Monday, November 14, 2011
Declan is seven months today. What is 7 months? 7 months is just a shocking amount of happy and general bonhomie, except when being fed green vegetables or placed on his stomach for longer than he would like. Or me watching anything but the Daily Show on Hulu while I nurse him, because how else would be get his news? This child has not met a stranger, beaming at anyone who comes across his baby blues. He sits up for long periods of time, eats the hell out of some sweet potatoes, and generally seems to enjoy being strangled by his well meaning sister on a daily basis*
While seven months is remarkable milestone in itself, it also marks seven months of fractured, fitful sleep for his parents. Work has been off the charts busy, and I've been taking lots of pictures of babies, talking to parents about their babies. And I swear it feels like I am the only parent whose baby doesn't sleep.
I know this is isn't true. You all have told me as much.
But not sleeping well for seven months, averaging maybe 4-5 hours nightly, is taking a serious toll. At his longest, Baby D sleeps six hour stretches, but never after midnight. And while his disposition is unfailingly cheery, his health remarkable, Caleb and I can't say the same.
I look awful. I feel awful. I don't have enough energy to exercise. I have frequent headaches from interrupted sleep. I can't remember shit, often forgetting to pay bills and mixing up appointments. I even started giving the baby formula, hearing anecdotally that the additional calories would help the baby sleep.
While feeding the baby and feeding myself, I was skimming an article about willpower and how multitasking and sleep deprivation - through depletion in glucose and overloading certain parts of the brain - are documented motivation killers.
That stopped me in my tracks.
Sleep begets sleep. No sleep fucks everything up. So I guess my job right now is to just be at peace with the fact that I won't get much accomplished for the time being. I'm trying to take comfort in that maybe biology is at play in my inability to work on my novel at this time. Or maybe I was just crazy to attempt it during my busiest work season yet. It certainly doesn't help that my entire house is suffering from a ubiquitous cold, so I know when we all start breathing better, we will (ideally) start sleeping better.
Now if only I can remember to tell you if we do.
*Harlow's love for her brother is rather awesome to behold. She's his own personal troubadour, smothering him with hugs and making up songs on the fly. Sample lyrics:
You are the KING of babies
The KING of babies!
I love you I love you I love you
I love you so much
I won't throw you away in the trash can.