I cried today.

The theme at my house this week has been sleep, or the lack thereof.

Three nights ago, I stayed up late (as in 1:30am) playing catch up on my Bible study homework. Because I did that and I suspect Sarah knew it and wanted to teach me a lesson, I was awakened from my fresh slumber at 4:55am by my free-roaming toddler who was as bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as is humanly possible. I just knew she was absolutely, 100% not going back to sleep.  So I did what any other mom would do.  I filled her up a sippy of milk, got her a bowl of Goldfish, turned on some Barney, and locked her in the bedroom with me while I drifted in and out of a conscious state.

Two nights ago, I fell asleep in my comfy green recliner watching the girls sing on American Idol.  Whether I fell asleep because the girls were so completely underwhelming or because I was already totally and utterly exhausted is not exactly relevant, but I suspect it was a combination of the two.  At 12:30am, I heard the familiar sound of a pocket door retreating into a wall and the pitter-patter of tiny feet.  Sarah bounced on me in the recliner.  So I did what any other mom would do.  I told her "No, no, Sarah!  It's time for night-night."  I picked her up and put her back in her bed.  Then I left and climbed into my even-comfier-than-my-green-recliner bed for a good night's rest.

At 12:45am, I heard the familiar pitter-patter of footied feet as Sarah wandered around the house looking for me.  I met her at the bedroom door, told her "No no!", picked her up, put her back in her bed.

Later, rinse, repeat.

For FOUR hours.

At 4:15am, I guess you could say she went down for the "night".

At 5:15am, Sam left for work, so I moved back to my comfy bed from the less-than-comfy couch where I'd moved after get-up #3 to intercept Sarah so that at least one of us (Sam) could get some sleep.

At 7:00am, Sarah woke up for the day.

By this point, you're ready for me to stop the play-by-play.  It's okay.  I don't blame you.  But sorry, there's a little bit more...

Before leaving for Bible study around 9am, I searched for crib tent availability at all Walmarts in a 50 mile radius, absolutely determined that as soon as Bible study was over, I was driving where ever I needed to in order to pen my child in her bed.  The verdict?  Out of stock.

I talked to Sam about it at lunch and we came up with a potential solution.  It was quick, dirty, and involved duct-tape.  Not on Sarah...don't worry.  She went down in about 10 seconds (of course - she was beyond tired).  She slept for 40 minutes, woke up, and was unable to get out of her crib thanks to the rigging of the duct tape on her crib.  Just be imaginative.  I'm not going to post a picture because, even though no Sarah's were harmed in the making of the duct tape contraption, I'm sure some blog-reader would deem me unfit as a mother.

Around 3pm, I was at my wits end.  To say that Sarah had been a holy terror all day would be complimentary.  She was 10 parts Mr. Hyde and 0 parts Dr. Jekyll.  She wasn't eating.  She wasn't sleeping (obviously).  She was cranky as all get out.

And so was I.

I convinced myself she had an ear infection.  Yes!  She had an ear infection.  Perfect!  I would go to the doctor, get a prescription, and she would be back to her normal sweet self in a day or two.  Only, after nearly two hours at the pediatricians office for what was apparently a quadruple booked afternoon, she had no ear infection.  Her throat looked pink and happy.  And aside from one tiny tooth popping through her lower gum, she could be in an anatomy book as the model of perfection.

And that's when I cried.

Who cries because their baby is healthy?  This girl right here.

I wanted so desperately to hear that the pain from a pus-filled ear was causing my baby to act like she was demon-possessed.  Instead, the doctor said, "I'm sorry.  There's nothing physically wrong with her.  She's just bad."

Okay, she didn't say that.  But I heard it anyway.  (Did I mention I was exhausted?)

Bedtime rolled around, and I had very low expectations.

But God is good.  I slept from 11-7.  That's right.  Eight hours of sleep, interrupted only by my inability to go to sleep and stay that way.  (Side note - have you ever noticed the traits that drive you the most crazy about your kids are the very same ones you dislike about yourself?)

