still Bad. Elizabeth joined us around 11:00, and Henry joined us at 2:00. I'd gone back to sleep after Elizabeth, despite the way she kept flipping over so that first her hair was in my face and then she turned over and started kicking me and then back to the hair in my face, but Henry talked for awhile about avian dinosaurs, and once he'd gone to sleep I lay awake fretting about assorted financial stuff, my parents' eventual decrepitude, Paul's mother's estate (WHEN will it be settled, WHEN?), my overdue GYN check-up, and the time my landlord wouldn't refund my security deposit OR a month's rent I'd paid in advance, with him saying I'd left tons of boxes in the apartment all month (I HAD NOT) and adding that if I wanted money I should "get a job" (I HAD ONE) (also: MY EMPLOYMENT OR LACK THEREOF HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH IT).

Around 3:45 I felt too claustrophobic to lie there even ONE MORE MINUTE: we have my side of the bed directly against a wall while we rearrange the house, and so I was trapped between the wall and a bed crammed full of snoring people, and I had to get OUT OUT OUT AAAAAAAAAA. I couldn't find my blanket in the dark closet, and both throws are on our bed but in between other blankets so not easily extracted, so I put on Paul's wool coat and lay down in a recliner. The coat was itchy but warm, and a cat came and hopped up on me, and I had jusssst drifted off to sleep when the clock chimed six. And I thought, "It can't be six o'clock. I can keep sleeping. I KNOW it's not six, because it was 3:45 less than fifteen minutes ago." But then I started thinking, "What if it REALLY IS six o'clock? Then Paul will be late for work, and Rob will miss the bus and I'll have to drop him off at school and it will cheese up our whole morning." So I had to get up and check, and no, it was four o'clock and the children had been playing with the clock.

I settled back into the recliner and thought for awhile about the time in high school when a friend of mine heard a rumor that I'd slept with my boyfriend and she confronted me about it, and her attitude was that if I HAD done so, then I was absolutely required to have divulged that to her, and that she had every right to feel I'd violated our friendship, and that it didn't really matter if I denied it because the rumor-spreader had no reason to lie. When MY points were (1) I HADN'T, but (2) if I HAD, I would have had the perfect right to keep that sort of thing private, and (3) the whole "girlfriends before boyfriends" thing did not mean my relationship with her was in fact closer than my relationship with my boyfriend OR that I had to tell her everything about my relationship with him, and (4) where's the whole "girlfriends before rumor-spreaders" part? Then I dozed off and dreamed that Rob had left the freezer door open and everything had thawed out and had to be thrown away, including two cartons of Breyer's ice cream, and when I was speaking to him about it he was defending himself and rolling his eyes and blaming other people and making the kind of insult-humor backtalk we're currently training him to see is not the same as "just joking," and in short behaved pretty much exactly how he would have in real life, except that in the dream I started trying to HIT him, and my arms were too weak and it was very frustrating.

Then the STUPID CLOCK chimed the quarter-hour and it was 4:15 and I was awake again. And I needed to pee. I got up and peed, and returned to the chair, and was just drifting off when I heard a cat making a "covering" sound behind my chair. I didn't get up to investigate, but instead listened so hard I woke myself up entirely and started mentally composing a post about how St. Valentine's Day is not in fact a Hallmark holiday and it's very tiresome to keep hearing it called that in scornful tones year after year by person after person, and then I fell asleep and dreamed I was trying to load the dishwasher but the cups wouldn't stay upside down. And then a cat went skittering across the hardwood in pursuit of another cat skittering across the hardwood, and it was 4:30.

So then I sat in the recliner thinking about how nothing I ever try to do ever works: not weight loss, not exercise programs, not psychological improvement programs, not "trying to be a person who likes social stuff," not stopping pulling my eyelashes out, not keeping the house clean, NOTHING. It took me until 5:00 to remember that other things HAVE worked: maintaining a blog, having children, investing in the stock market, paying off our student loans years early. I fell asleep and woke up at 5:18 when Paul got up for work. I lay there feeling very sorry for myself and needing to pee, until I got up at 5:45 to take my own shower.

