Monday, April 4, 2011

Toothpicks, Please

There are many reasons I have only two children. Two kids is really plenty for me. I do not feel the need to just continue producing offspring. I love, LOVE my boys. But the thought of going through another pregnancy and the whole newborn phase again is completely terrifying to me. I was ecstatic when I put all my maternity clothes in a bin and gave them away. I don't think I've ever once had a dreamy nostalgic thought of "Well, babies are cute and maybe I should have kept the clothes...." No. I was glad to help out someone who needed them, but also glad to be rid of them.

The main thing I do not miss at all about having a baby around is the sleepless nights. Neither of my boys were good nighttime sleepers. I tried to do things "right," like having them sleep in their own crib every night from the time we brought them home from the hospital. I did not rush to them every single time they fussed. I tried to follow the rules that are supposed to produce good sleepers, but to no avail. My kids were up every few hours, every night, for months on end. Oh, the torture of never getting a full night sleep. My kids obviously hated me.

Things got a little better after my oldest turned one, but not long after, I was pregnant again and even more exhausted. And any change of schedule or even minor illness would send us into a spate of sleepless nights. Once my youngest was born, it was back to the cycle of up every few hours, every night. But then my oldest would somehow manage to wake up at least once a night too. Oy.

Most of the first six months of my youngest son's life are a blur in my memory. All I really remember is the overwhelming exhaustion. I'm not sure what I said to them on the phone or what prompted it, but I do have this vivid memory of opening the front door and my parents standing there on the porch. My mom took the baby, who was probably only a few weeks old at the time, and said "Go to bed. We can take care of our grandsons for a few hours." I broke down in tears.

Going without sleep is hard. Really, really hard. I guess in a way it gets you used to the fact that most things about being a parent are hard, but that doesn't make up for lost sleep. Add to no sleep trying to be a good parent and work full time and salvage some semblence of a life (outside of parenting and sleep-deprivation), and you have a recipe for disaster.

It seems like my kids have been sick on-and-off (but mostly on) since.... oh... the beginning of winter. Month after month of spending bundles of nights getting up every few hours to administer medicine, wipe noses, and various other unpleasant things I will not detail here, and I feel like I cannot go on like this much longer. I just want winter to go away, for my kids to be well, and to get a full nights' sleep for more than two nights in a row. I also wish this post were better and that it made sense, but I can barely stay awake. This will have to do for now. In the meantime, I need to set the coffeemaker to brew in the morning and remember to set out the toothpicks to help me keep my eyes open for work.

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