I’m having a bit of a crisis. thinking perhaps there is something i’m not doing right. or something i’m not doing.
today with zi was like the longest day of my life. i’m more tired than men in protracted wars. survivors of sleep-deprivation torture have nothing on me.
she’s finally up between 7 and 8 am. by finally, i mean she’s been breastfeeding for the morning on and off since about 5.30am, so yuh girl is pretty much done with rem sleep by daybreak. but by 7, she’s crawling over us like those american monster trucks crushing cars, though mostly she’s crushing my breasts with the palms of her hands or elbows and crushing her father’s balls and stomach with her knees and feet.
she’s loud too, with all the baas and gaas she can string together and she’s happy…grinning, bouncing singing happy…while of course we are completely comatose, our brains like those hard drives that you hear spinning, but which you know have already lost your data. i’ve been up breastfeeding at around 1am and then again at 3am, stone’s now slipped into bed around 4am. i’m convinced we have silent telepathetic debates about who is more tired when Zi wakes, and who should be the one awake enough to grab her ankle before she nose dives to the floor when she starts that marathon race to the bottom of the bed.
that’s just the waking up moment. from there proceeds a day, today that is, when she slept about 20 mins at 11am, 10 mins at about 3pm or so and then never again until after 8pm. yup.
now that’s just business as usual in this house. she stopped sleeping in the day at around a month old. my mother was convinced Zi wasn’t getting enough sleep because i was breastfeeding. i kept telling her no. then a couple of weeks ago, she called and asked me to call the doctor. she didn’t understand, Zi was full, bathed, dry and ready…and she just wouldn’t sleep. see, i said, i told you. i’m not calling the doctor, she’s healthy, happy and fine. she just doesn’t like to sleep.
in the beginning, i got really worried, i thought she wouldn’t grow if she didn’t sleep and her brain wouldn’t develop. the books were saying babies were sleeping 18 hours a day. mine was sleeping between 7 and 7, and was still up every two hours during that time. people told me to leave her let her bawl herself to sleep. i worried about that more. the girl was just up.
today, i watching the PM debate the state of emergency in the house of parliament. she was, of course, up and scaling me and the armchair like a baby squirrel monkey in circ de soleil. i knew she wasn’t hungry because she had just refused to eat more than a handful of pasta and three spoons of callaloo. she had breastfed for two minutes and preferred to chew on the remote. so, to listen to the speech, i put her in her crib.
that girl bawled for 45 mins. and did not fall asleep. see how exhaustion changes your philosophy about crying? after kamla was done, i went to get her. i expected her to be covered in tears, but she wasn’t. she’d just been yelling, mama, what de jail, yuh ent see i calling yuh, where yuh is, mama, ay, all yuh, doh get me vex yuh know, mama! for 45 mins. i picked her up and she was, suddenly, perfectly fine and ready to play.
after this, the day felt like i was moving slowly through water. i took her to the hammock, hoping to rock her to sleep. she cuddled up, latched on and kept her eyes open. we went to the studio where i thought the dark and a/c would lull her off. she decided the computers and cords were too much of an attraction, and started grabbing everything in sight. i took her back to the bed and she read her books and flung toys around while i tried to stayed conscious next to her.
its not the light, she sleeps longer in the dark, but not really. its not the heat, she sleeps longer in the a/c but not really. its not food, she sleeps longer when she’s full, but not really. and she’s prepared to bawl longer than i’m prepared to let her, and even then it doesn’t really make a difference.
i’m at my wits end. not because of the sleep thing. oh no! the last two days, she’s stopped eating well. i’ve hardly gotten anything in, except for oats. i think its because she’s teething, but i’m not seeing the teeth break out as yet. i’m beginning to wonder if she’s not getting enough nutrition because she doesn’t get formula or baby cereals. so, now i’ve got sleeping and eating anxieties. how come other babies seem to eat and sleep fine and mine is a happy, healthy, noisy, smiling, clapping, playful, mobile and alert opposite of that? am i doing something wrong? is this karma? is there a saint somewhere i can light a candle to?
i’m not really in crisis. but i needed a two hour nap today like an addict needs crack. the withdrawal is killing me. well, not really. but if you see me out there, looking rumpled, mumbling in the direction of the asphalt and rocking a distracted, irregular blink…at least you will know, i’m still tenaciously holding it together though my eyes feel sunburned with lack of sleep, sections of my brain seem to be detaching from each other and my body feels like the walking dead.