Monday, March 22, 2010

Exhaustion and Attachment

It's 6 am. Between Ben and myself, we've been awake pretty much all night. Maybe a couple of moments to doze off before Charlie squeaks, then starts wailing. We've done it all. We've been trying the co-sleeping thing, which has just made everything worse. With every exception we've made to our we'll-never-do-that parenting rules, his demands have grown. At times during the night, it feels like we're negotiating with a terrorist.

I'm just telling you like it is.

Never mind, there he goes again. To be continued....

~shhhh, bounce bounce bounce, rockrockrockrockrockrock~

....and I'm back.

We're to the point where Charlie will gladly sleep in our arms all night long. Unless we try to get comfortable, and which point he usually begins to protest that we stand up and start bouncing him.

When we put him down, he starts frantically hitting his face/wiping his nose/rubbing his eyes, which begins the squeaking to wailing sequence.

All of this from a boy who is smiley, pleasant, friendly, independent, and cheerful all day long.

Time out again.

~shhhh, bounce bounce bounce, rockrockrockrockrockrock.... try to figure out how to blog and hold baby, give up, go to work, come home, eat lunch, shhhh, bounce bounce bounce ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh naptime~

Time in.

Now that daylight washes the world with perspective, I no longer liken my nights to negotiating with a terrorist. But, I'm going to leave that part in this post so you can get a sense of the ugly things that night time does to me.

The bottom line is that Charlie is not sleeping well. Emotionally, I'm fine with the long process of attachment. Emotionally, I don't mind a bit giving up my sleep and my comfort to hold and rock and bounce. But, practically, well.... we all need sleep. Sleeplessness makes you (me) crazy. It wears us thin, leaves us no buffer of time to recuperate and get ready for another day of attachment, much less work and answering a four-year-old's questions.

In my sleep-deprived-insanity, it's hard to differentiate the good thoughts from the crazy. But, here a few I'm going to let take root in my life for a start:
  • It is foolish to assume that his happiness means he's attached. He likes me, he likes life, but that is not the same thing as forming a healthy attachment with a caregiver that will be the foundation for a healthy life.
  • In light of this, I need to make some changes. No more checking my email while I feed him a bottle. When I'm not scanning the room to assess the safety of the older two, this is eye contact time. I need to wear him more - just because he's happy to play on the floor while I clean up doesn't mean that's what's best for him. We need to go back to not letting others hold him (again, just because he likes it doesn't mean that's what's best for him). And, saddest of all: it might be time to give up the gym for a spell... we'll see. 
  • I want to put more work into the attachment thing during the day, in the hopes that it will lessen the need for some of it during the night.
  • Maybe a swaddler, this blanket specifically, will help with the frantic nose-wiping, face-hitting, ear-tugging? We'll see, because I'm ordering it right now.
I'm still not sure where I'm at with the crib/co-sleeping dilemma...

Am I making a bit of sense or has the Crazy seeped in to this post?

I am so tired that I cried this morning when someone asked me to move seats during a meeting. I am so tired that I don't even know how I feel about one of the biggest legislative controversies in recent history. I am so tired that when people talk about said controversy I want to cry because everyone seems so mean about it.

I'm just tired. And trying not to hang all my hopes on the Miracle Blanket.


Heidi said...

We have been there. I'm sure we haven't handled everything perfectly, but Cooper is now sleeping through most nights. Life seems so much easier when he does. I feel your pain!!! Have you had a doc take a peek at his ears lately? Coop had ear infection when he was doing the "hit himself in the face" routine. Praying for all of you, Friend!

Steve said...

No explanation needed. I can't believe what you ladies do. I take my turn a couple of nights a week, and last night it about put me over the edge, and Kaylee is not keeping me up like Charlie is you. The problem is that sometimes once Kaylee has wakened me, I can't go back to sleep. Last night Serge stayed awake until 10:00 after being put to bed at 8:00, the longest it has ever taken him to go to sleep. Then Kaylee wakened at 1:40 or something like that. I didn't get much sleep the rest of the night. Around 5:00 (who knows, really) she wakened again, and somewhere in there I gave her two half bottles of formula and had her sleep with me for a while.

And Melissa does this five nights a week. Hang in there. Better days will come by God's grace. (I think I am saying that to myself.) :) Say hi to Ben.

Dad said...

May He give you the sweetness of sleep in His time. May He bless you with strength if not sleep. May He overwhelm you with assurance even when your strength wanes. May He bless your willingness to be poured out like a drink offering on behalf of your family and in grateful response for blessing you with the privilege of children.

Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. Phil 2:17

The Albertsons said...

hey there! my name is becca... i'm good friends with hunter and adrianne thompson who i think you traveled with to Rwanda? anyway I found your blog from theirs. We adopted our third child from Ethiopia two years ago- Sam. He was seven months old at the time. We struggled with the same issues. Let me give you some hope because the swaddling REALLY helped Sam. So even if the actual swaddler thing doesn't come in the mail for a few days, try swaddling him with a regular blanket tonight, rock him to sleep, and put him down swaddled. That combined with basically forcing the kid to suck his thumb (he wouldn't do a paci) helped tremendously... we trained him to hold a small blankie with one hand, suck the thumb of his other hand, and swaddled him up.
Best wishes to you!!!

Kristin said...

Praying for you, Susie!

Natalie said...

Praying for you friend. I know too well the feeling of not getting any sleep and I know the type of person it makes me - I hate that woman. I will for sure be praying for wisdom as you seek to do what is best for your family... which includes taking care of yourself! Miss you friend! WIsh we could be there this week to see everyone.

Rachael said...

Not getting enough sleep is so hard - and there's nothing like bleary middle-of-the-night wake-ups to mess with you. I'm praying for you guys, Susie, as you navigate the attachment process and parenting three little ones.

I have the Miracle Blanket and it is awesome, if mine wasn't trimmed in lavender I'd send it over to you.

Will Charlie sleep on your back in the Ergo during the day?

Anonymous said...

I have so enjoyed following your blog! The miracle blanket is really a miracle, our son would see it and instantly start to calm down..and it holds in some very wiggly/strong babies! Praying for you, for rest!
laura unruh

DrMommy said...

I am so glad you shared so frankly so that we can pray specifically for you guys. I think of you all and your lovely blended family often, and I will be praying for blessed rest for you and Ben, and confidence of your love for Charlie, and understanding & cooperation from Sy and Talya...

-Isaac said...

eye opening to read about what may lie ahead, wow! thank you

Mackensie said...

A haggard, sleep depraved friend once told me to shift from "we have to do this" to "We get to do this!" Whatever the crappy, horrible thing is - we get to do it. We get to hold our babies and love them. Even at 4am.

I wanted to both hug her and punch her.

Pecos Blue said...

The happiest baby on the block video is the only thing that worked for us. Sorry if you already tried it.