Our little trap worked overnight.  Then naptime rolled around again.  She climbed right over our devices and escaped.  Again and again.  She talked me as I laid on the floor next to her bed reminding her to lay down every 30 seconds or so as she cried and cried and fought every single urge to sleep from deep within her being.  She cried and wailed and kicked and screamed.  And because I have made it my goal as a parent to never let my children "beat" me, I fought her.  Not physically or with force, but it became a battle of will.

The 27-year old against the 21-month old.

Any guesses who won?

I "fell victim to one of the classic blunders - The most famous of which is 'never get involved in a land war in Asia' - but only slightly less well-known is this: 'Never go against a Sicilian when death is on the line'!"  'Never go against a toddler when the title for Most Bull-headed is on the line.'  (Bonus points if you catch the reference.)

Two hours later, she hadn't fallen asleep.  I hadn't accomplished a thing unless you count blubbering another bout of tears during which Sarah said to me through the bars of her crib, "Don't crying, Mommy", the sweetness and incorrectness of which, under any other circumstance, would ordinarily have made me smile.

Sam and I have decided that aside from possessing an average of Ben and Abby's hair colors, she has also combined their traits and inherited Ben's temperament and Abby's vivacity.  Let me just tell you that is a dangerous combination.

Some day we'll figure out a solution to Sarah's sleep situation...hopefully sooner than later.  Like...tomorrow.  The obvious answer seems like it would be to move her to a toddler bed and gate the door.  But I know my monkey would be over the top of that gate faster than I could say, "No no, Sarah!"  I've thought about putting one gate above another gate.  But I still wouldn't put it past the girl to scale the wall o' gates.

I find solace in the fact that some day these traits I find so infuriating and frustrating will someday present themselves as virtues.  Her stubbornness, determination, ability to function on little to no sleep.  Those will serve her well in this life.

And also, I think God is laughing a little as he watches it all go down.  That's what I get for thinking I had this parenting thing in the bag.  Egos are a dangerous thing, friends.  And really, if I weren't the main character, the past few days events would make one heckuva funny sitcom.

Dear Sarah,

You drive me nuts.  But I love you anyway.  Now go to sleep.

Your Mommy


Anonymous said...

I understand completely. I feel like Kambry is using the baby waking up during the night as an excuse to get up and party. It is Me vs. Kambry all day, every day in a battle of wills and she is definitely winning. Someone told me that the 3s are worse than the 2s. I will not survive.

Dayle said...

Not an easy task, motherhood. I couldn't help but remember a few episodes of Super Nanny that I've seen, where the child would not stay in bed. :) I never realized it happens so often. I was blessed with one who was a big sleeper, once she got the hang of it. I hope you're all rested soon, my friend.

Anonymous said...

Oh Jennie. hang in there. Love The Princess Bride reference. :)

Sharon Kirby said...

Will you forgive me for smiling through your tears?

Even in the midst of your very tired moments, and your exhausted crying, you still managed to keep your delightful sense of humor. And I just enjoy it so much.

It probably won't help - but I'm going to say it anyway - "This too shall pass."

My grandfather always used to say that to me - usually when I was really frustrated or irritated by something the boys were doing. I used to think he was telling me to have patience, this won't last. But, I also think he was telling me to enjoy these days, because they won't last. Kids grow up, all too fast...

...and in the meantime, they turn our hair gray!

Praying for some sleep!


(P.S. I had to cheat and google the reference...)

Chrystal's Corner said...

Easy to laugh on this end...only because I'm not currently in the middle of it but COMPLETELY understand!! Hang in there:)

Hawklady said...

sorry girl! I hope that Sarah starts wanting to sleep more. A tired mommy is a sad mommy!

Anonymous said...

What about those cribs that they have in church nurseries? The double decker ones? They usually have a lockable front so the kids don't open it and fall out. Just a suggestion. I hope you find something that works! That would drive me a little insane too!

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