My seven month old is teething. Either that or she’s a tiny, adorable assassin sent to kill me by sleep deprivation. Jury’s still out.
The last few nights (ok, the last several weeks) have been pretty hellish. She’s up, she’s down, she’s up, she’s down.. And every time I think I’ve got her totally relaxed and sleeping peacefully in her crib, every single time I climb quietly into my own bed and snuggle in, finally able to convince my body to release its ever present Mama tension, the fussing begins.
My thought process runs something like this:
“Ok, I’ll just let her cry a little bit. She just needs to fuss for a minute and she’ll go back to sleep.”
Five minutes later, as the fussing begins to escalate to a full cry, “Just a couple more minutes. She’ll find her binky and pass out.”
Another two minutes go by and a banshee has now replaced my sweet baby, “Sweet Jesus, is her leg stuck?? Did she poop?? Have I been laying here letting my baby suffer??? MAMA’S COMING!!”
So I go rushing into the room to find her sitting up in her crib, screaming hysterically while the binky sits, literally, two inches from her on the mattress. Every. Damn. Time.
Binky back in mouth, lay her down, she’s relaxed, breathing slows.. Ahh.. we’re good. Back in bed, oh my pillow is so soft and the blankets are so snuggly and my husband is this nice ball of warm behind me..sleep.. sleep…
‘Eh-heh, eh-heh, eh-heh, WAHHHHHH!!! WAHHHHHH!!! WAHHHHH!!!”
On and on until I finally cave and end up sleeping with her on my chest. Let me tell you, a seven month old on your chest is NOTHING like a newborn. As I struggle to breathe with a miniature elephant crushing my lungs, I wonder if I will ever get a full night’s sleep again.
Then I hear, “Mommy! Mommy!! I have to go to the bathroom!”
And I know for certain that sleep is a luxury I won’t be experiencing for another 18 years or so.
Somehow, even after a night of screaming and awkward sleep on a Mommy shaped mattress, my little monkey wakes up bright and early, ready to start the day.
“GAH!” a little voice says, and I crack an eyelid to find her face two inches from my own. As I struggle to accept the fact that I must now get up and get ready for work after 4 or 5 nonconsecutive hours of sleep, she wiggles and giggles and climbs, none the worse for wear.
People without kids wonder how anyone can possibly survive on so little sleep. Hell, I often wonder myself.
I’ll admit, there are times when the days are long, my temper is short, and I would sell my soul for a few uninterrupted hours of rest in my own bed. But there are also days when my son sings Baby Beluga to my baby girl as we rush to get ready to leave, and her face is filled with such pure, unencumbered joy that the night before becomes a blurry afterthought.
Teething, diapers, sleepless nights, it’s all really just a blip on the radar. In the moment, it feels like this phase, whatever it may be, is never going to end. You’re never going to sleep, or eat a hot meal, or sit for TEN FREAKING MINUTES. But before you know it, it’s over. A new phase begins and you’re left with just the memory of being awakened by a drooly baby kiss in the dim light of dawn.