I know, over a year into this two-kid life, that I'm no longer the most exhausted mother on the planet (there were a few months there where I would have challenged anyone for that title!). Shockingly, the first few weeks were not the worst for me as Chet slept a few hours stretch right from the beginning. In fact, his serious sleep regressions didn't start until he was about five months old. Suddenly he was up ever two hours, and it was taking a toll on me. I know it's a growth spurt and at that age he's discovering new things (like crawling!) that keep them up all night. I was willing to go with it and nurse through the growth spurt, but a growth spurt doesn't last six months- bad habits do! At one point, I drank so much coffee that my nursling smelled like coffee, and my toddler thought the smell of coffee meant he got donuts. He could point out the Dunkin Donuts logo and tell me Mama's cup!
After being assured by my pediatrician that he was finally gaining the proper amount of weight and didn't need to eat all night every night, I started by telling myself I would only rock him back to sleep before 4am and after 4am, he would be allowed to eat. That's about eight hours from his last meal to his early morning snack. Finally at eleven months, I tried a little CIO, and my stubborn one took over a week to get good at sleeping, just in time for Ryan and I to take a much needed vacation and leave the kids with the Grandmas.
At this point, the boys are sleeping relatively well, so I'm feeling quite in control these days. With Chester in a toddler bed, if he needs me in the middle of the night, he just gets up and comes to me. There's no crying involved, and everyone gets their needs met. They go to sleep around 8-8:30am and wake between 6-7am and I feel like a champ most days, decently well rested. They even nap together, giving me a chance to nap myself if we've had a rough night.
But you're not here to learn how well-rested I am these days. You want the funny stories of sleep deprivation. We've all read how lack of sleep can cause symptoms like hallucinations, slow speech, movement, reactions and poor concentration. I'm pretty sure those case studies were done on Moms! When I don't get enough sleep, like many Moms, I am crabby, grouchy and short-tempered with my children and my husband. I also start fumbling, missing the easy tasks, forgetting important appointments, etc.
I'm not the only one who fumbles while tired and I won't identify who has done each of the following but instead leave you to guess:
On Chester's very first trip to the pediatrician, we made it all the way there, only to discover Chester was still swaddled in his car seat... not buckled in. Oh, that was bad. Very. Bad.
On another trip, singing along in the car, suddenly not remembering the alphabet. What comes after Q? Good thing the toddler, then only 22 months had it handled.
While in traffic at 5am on a Saturday morning, someone driving the moving van fell asleep driving over the GW Bridge. Not the finest moment, but thankfully no harm done.
Got out of the car with it still in drive. Whoops! There goes the car!
Getting lost on the way to work? Done that too.
On a more serious note- we are approaching the summer heat and I'll put this article out there for you to read. It is VERY sad and you'll probably want to read it alone, not at work or in public, and you'll definitely want to hug your kids after you read it. In a sleep-deprived fog, just about anything can happen, and I hope the article just keeps this at the front of your mind enough to prevent a tragedy.