Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Conflict

If you follow me on Twitter you'll have heard me banging on and on about how tired I am today. Oh, lordy I'm tired. Tired as a very tired thing. Tired as a man who's only had a couple of hours sleep and now can't think well enough to come up with a decent analogy. Or simile. Or anything else.

I'm typing this on Word, and there's a big squiggly green line under pretty much that entire opening paragraph. Usually, I'd treat that squiggly line with utter contempt. Ha! Word. You think you know better than me? Piss off Word, piss off.  But today I'm tired, so I look at the green squiggly line and I believe it. That's how tired I am.

I'm this tired because my son decided last night that sleep was an optional activity. Usually amenable to a bit of shut eye, bed at seven, up at around half five. Usually one brief wake up sometime in the hours which are usually reserved for people who use Class A drugs to stay awake.

We're lucky. I know this. He's always been a pretty good sleeper. I like to think he got that from me.

Last night we got a taste of how different it could be.

Bed at seven. Up at eight. Inconsolable until well after midnight. Awake again less than twenty minutes later. It's all a bit hazy past there, but I reckon I can recall at least four separate periods of pacing his room, praying to a higher being I don't even believe in, willing him to let the sandman in to his tiny body.

But the point of all this is not just that he wouldn't sleep, or that I'm tired. We've all been there with babies, it's part and parcel. Everyone knows you trade in the right to sleep for as long as you want the moment that little genetic portmanteau of you and the baby's co-creator.

The point of this is that losing those precious hours of down time for your body makes you irritable. Maybe even angry.

Why, when all I'm trying to do is cuddle and comfort you, do you insist on bucking, writhing, kicking at my torso?

What do you want me to do?

What do you want me to not do?

Why can't you just give in, relax, drop off?

All these questions and more actually left my lips last night. In tones that were probably anything but soothing for the poor little mite. Not shouting. Tense. Bristling with barely restrained annoyance.

A baby which won't sleep puts you at war with yourself. All you want is to go to sleep yourself. Your body knows it's tired, even if the baby's doesn't.

In those moments, those minutes, those hours of wailing, sobbing, tears and tantrums there is an internal conflict being played out. I never, not even for the tiniest fraction of a moment, doubt my unconditional love for Cam, but I also know that if he had been anyone's baby but my own I would have shut the door to his room, stuffed cotton wool in my ears, and ignored him.

Those questions, uttered through gritted teeth, were the physical manifestation of a desire to give up. To find a way to get my own sleep. Of an underlying selfishness and weakness. A doubt in my ability to carry one caring.

But I did carry on. Of course I did. How could I not? I carried on. I rocked, I jogged, I wore an imperceptible groove into the carpet of his room as I trudged back and forth, up and down, bouncing, whispering, soothing, hoping, wishing. When I wasn't doing those things, my wife was. We both greeted today feeling leaden, achy and wretched.

Of course, I hope that tonight will see an improvement. But, if it doesn't, at least I can be almost certain it won't be worse, and now I know that I can cope, it should be easier, right?

Thanks for reading.

17 comments:

  1. Oh Christ, it's bloody nightmarish isn't it? You can see why sleep deprivation is used to interrogate terrorists. I recall pacing all through the night with tears streaming down my face a I begged my tiny daughter to go to sleep. I then phoned my mum at 6am in such a state that she drove for an hour in her pyjamas to relieve me. As much as I love the child I'd have happily locked her in the shed to cry it out while I slipped back into merciful sleep.

    Darling, I'm thinking of you and hoping to fuck that tonight gets you some precious kip.

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    1. I know, it felt like torture at the time. Horrendous.

      Two nights on and he's slept a straight 12 hours. I like him again now ;-)

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  2. oh dude, unfortunately you'll have nights like that, LPV was a good sleep too. so when you have restless nights it knocks your socks off. is he teething? Hope you have a better night and all get some shut eye.

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    1. We think he was teething, and had a throat infection. I've honestly never seen him so grumpy!

      Back to normal now, thank funk.

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  3. Oh it's so hard isn't it. Ronnie has only just started sleeping properly, he's 4 and half now. Can relate to that wretched tired feeling in the morning. I'm sure it won't last. The only way we managed it was bed at 9 to get a bit of sleep before he woke up.

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    1. I'm incredibly glad he is, generally, a good sleeper. But those bad nights, man, they're a killer.

      Thanks for reading :-)

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  4. I'm so sorry your night didn't improve. We had the same thing in this house last night and it was awful, today was worse, I could barely function.

    I hope you get more sleep tonight (and that we do too).

    MotherScufferx

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    1. Thanks, sorry to hear you had a bad one too.

      He seems over it now (tempting fate...)

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  5. This too shall pass. It will. Promise.

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    1. I know, I was briefly pining for a slovenly teenager at 4am ;-)

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  6. It will get better. Hang in there!

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    1. Cheers dude, we're seemingly back on track now!

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  8. One night when DD was about 6 weeks old, I lay next to her in bed and sobbed "please shut up, please go to sleep, mummy needs some rest" I feel your pain. Now she's 13 .... I miss the broken nights, yes really. But then I console myself that in a few years I'll be pacing at midnight muttering 'answer your damned phone, where ARE you?' parenting eh!

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    1. I remember the nights during his first few weeks. Terrible, but, truly, nothing on this one. If it never happens again I can honestly say I'd not miss it.

      They never stop keeping us awake, one way or another ;-)

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  9. The good news is, you can, and will, function on 4-5 broken hours sleep a night. I am living proof of this feat. Unfortunately, I'm also really fucking tired all the time, even now he's sleeping better. Hope tonight is better! :D

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    1. You know what? I thought of you as I wrote this post. I can not imagine coping as well as you do, but I suppose we all adapt to what we've got.

      Last night was lots better, woohoo!

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