Saturday, March 29, 2008

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream

Ok, when I had my kids close together, I knew it would probably be a couple of years before I was consistently getting a good night's sleep. But here it is, FOUR years later, and I am about to give birth to my third child, and the consistent good night's sleep still eludes me. Which means, I figure I am looking at about a combined total decade (at least) of crappy sleep. Nice. Now I will preface this blog by saying that because I have a severe hearing loss (which I never considered a mixed blessing until I had children), I often don't hear the cries for help until they have arrived at my bedside. Or at least, I pretend not to, I will admit on some occasions. So my husband assumes most of the night-time child rearing responsibilities once the nursing period has ended. So he gets major credit here. But he frequently travels for work, so I have plenty of opportunities to step up, too. Between the two of us, we are lucky to average a full night's sleep.

I'm writing this is a person who was blessed with good sleepers. DS #1 slept 6 hours through the night from the first day of his life. I am convinced mostly because I ignored the night nurse's orders to wake him and feed him ever 3 hours. I figured no almost 8 pound baby was going to starve to death in his sleep, so I went by his internal clock instead, and sure enough - he would eat every 2 hours after that stretch, but I could get a decent 6 hours of sleep out of him which by a new mother's standards IS "through the night". DS #2 was a little dicier at night, but still manageable, and quickly conformed to his older brother's 3 hour-afternoon nap schedule so I could get several hours in the afternoon to catch up on zzzz's if I needed to.

Once past the infancy period, both children slept fairly well, barring the occasional sickness or teething episode.

Yet here we are in toddler/preschoolhood and my husband counted getting up, between the two boys, SIX times the other night. And this has been going on, on and off, for awhile. Six times is fairly extreme, but I would hazard to say that someone is up at least once a night every night. They go to bed fairly easily, probably 5 nights out of the 7. But once down, they have issues staying down.

Why are they up, you might ask? Well, they suffer from what my husband likes to call "Constant Needs". Constant Needs range from "I Need to PeePee" (which even though I can do perfectly well by myself during the day, requires your assistance at 2 am) to "I Need Water" (which inevitably leads back to I Need to PeePee) to the vague and frustrating "I Need You" ("you" being whomever happens to answer the crying call - mom or dad). WTH!?!?!?

The ironic thing is, both boys sleep in the same room, in the same BED, but not one of their crying jags ever seem to wake the other boy, even though they cause mom and dad to shoot out of bed like rockets. So training them to help each other peepee and get their own water is out of the question. Ugh.

I have been wondering what we were doing wrong until a friend with two boys the same age (also expecting her third any day now) mentioned that her boys were up a million times the other night. So is this some kind of age-stage thing that otherwise self-sufficient, potty trained, water self-servers go through? And I just happened to be unlucky enough to have two of them in this stage at the same time? Anyone have any stories (or advice!) to share on this topic?

I am so sleep scarred that last night I spent the night in my parent's house (sans children - I am in Houston for a wedding) and I woke up THREE times on my own, not including the time I woke up for the day at 6:45 am because I thought I heard a child yelping. Now, I will admit that one of these times was pregnancy bladder related, but I am seriously wondering if I will need to seek sleep counseling when this is all over. Help - anyone have any tips for getting them to sleep through the night without medication? : )

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Let the 2008 Spring Cleaning Challenge Begin!

It’s that time of year again! For many, spring is not only a time to get outside and enjoy the warmer weather, but also for spring-cleaning! For me, spring has always been a time to get outside and enjoy the warmer weather, reflect on all the spring home projects I WANT to do, and then spend a lot of time feeling guilty that I don’t do any of them. Our home improvement efforts came to a screeching halt four years ago when I committed to spend the bulk of my time either pregnant, nursing, or potty training.

This year, I was inspired by the organizational blog of a fellow mom blogger. She posts photo documentation and an item count of her efforts to purge her house of unwanted stuff. Inspired not only by her ability to stick to this program with three kids, but also by the fact that her house (bless her heart!) makes mine look like The Container Store made me realize that if she could do it, surely I could.

As I mentioned the blog to two friends today, they expressed a strong interest in doing it as well and even offered to provide email encouragement/accountability. We all agreed that we wouldn’t be able to stick to photographing or counting items, as it would take us so long to do it that we could probably organize another cupboard in the same timeframe. However, a little “organizational challenge” between friends couldn’t hurt motivation, right?

I decided to kick off the challenge tonight because:

  • I went to my friend’s house for playgroup at 11 am and didn’t leave until 4:30 which means I had a great day with friends but accomplished NOT ONE THING.
  • My friend Julie just painted her house and the freshly painted walls made me jealous.
  • My dining room, entryway, and stairway walls are so covered with handprints and skid marks that I can barely tell their original color and this makes me crazy on a daily basis.
  • My kids went to bed early so I wasn’t so exhausted that I wanted to drop by time I bade them goodnight.

So I selected touch-up paint for these areas as my first project.

Once I busted out all the painting gear, I found that the project went surprisingly quickly. I gave myself 100 points for covering each of the three areas because painting is a bigger pain in the neck than just decluttering. And then I gave myself 10 bonus points for using up the last bit of two different paint colors and then throwing the cans away. Another 5 bonus points for studiously logging the paint colors, brand, numbers, and finish in my new home improvement organizer before tossing them. Lest you think that I am perfect or a braggart, please know that I docked myself 2 points for painting over items that looked suspiciously like boogers. In my current squeamish pregnancy stomach state, I couldn’t bring myself to either A) conduct a further inspection to determine actual content or B) scrape/pick said objects off the wall before painting. So I just camouflaged them a little.

So I'm off to a roaring start. The real question is if I will be able to stick with it. Stay tuned for periodic updates. If you don't hear from me, it means the challenge was short-lived. I'm counting on my friends to help keep it alive...