But have I mentioned our old water heater broke and we replaced it with a new one with a feature that lets it heat the water much hotter while still preventing scalding by mixing it with cool as it leaves the heater? This increases the hot water supply without increasing the tank size. Which means that I had a HOT SHOWER.

Also I still have a lot of See's chocolates to taste and to report on.

Also the house-rearranging is going very well, so that I am now writing in a bright lilac room.

41 comments:

ToyLady said...

Ugh - I hate non-sleeping nights. :(

But hey, musical beds!

If you had two children who had transferred themselves to your bed, wouldn't that mean that there were two children's beds just standing empty? Or lying empty?

lifeofadoctorswife said...

Oh Swistle, those nights are AWFUL. I hate it when the brain gets into its hamster-running-frantically-on-the-wheel mode and won't shut down.

Glad that you were able to end on some good things. Chocolates certainly help. Hopefully today will have lots of positives to make up for the lack of sleep.

Datvi said...

Hi Swistle,
I'm sorry you had such a dreadful night. I do enjoy your writing though ... cold comfort?

This is a quote from a NYTimes article I read yesterday and thought you might like:

Let your offspring have an extended childhood in a stable and loving home; lead by example; offer positive reinforcement; be patient and persistent; indulge even a near-adult offspring by occasionally popping a fresh cockroach into its mouth; and realize that at any moment a goshawk might swoop down and put an end to the entire pedagogical program.

Mrs. Irritation said...

Isn't it amazing the paths your mind takes in the middle of the night? Things that seem perfectly logical to fret about when really you should be resting your brain? I hope you have lots of coffee and maybe a quick 10 minute nap in your future today.

Laura said...

I'm exhausted just reading that! Funny that you were rehashing old fights, I have been doing the same in my sleep lately thanks to pregnancy-related tossing and turning. I actually relived my third grade BFF "dumping me" for a new BFF last night.

Hope you get some rest tonight!

Naomi said...

Wow, that does sound like a rough night. I hate the half-awake thing when you start worrying about things, and the next thing you know you're COMPLETELY awake and in a total panic about something that probably won't seem as big a problem in the morning. I'm pretty prone to those and I usually turn on the tv to a boring show and try to fall asleep on it. It has to be boring so I don't become interested in it, and it helps me shut down the incessant worrying. I hope you manage to get through the day and sleep better tonight!

The idea of a bright lilac room makes me feel very cheerful!! What a good color idea!

Shannon said...

I suffer from massive insecurity whenever I can't sleep as well! I don't like that quiet time of the night because instead of feeling peaceful and content, I start to think about all the ways in which I am not succeeding in life. Everything you just wrote sounds so familiar! Anyway, I think the best thing about a bad night is that the next night is bound to be much MUCH better and you will feel much better the next morning after a good night's sleep! So sweet dreams tonight!

Marie Green said...

My first night w/ twins was, um, EXACTLY like that. Only I had missed a night of sleep due to labor, had a Csection, missed a night of sleep like you described, missed a nap because by that time I was so over-tired I was WIRED and WIDE AWAKE, so I sat in my sunny hospital room with both babies and David snoring away, a "Mom and babies are sleeping" sign on the door, but I was WIDE AWAKE. And then the next night was AGAIN like the night you described. Is it any WONDER I had PPD? I mean, COME ON. (Plus the nurses had me and both babies each on our OWN schedule for temps and blood pressure checks and all of the other middle-of-the-night disturbances, so LITERALLY it was every 15 minutes and they were in my room again, turning on lights.

Ahem.

I'm still mad about it obviously. And I didn't even KNOW I was still mad about it until JUST NOW!

Your night last night also sounds familiar, and I really hope you have a mellow day and get some catch-up sleep soon. (I've been known to go to which ever child is in MY bed's bed... Like, screw you ALL you can have MY BED, I'll JUST LEAVE.)

Nik-Nak said...

Do you really pull out your eyelashes? I have a friends that does this when she is stressed too. I get this way when I have alot going on or if I'm extremely worried about something, doesn't affect my sleep I just can't concentrate on anything at all. If you have any tried and true tips please fill me in. Hope you get lots of sleep tonight!

Superjules said...

I'm exhausted after reading this.

Jenipurr said...

Oh, I hate nights like that, where nothing you do will make your brain SHUT UP so you can actually get the rest that it needs.

