Friday, January 01, 2010

the year in sleep

as i sit here considering 2009, sleep surfaces as a recurring theme. maybe it's because david just put siena down successfully, but more likely it's because sleep--as a topic and as a reality--became such a focus in 2009.

sleep began eluding me during pregnancy. i had a rotating schedule of solutions; sometimes i'd read or do some work, and other times i'd relax in the recliner, trying to create an environment where i was almost flat on my back (who knew that back sleeping was an absolute no-no?). my ability to stay asleep became a bit more predictable when i borrowed a large, snake-like pillow from a friend. "the snoog" fashioned a nest for my bulbous body while fostering an albeit anti-social setting in our bed.

my friends with kids would tell me to savor the sleep i was getting, as i'd certainly suffer from sleep deprivation once i became a parent. i never understood the gravity of their words. the long period of sleep deprivation that muddled my brain and pummeled my mood far outlived my expectations. and now, as my friends suggested, the quest for sleep has become priority number one, both for me and for our daughter.

so here i am, normalized on less sleep, and fortunate to not be sleep-deprived. these days our sights are focused sharply on our daughter's patterns, hoping we can unleash a secret charm that will shift our current situation, whatever that might be. i continue to spend fits and spurts of time scanning sleep tomes, in expectation of unearthing that nugget. just today, we agreed to keep a chart of her sleep and waking hours because we can't remember what happened yesterday or last week. again, the hope is that the chart will make clear what is evading clarity.

but when i return to the thesis of this post, i'm reminded that we've come so far and learned so much. while sleep may ebb and flow, the constant is our remarkable daughter who teaches us daily how tremendous a gift she is, and what a joy it is to share our world with her.


Anonymous said...

We charted Miss Madeline from the beginning, and it REALLY helped us. Sleep and all "inputs" and "outputs." P. made an Excel spreadsheet so we would print a new one each week. This is also handy when you have multiple caregivers so you know what happened in her day. Let me know if you want me to send you a copy!

sarah said...

i charted siena's comings and goings early on, but once she started to nap and eat more regularly, i stopped. at the time, it was both a relief and marked a welcome shift in my parenting. the past two days her naps and bedtime behaviors seem a bit helter-skelter, so a chart seems like a decent idea. would love to see yours!

jini said...

i'm glad that deprivation is not the only sleep pattern in your life these days. it is indeed both disorienting and disheartening.
i agree that siena is the greatest gift, but watching you and david become joyful parents is yet another gift. a special gift to me has been your welcoming me as an active participant in the whole joyful process. :)

Pattie said...

Change is inevitable, growth is optional.

New bumpersticker I saw on a co-workers car. It applies well to parenting.

I gleaned a few 'sleep tips' from a book called the "No Cry Sleep Solution". It didn't all work-but a few strategies helped.

Remember you have been adjusting to time zone shifts and sleeping locations-you all may need some time to settle in!