Sleep is an elusive state of being as a parent. It’s the weird shadow in the distance that’s always three Pokemon steps away. WTH is that thing and why is it never catchable? Why must it taunt me?
At my work, I set next to three dudes. None of whom have children. I was explaining to them the other day that–as a parent–you reach a level of tired where you feel physically ill. Your stomach hurts. You can actually feel your pillow under your cheek even when you’re sitting at your desk. The longing for your comforter and mattress is so deep and abiding, it’s a physical thing. You get so tired that your bones hurt inside your body. You become abnormally aware of the placement of your shin bones.
Sometimes when I wake up now, I can feel the bones in the back of my heel. This actually happens to me every single day when the littlest wakes growl-screaming for his bottle. This is not a life badge I’d have chosen out of the bag of life badges. (That’s a thing right? The life-badge bag? The growl-scream is DEFINITELY a thing and it’s horrible.)
Sometimes, as a parent, you can sleep through anything. Thunder storm? Dogs barking? Anything except the sound of your baby crying. Maybe even just moving around in their crib or outside your door.
We’ve had a rough–like 6 months–of sleep issues. Turns out you can’t really sleep train a child with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. I’m a foster parent of a child who can get so angry while being tired that he’s physically incapable of settling down enough to sleep. I mean…I don’t even have words for how I feel about that. But if I were to start choosing some–they’d all have four letters.
We’ve added to this so many illnesses I want to punch someone. My daughter had something called stomatis. (It’s possible I spelled that wrong.) Think canker sores, plus fevers, plus general yuckiness and lack of appetite plus a cough that makes you puke once you *finally* start eating. She would wake every night, screaming “mommy” and be unable to sleep until I came into her room, told her she was ok, and settled her back onto her pillow with her blanket. I am pretty sure that she didn’t even know she was doing it. It was this sort of instinctive need to be soothed while so tired she was delirious.
The reason sleep is on my mind today is because I actually slept through my alarm. This isn’t unusual for me. But today, I slept through it for around an hour. I woke to my littlest moving in his crib, having entirely missed the buzz of my cell phone from beneath my cheek. Despite the fact that I had pushed snooze enough that it was still counting down. This means I pushed it at least 3 or 4 times.
What. The. Ever-living. HELL…
So…parenting…it’s a bag of awesome. But it’s also a bag of horror. And there is my random tribute to sleep. Good night!