(as for the eyelash pulling, it's called trichotillomania and I've been trying for 30 years to stop doing it, so....yeah).

el-e-e said...

I'm so sorry you didn't sleep well! That is a bonkers night you had.

And as to the "insult-humor backtalk we're currently training him to see is not the same as "just joking,"" -- should I be concerned that my 6-y-o is already using that kind of backtalk?? YES. YES I THINK I SHOULD. Lordy, what am I in for when he's a preteen?? I may not sleep tonight thinking about THAT.

Carmen said...

Oh good grief, what an awful night. I have those sometimes too, where I can't just SHUT OFF my brain, i just keeps whirling around and around and won't let me relax. I just lie there and fret and fret about things that are out of my control, or things that happened 15 years ago, or just random silly things. It's frustrating. And exhausting. I hope tomorrow is a better night for you.

AnnetteK said...

Just reading that made me need a nap! I hate those kind of nights.

Megan said...

That night does sound rough. If nothing else it is a good reason to take it as easy as possible today. That's my plan, and I was only up with one kiddo last night.

Anna said...

Your first paragraph reminded me of the night in the hospital just after my second daughter was born, and the baby of the lady in the next bed screamed ALL NIGHT and she didn't even PICK IT UP most times and I got 30 minutes of sleep (believe me, I counted them) and they weren't all in one go either. You know how they say women on maternity wards only wake to their own baby's cries? Total bullshit. And I kept thinking, 'I just HAD A BABY, why will no one let me SLEEP'.

When my husband returned the next morning, having slept for about nine hours non-stop, I kinda wanted to punch him in the face.

Nowheymama said...

I was up with sick kids! You should have called! :)

marilyn c. cole said...

Swistle, this makes my heart hurt!

I am psyched that you mentioned "maintaining a blog" first in the things you have succeeded in doing, even if it maybe pales in comparison to five awesome kiddos, because that is what I was thinking when you were contemplating things that you don't think you do well. This blog is the best, dude.

I think you should get in bed with a book tonight as soon as Paul gets home from work.

Also, OMG, that landlord story makes my blood boil! Let's find his address and send him bunches of fake letters from lawyers pending suits from past renters.

Kate said...

This makes me sad because it is such an accurate description of many of my own nights. Especially now that I am 30 + weeks pregnant, I have to get up to pee a thousand times a night, which inevitably starts the worry merry-go-round over.

It starts with some small (did I lock the back door?) and ends with me hovering over my small children to make sure they are still breathing, or having panic attacks about my husband having a car accident, or a plane crashing into my house and formulating plans about how I would get everyone out of the house in time.

The eye-lashing pulling - I have that, except not my eye-lashes, but the back of my hair. It's called trichotillomania. I have had it since childhood, but not many people aside from my parents and my husband know.

I am glad that you still try things - baby name blogs, blogs, and bargain shopping as I benefit SO MUCH from all of those things!

Nicole said...

Ugh, nights like that are terrible. Sometimes I have nights like that and I'm actually relieved it's morning, because how crappy the night was. Then I'm a bitch the whole day long.

St said...

Your night beats mine for Bad Night of Sleep so I am now feeling sorry for both of us. But my chocolate hasn't arrived yet so I think I win.

Devan said...

That does sound like a terrible night. I hope tonight is MUCH better.

ssm said...

Oh no. I feel your pain. I've been sleeping with my 5-year-old for the past three nights, and I may as well be sleeping with an angry badger that's zipped up in a sleeping bag. WHY do children move so much when they sleep? How can this possibly be effective in evolution? THIS IS WHY THE BABIES ALWAYS GET EATEN and the mama animals all shrug it off. If my kid gets eaten by a hungry wolf pack, it will totally be all his fault.

Cayt said...

This kind of thinking in downward spirals is why I always have audio books on when I try to go to sleep. Otherwise I end up thinking myself into panic attacks or getting really anxious or angry and altogether keeping myself awake. I've become quite friendly with the voice on the audio books, and sometimes I talk to him and tell him good night and I'm ever so grateful that he's there to read to me and stop me thinking myself into bad places every night.

