Monday, January 29, 2007

a side order of sleep

As you know things have been a little kooky over here, and we've been really struggling trying to get our rhythms back in place. Everything depends upon that rhythm- our ability to function in the world, stay focused on tasks, and communicate clearly and humanely with one another.

Clearly and humanely. I always had assumed that would be the easy part... but when our rhythms are out of whack, nothing is easy. Nothing is clear. And I find myself suddenly at the end of the day wondering how did we get here?

Rhythm, to me, depends primarily on two things: food and sleep. Regular and consistent mealtimes are easy. I watched my kids to see when they get hungry, and I began to anticipate that hunger. We eat every 2-3 hours. I don't know if that's normal or not. But that's when we're hungry. You can set the clock by it. 9, 12, 3, 5:30, and 7:30.

Sleep, on the other hand, is less easy. When Sunburst was a wild and energetic one-year-old who fought sleep with an iron fist, it astounded me how our neighbor's same age child would easily nap twice a day and be back in her room for a 6:30 bedtime. We struggled with sleep issues for years, but eventually we moved past the iron fist business and got on with life for the most part. This past November, our sleep patterns fell apart all over again. A solid month of houseguests, a car accident, illness, holiday fervor, and an injured Mommy who couldn't physically get it together to do the normal bedtime routine turned us all into sleepless wrecks. Normally, I climb in bed with them and we read for 30 minute stretches before the singing and other Mommy voodoo. For the first couple of weeks, I couldn't physically climb into their bed. The nightmares and pain had us up and down all night. One sleepless night led to another and the whole system crashed.

In a moment of complete desperation, I picked up this book, recommended to me by the wise Aleisha.

I can't say enough good things about this book. It had me crying by page six. I'm not saying that I wasn't bone tired and emotionally fragile, because believe me, I was. But it opened my eyes to thinking about sleep and parenting in a whole new light.

And we're sleeping again, for the most part. But even when we're not, because life is always happening, it's like my brain is more attuned to what's going on. I can see sleep issues as sleep issues rather than plots to overthrow my sanity. I can cut us all a little more slack, and the rhythm can still flow through us. And so at last we're back to being mostly humane, functioning people. Who knew?


  1. Awesome! I can tell you are coming back to the world of wellness because you are posting so much more. It's great. I'm too tired to posting tonight but am enjoying yours. And, dude, the children were asleep this evening by 8! Here's hoping it lasts til morning.

  2. Oh, I'm glad you're slowly winding your way back to health and sleep and "normal" family life. I wish I'd had that perspective on sleep when Sophine was a newborn. The sleep deprivation literally drove me to the outer limits of my sanity.

    Sleep is so important, I hope you get lots of it this week!

  3. I have this book and had given up on reading it/ applying it to our lives. I will pick it back up again. Thanks for the inspiration.


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