**I word-vomited this post. I just wrote what was in my brain. It probably doesn’t even make sense, but honestly, it’s how my brain is feeling these days – disjointed and all over the place. In fact, I didn’t even proofread it. Sorry, and good luck.**
I am so tired. I’m exhausted to my bones. I lay down and can fall asleep within minutes, something I haven’t been able to do since … I can’t even remember when. And it’s all because of my children.
Don’t get me wrong, I love them to pieces and my life would be just awful without them, but hear me out.
During the day they are both so needy, Abby with her physical needs, Aric with his emotional needs. Aric tests me day in a day out; looking me square in the eyes and responding “I cannot” whenever I ask (or tell!) him to do things.
Bedtime is an hours long event. He used to be an amazing sleeper. We’d put him down, he might get out of bed once or twice, but that was it. Saturday night we put him to bed at his usual 8:00, and at 10:15 he was STILL awake and still coming out of his room.
I’ve tried reasoning. Bribing. Rewards. Ignoring. Responding to every request with a pleasant smile and hug and kiss. Shouting. Nothing works.
When we FINALLY get him to sleep, he cannot sleep through the night. Saturday night he was asleep by 10:30, then awake every two hours after that crying, shouting, and demanding “only mommy.” He was up for the day at 6:15. Abby was up twice that night too, making for an awful night.
We can have an amazing day together, a day where he listens well and follows directions and plays nice, and he’ll STILL be a nightmare at bedtime and overnight.
With lack of sleep comes lack of patience and with lack of patience comes increased anger. I get so angry when it’s 9:30 and the boy who rarely naps STILL isn’t in bed and I can’t get my nightly chores done because he is STILL awake.
I lay awake at night waiting for him to wake up. I somehow force myself awake every two hours straining to hear what I eventually do, his cries.
I don’t think he’s having nightmares. He says things like “My foot has an owie” (which isn’t a lie, but it’s not something that is causing him constant pain, it’s just a scratch) or doesn’t say anything at all and just cries. I find myself getting mad at him for crying, and shouting at him to just use his words, which makes him cry more, and I begin panicking that Abby is going to wake up, causing me to need to get to her to feed her back to sleep, which will upset Aric more because he wants me and only me.
I’m reaching the end of my rope. I’m sitting here practically in tears. He’s currently fighting bedtime again, after getting little sleep AND being sick all weekend. He just told me, “Momma, I cannot go back to bed. I just cannot.”
I try and figure out why he’s doing this, why he used to be a good sleeper and now fights it tooth and nail. Maybe it’s because he’s still affected by me being away from him in the hospital in December. But that can’t be it because I’ve left him before, and for longer periods of time. Heck, I did it last summer when I was gone from Wednesday to Monday in New York. There was no negative reaction after that.
Maybe it’s because we had so much time together during my maternity leave, and going back to daycare has been hard on him. I don’t know.
I honestly believe that he was sick this week because of lack of sleep. It wasn’t anything terrible, just a low fever and sinus troubles. But it’s the exact sickness I get when I’m running on little sleep and my immune system starts to rebel against me.
And so I lose patience. I feel like I’m losing my mind when my child tells me “I cannot go to bed” but cannot tell me why. I wonder where the hell I’m going wrong with him. Am I not giving him enough of me? Am I giving too much?
The worst part is that whenever I spend any amount of time interacting with Abby beyond feeding her, I feel like I’m upsetting Aric more and thus setting us up for a shit-tastic bedtime.
I just want one night. One night away from my children. I don’t want to put either of them to bed. I don’t want to be the one that has to get up and put him back to sleep (Tim tries, trust me. It just makes Aric cry harder when it’s not me getting him). I don’t want to be woken up at 5:45 with a child yelling “SUN WAKED UP! IT’S MORNING!” (especially when that same child physically cannot get up on weekday mornings)
I’m tired. I need a break. I need to not be needed. I need to not be THE ONLY person who can be anything to these children. I need Aric to sleep. I need him to be able to put into words what’s going on in that brain of his and explain why the HELL he refuses to sleep. Then of course there’s the fear that if I finally do get that night away from him, he’ll be even worse when we’re back together.
I don’t want to shut down. But I fear that if I can’t get a break from this it’s inevitable.