Also, my godmother's oldest son went into her bed every night until he was seven, which I know sounds not comforting if you think of it like 'this is going to last until she's seven!?' but if you think of it as 'it's not going to last forever and it's a perfectly normal thing' then maybe it becomes more comforting.

Cayt said...

This kind of thinking in downward spirals is why I always have audio books on when I try to go to sleep. Otherwise I end up thinking myself into panic attacks or getting really anxious or angry and altogether keeping myself awake. I've become quite friendly with the voice on the audio books, and sometimes I talk to him and tell him good night and I'm ever so grateful that he's there to read to me and stop me thinking myself into bad places every night.

Also, my godmother's oldest son went into her bed every night until he was seven, which I know sounds not comforting if you think of it like 'this is going to last until she's seven!?' but if you think of it as 'it's not going to last forever and it's a perfectly normal thing' then maybe it becomes more comforting.

J Grace said...

I used to pull out my eyelashes.

Rah said...

So sorry. Just reading about it is exhausting. Sounds like you're in need of some respite care. Is there any way someone (paid or volunteer) could take over for one day or one night so you could sleep?

clueless but hopeful mama said...

Oh this post made me laugh, but in a deep, rueful guffaw kind of way.

Hope you get some rest and the sun is shining where you are.

Kelsey said...

Was there any hope of a nap in your day? Sheesh!

Here is to a better sleep tonight, your wonderful blog, and purple(ish) rooms!

Sarah said...

Oh I'm sorry. I HATE that feeling where you come fully awake out of a dream and then it takes forever to get back to sleep and then BAM, another dream and awake again.
I've had a few nights lately in which the OLDER two woke me up more often than the BABY did, which for some reason made the wakenings seem that much more annoying. I'd lay there in the dark thinking (darkly,) "Well, I COULD be getting one of those unusual good nights' sleeps tonight since Jameson is still quiet, but INSTEAD I get to be kicked and talked to by two thrashy little kids whose heads are going to sweat all over my pillows."
I know that's mean, and obviously I love them and don't send them away or kick them out, but I DO sometimes feel resentful.

Tulip and Turnip said...

Oh my word, that night sounds HORRIBLE. Probably because so many of us can relate. Hope it goes better tonight!

Lola said...

Can I just say that I am hugely impressed that you paid off student loans years early? We're still struggling with them and wishing we were smarter about it before we had kids. So you may not have succeeded in some things, but in my opinion that one counts for at least 3 others.

Farrell said...

I'm exhausted just reading about it!

Lippy said...

Oh, I hate that. I will finally fall asleep, wake up and think "what was I worrying about" until I remember and start worrying again. Hope you sleep better tonight!

Mom again said...

Yay for lilac rooms and yay to Paul for making paint color decisions quickly!

Mrs. CPA said...

I HATE the in the bed, fully asleep, then one kid steps on the dog when they crawl on the bed, then they want juice, then the second kid wakes up and brings cinderella, snow white, bitty baby blanket, small pillow, puts on SHOES and tries to roll all that in my room in a toy shopping cart and get in my bed, and then the dog wants out, and then the big dog wants out, and scratches to come back in, but only if you practically beg her to come in and offer her cheese, which she knows is a trick and you are only going to give her a dog bone and she's not buying it, and then you have to pee, and then the heat comes on and makes it too hot, and some kid's arm hits you in the face, but if you get up and go to the couch, the couch isn't all that comfortable to sleep on, you'll have to set the iphone alarm and the screen will wake you all the way up AND you're pregnant, and it's hard enough to manuver in the bed without a 5 year old and a 2 year old and a dog. And then it's time to get up. And my husband wonders why I fall asleep at 8:45.
What I'm saying is:
I FEEL YOUR PAIN.

Jenny said...

If you haven't read Shirley Jackson's Life Among the Savages, you should. The part about The Great Grippe Mystery tells just this story. I think you'd love it.

Swistle said...

Jenny- You know what's freaky is that I JUST FINISHED (as in, yesterday evening) her book Raising Demons!

Jenny said...

Whoa, that is freaky! And did you love it? I adore those two books.

Swistle said...

Jenny- I DID love it! I felt like she was an "early blogger"!

CARRIE said...

I am so glad my mind isn't the only one that does this in the wee hours of the morning.