Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Night Here Comes Again

That line from Ryan Adams goes through my mind these days fairly often at about 8:00pm. At that point I begin to feel tired and ready for bed, and I have absolutely no gurantee that I will be able to get an hour straight of sleep. I do have a pretty good guarantee I will not sleep through the night.

I think we have all stayed up obscenely late and paid the price the next day. Many of us have also woken up obscenely early and paid a similar price. Usually it is because we know that the late night chat or event is worth the tired next-day or that the morning hike or sunrise or meeting can often be made up by an early next-night bedtime or a nap.

But there is little comparison to months-on-end of repeatedly interrupted sleep. It really is quite something.

Seriously, how many times in life do we get to enjoy being repeatedly woken in the middle of the night so we can be awake for periods ranging from 2 minutes to 2 hours at a time? Now there is an experience!

Last night I was up from 2am to 4am. I read for a bit and held a baby and walked around for awhile, trying desperately not to drop said baby in a sleep-walking stupor.

This is life. This is not heroism. This is barely even survival. This is what (almost) every parent has done for their child. It is crazy, really. But it is the self-sacrifice naturally invested into humanity. You either rise (literally) to the challenge or you don't. I've only been at it for a few days and sometimes I honestly don't know how people do it.

One night at a time I guess. Take help in every form it is available. Try to enjoy it. Truth is, there is much to enjoy. A baby sleeping is pure delight. A baby laughing in his sleep is sheer joy! A content child in the arms is a pleasure. But Chicken Soup for the Soul already told you that.

What we need to also remember with a sense of humour in the darkest hours is that even a squirming writhing tiny body of chaos is a wonder to behold.

Just some fragmentary thoughts from a frazzled but basically intact father.


Colleen said...

Oh wow... I do not envy you guys these days! I'm still up 2 or 3 times per night with my 8 month old... I've been thinking of you two. Just remember - it does get better! :o) Hope you have a bit more sleep tonight.

Tarasview said...

I am praying for you both... I really and truly felt like I would die of sleep deprivation when Aiden was colicky and screaming 11 hours per day...

I actually haven't slept through the night once since he was born 6 years ago... but I have faith that all of us will ONE DAY catch up on all the sleep we've missed!!!

Matthew A. Wilkinson said...

"some fragmentary thoughts from a... basically intact father."

Basically intact.


good luck.

Tony Tanti said...

Hope things are getting better. Sorry I haven't called more, I hear you had a few less than pleasant days there but I also hear that Mattias is one tough kid.

Talk to you soon.

jon said...

yeah Mattias had to be admitted to the hospital for 48 hours to check for infections etc. He emerged with a clean bill of health but in the process had to endure:

1) a needle in his upper forehead drawing blood for a blood culture
2) an IV in his "elbow pit" and his arm thus taped to a stiff board for two day so he couldn't bend it
3) a spinal tap to check for meningitis
4) and a whole lot of poking and prodding.

So yeah, one tough cookie. We heard louder screams putting them in their carseats than we did when Mattias was getting all of the above done to him.

Anyway, the lack of sleep goes on . . .

Tony Tanti said...


Nice work reading Poisonwood, amazing book that one.