Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Sleep Is For The Weak

Has anyone read the book by that title, yet? It's a book of mommy bloggers and is reportedly quite good. Unfortunately, none of the bookstores nor libraries in my area are carrying it. I was able to read a rather alarmingly (from the publisher's viewpoint) excerpt of it and enjoyed that much of it. Anyway, it inspired me to start using that response when people ask how my children sleep. My children, as you know, are not sleepers. Megan does somewhat better than Charlie with periodic 4-5 hour stretches but those are interspersed with days or weeks of bi-hourly waking (if not more frequent). I have a near encyclopedic knowledge of the many facets of sleep training, sleep development, co-sleeping, bed sharing, and, in a related field, the psychotropic drugs parents may skip because they get the same effects after not getting a REM cycle for 6 months or so. "Sleep is for the weak," is really an ideal response since it manages to make light of what is actually an issue capable of driving me to the pits of despair. However, hysterical weeping isn't really something I want to do in the produce aisle. It also gives the clear indication that you are aware that the rest of the world thinks sleep is important but you have transcended the issue. Therefore, you don't require helpful tips. Finally, it gives a mild amount of healthy sarcasm to deal with those slightly smug parents, or worse, grandparents. My second favorite response is to say "Oh no, they're gifted." This also puts people enough off balance that the subject is quickly changed. You'll get some odd looks but you usually don't get told any of the more irritating tidbits of advice.

Sleep is the area where I think I am growing the most as a mother. I want to be the type of mom who can maintain a positive relationship with her children throughout their adulthoods. A lot of this seems to hinge on being able to accept your children as they are rather than who you want them to be. While I am not about to let my children decree that they only need 7 hours of sleep a day. I am learning to accept that my children aren't sleepers- there is still wailing and gnashing of teeth and gentle but firm guidance about when sleeping times are. I'm also learning to appreciate the reasons they aren't sleepers- the high social drive, the incessant desire to explore, the desire to be 100% there all the time. And now, if you'll excuse me, Megan only knows how to crawl backwards and seems to have lodged herself between the playhouse and table which is highly distressing for all involved.


Rita Arens said...

Hi there! I edited Sleep Is for the Weak and have a bunch of copies in my basement. E-mail me at ritabiermann(at)hotmail(dot)com if you'd like to get one direct.

I came up with the title because my daughter wouldn't sleep, and I felt so judged by society and myself because I couldn't "make" her sleep. Good for you for realizing early on what a travesty it is to try to bend the child to your will. Sure, you want your kids to be polite and good citizens, but good grief, let them eat and poop when they want. ha!

Joseph Habshey said...

You can sleep when you're dead

suzannah said...

i appreciate this so much!

my daughter is 13 months and continues to wake every 3 hours, and more like every 1-2 or more when teething. (and she won't go back to sleep unless i nurse her ALL. NIGHT. LONG.) i thought i was taking it in stride pretty well, but this week it just broke me.

i hate that you're exhausted, but i love that i'm not alone!

may we all sleep better tonight:)