Friday, December 17, 2004

Into the wee hours of the night

It's been a long time since I went to bed at 4 a.m. In my previous life (before marriage and children), this was a common occurrence, one filled with alcohol, cigarettes, and long talks into the night with friends. But since I've become "domesticated," I no longer stay up into the wee hours of the night. The exception being if I'm at a black jack or pai gow table in Vegas.

But the night before last, I relived my night owl days by going to bed at 4 a.m. The difference this time was there was no alcohol (not really recommended if you're breastfeeding), certainly no cigarettes (I have to stay healthy now that I'm a mom), and no friends to wax poetically with. It was just me and my crying little Dak, who was wide awake and refused to go to sleep. He woke up at 11:30, just when I was ready to go to bed, and proceeded to zap all my remaining energy and creativity levels until 4 a.m. Who knew there are so many ways to hold a baby, pat his back or bottom, bounce him up and down while roaming the halls, all the while trying to quiet his cries so he doesn't wake up his big sister (small miracle that she slept right through it).

He finally went to sleep at 4 a.m. on my husband's chest. Despite the fact that my husband had to wake up for an early breakfast meeting at work, he got up after seeing me crying on the couch in frustration for not being able to get our son to sleep. He lay down on the couch with him, and told me to go to bed and get some sleep. Of course, Dak was ready to eat again at 6 a.m.

While I was exhausted yesterday, I had an epiphany. My job right now is to take care of Dak. I can't worry about what time I go to bed, or whether I have time to eat during the day. I took some naps when he did yesterday, and even though he had some melt-downs last night, I took it with a grain of salt. We'll get through these transitional times, and I'll learn to function on less sleep.

Although, a trip to the tables in Vegas is looking really good to me right now!


Monday, December 13, 2004

A whole new world

I had forgotten how a tiny little body can cause such upheaval in a pretty ordinary life. Our new son, all nearly 10 pounds of him, has managed to completely alter our life, but in a good way. Sleep deprivation not withstanding, our new little boy has reminded me of how amazing a new life can be. But it is a little different this time around.

With our daughter, we could focus all of our time and energy (what little of it we had after a few hours of sleep a night) on her. Now we have to divide our time between little "Dak" (we call him that because he makes these odd sounds that sound strangely like a terradactyl) and little Boogie, who's not quite so little anymore. To give her credit, she's adjusted pretty well to having a little brother. She loves giving him kisses and hugging him, and wants to help when she can. But she's also 2 1/2. So she's still prone to tantrums and feelings of jealousy, especially when she sees me holding him all the time. Sometimes it gets to be a bit overwhelming to satisfy his needs to be fed, changed and bathed, while meeting her just-as-demanding needs to be read to, hugged, and reassured that she is still our little girl, and that we love her very much. Plus, she has an unending abundance of energy that is sometimes a bit too much for my sleep-deprived body. Especially when I'm still recovering from my c-section surgery.

But, yesterday afternoon, when she was laying next to me on the couch after her nap, and he was just dozing off, I really felt the importance of our family. This transitional time of getting our son used to his new surroundings, and helping our daughter get used to the idea that she's not the only one, is merely temporary. I know that the best is yet to come ... and that sleep will find me soon.