A few days ago, Rara wrote this post about blogging in her sleep, and I couldn’t help but feel a tinge of jealousy over her proclivity to sleepwalk her way to her keyboard and pound out words. The only thing I do in my sleep is dream about going back to high school and riding elevators naked. If I could literally write in my sleep, I would spam you guys way more than I do now, but trust me, it would be worth it. I would probably break out some f-words and tell you things that would make my mom damn the day I learned to read and write.
I can sacrifice a lot of things in my life in an effort to streamline my days and maximize my time. I don’t feel bad cutting the corners on feeding my family and making a thirty-minute meal into a ten-minute meal. I can skip lunch. I can put off the laundry one more day, and I don’t care too much if I leave the house wearing unironed pants. However, the more I live and the deeper I get into this parenting gig, the more I realize that I am incapable of skimping on sleep. When I don’t get a full dreamless eight hours, I am not only useless to the world but also the world’s number one hater. Everything I touch seems to suffer. Every word I write has to be beaten out.
For the last couple weeks, I have been waking in the morning and not feeling refreshed at all. I expect that this has something to do with the arrival of Cee’s new toddler skills. I’m a creature of habit, so now that she has done away with her second nap and is talking a lot more, I am having to figure out how to mom a child who relies on me for far more than food. While every week brings on new challenges when you’re raising a baby whose skills arrive slowly enough for you to manage them by only slightly adjusting your routine and mindset, you often end those weeks knowing (or at least convincing yourself) that the baby is still a baby. You’re still a parent to a small, somewhat static person. Lies.
I can’t tell myself that anymore. My girl is growing up and needing me to guide her through her often frightening emotions. I am no longer just a giver of food and coaxer of naps. Whereas only a year ago she used to wake in the night to be fed or changed, last night she woke up in a terror over, presumably, a bad dream. (We went to the mall on Labor Day, so we certainly populated her mind with a lot of frightening images. Think Black Friday is bad? Try a highly-publicized sale at Macy’s.) I picked her up out of her crib and she was shaking and sobbing. I carried her to the sofa where I used to nurse her, and I held her up against me and whispered to her that while she was frightened at God knows what, I was there to chase the Nasties away. It had been so long since one of our midnight rendezvous that I noticed how her moonlight appearance had changed. Far less pudge around her face and longer hair that I could rake my hands through. It was one of those Moments whose power belies its smallness.
She was fine after awhile and I put her back to bed. We never heard another peep out of her so I guess she fell back asleep without a lot of effort. I fell back asleep fairly easy too, but I still woke feeling groggy and grumpy. Clearly, even if I’m not blogging in my sleep, I’m doing something. Figuring out how to care for a child as she transitions from babyhood to childhood is something I’m going to need a lot of rest doing, and that is frustrating to me because I have always deluded myself that I could put off my own bedtime for a couple hours if I really needed to.
Someone put on the coffee.