Friday, February 3, 2012

Insomniacs Anonymous

I'm running on little sleep today, so you'll have to forgive me if today's post seems a little lackluster.  And actually, that's the topic of this post.

Not lackluster, although I do think it's a fun word.  Not enough sleep.  That is what I will be force-feeding you today.

Here's the thing:  Atticus is not a great sleeper.

Don't get me wrong, he's gotten better.  It used to be, in the not-so-distant past, two out of every three nights Derek and I were repeatedly shuffling into the bedroom to calm him down.  Now, it's more like once or twice a week.

We've yet to identify a single oustanding culprit.  We've found pieces of the puzzle that make up the problem, but have yet to assemble them into any recognizable whole that would give us a clear solution.

Part of the problem is Adelaide.  She yells in her sleep (not talks, but yells rather viciously: "STOP DOING THAT!"  and "NO, DOOOON'T!"), and she and Atticus share a room.  We usually hear her yelling, followed shortly by Atticus crying.  At least on those occasions, there's an obvious reason for his hysterics.

It's far more frustrating at times like last night, when Adelaide was sleeping peacefully, and Atticus woke up over, and over, and over, crying for no discernible reason.  The first time he was just crying in his sleep, but after that, he was wide awake, and seemingly crying just for the sake of crying.

Derek and I each take turns quieting him down, and every time I go in, I check his forehead for fever and make sure there's nothing wrong externally.  We've tried "crying it out."  We've tried gentle understanding.  We've tried threats.  We've tried what feels like every piece of plausible advice to be found in books and online.

Right now, what works more often than anything else is prayer.  I don't mean DEAR LORD PLEASE MAKE THAT KID STOP CRYING, although there's certainly a lot of that going on, too, but praying aloud with Atticus when he's upset.  Those prayers usually sound more like,

Dear Lord,
As you have undoubtedly noticed, Atticus is upset and crying.  Please comfort him and make him feel better.  Please give Mommy and Daddy lots of patience and wisdom and patience and compassion and patience.  Thank you for always being with him, and thank you for loving him so much.
In Jesus' Name We Pray,

This doesn't work every time, but it seems to have more of a consistent effect on Atticus than any amount of hugs or cajolery.

The real problem is the next day- that would be today- when my patience is tissue paper thin, and because I've just listened to Atticus cry half the night, I really don't want to hear any of it during daylight hours.

Thankfully, he's a pretty good kid and a lot of fun to be around.  It's also usually best if I don't venture outside the house on these days, because out in public, I nearly always run into some stranger who feels honor-bound to say something along the lines of, "Enjoy these years with your little ones!  They sure fly by!"

Normally, I appreciate these sentiments, because it comes from people who tolerate and even welcome the presence of small children in public settings.  Today, however, any number of nasty little thoughts careen through my head, as I can't help but feel like it's easy to give out this advice when you're getting a full night's sleep.  I'd like to see what those people have to say after a few nights in a row with Atticus.

So, who's up for a visit from the Crislers?


  1. This may help..don't assume the person saying that is sleeping well at night. That ability seems to shrink as one ages.

  2. OH MY WORD. our atticus does this too! SHRIEKING - blood curdling, nails-on-a-chalkboard, hysterical, hyperventilating SHRIEKING.

    sometimes it's because of a stuffy nose (he really hates those) but other times it's for absolutely no apparent reason at all. and i'm totally a cry-it-out mom, but it doesn't work for these situations! and it makes me SO. STINKING. MAD. sometimes.

    i'm really glad i'm not alone in this!

  3. Maybe we made a mistake in naming our boys Atticus?


  4. Well, as Dorothy would say "There's no place like home. There's no place like home. There's no place like home." Home meaning Kansas. Just think, in three weeks, you'll get to sleep three entire nights in a row. Start polishing up those ruby slippers!

  5. Perhaps it's a second-child-thing, since Baby B likes to wake up crying for no reason and crying-it-out doesn't work with her at all either...

  6. I know this sounds cold and selfish, but it's been nice to hear from so many people- both in the comments section and elsewhere- that they go through this, too. Next time I'm awake in the middle of the night I'll think of all my fellow sleep-deprived friends and family.

  7. I thought of you at 12:30 and 4:30 this morning...


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