Monday, January 13, 2014


Benjamin was asleep by 8:30 this evening. I even successfully put him down in his crib. And I'm almost giggling with joy. Because I am so tired. He and I? We haven't been sleeping well.

My friend Kim (who used to live down the street but who doesn't anymore (and that still makes me sad)) wrote a tribute to her daughter, who just turned one:
My dearest little one, for one year I have been at your [beck and] call. You've been on my hip or within five feet [of me and] except for when you're napping, we've been apart for like two hours in 365 days!!! Whenever you've wanted to nurse, I nursed you. Whenever!! You've refused pacifier, bottle, soy milk, cow milk, juice, and anyone that isn't me. You wake up four times a night or stay up until 11:00. I shake my head and try to squeeze in a nap the next day. My lap is the world's smallest playground made just for you to play, drool, and tantrum in. There have been many pillow punching, tears flowing, questioning sanity type moments this year. I know this won't last forever. I'm grateful you're mine.
To all the mommas with harder than usual kiddos, keep up the good work. It won't last forever. 
This is exactly why Kim and I are friends, folks! She would sometimes just know to call in the morning when Benjamin had been up all night the night before. She'd take Miriam to her house so I could get in a nap. And sometimes I'd do the same for her, taking Claire for her so that she could squeeze in a nap while her other kids were at school.

Miriam still misses Claire terribly. We can hardly walk past their cul-de-sac without Miriam falling into despondence.

Anyway, Kim was my sanity-saver and while I can't say I'm glad she's going through the same thing that I's kind of nice to have someone down in the trenches with you. Someone who gets it. Someone who doesn't say "...if you'd just..." because—let me tell you—I've just.

You don't get this sleep deprived without having tried just about everything. Before you try to give me advice on the matter, just try putting this boy down for a nap. I double-dog dare you.

I was not the one who decided we were finished with naps.

I firmly believe that there is more than one type of sleeper in the world. So far I've gotten two children who feel like they should never have to sleep and one child whose circadian rhythm could be used in place of a clock. I'm 100% convinced that is just the way they came into this world.

Miriam has always been able to self-soothe and put herself to sleep. Benjamin and Rachel never have (though now Rachel's schedule is just fine her babyhood was rough).

Benjamin hasn't been sleeping well lately. First he was coming down with something—and he seems to sleep quite fitfully when he's feeling ill—and now he's sick, so...he's still not sleeping well. He's been staying up late, waking up several times in the night to nurse, getting up before 8:00 in the morning (which might not be "early" by any means but it is if you're 1.5 years old and stayed up until midnight and then were up every few hours in the night), and also refusing to nap.

That schedule is akin to torture.

That schedule is torture.

Add to the equation Andrew's four-day out-of-town conference and the picture you get is a very sleep-deprived me.

When Andrew's gone I have a hard(er than usual) time falling asleep and staying asleep. I'm a born worrier and with Andrew gone there's just too much to worry about (and no one to tell me to stop worrying).

Just as I was drifting off to sleep on Thursday night I was yanked from my sleep by a thunderous crashing and banging commotion. I sat bolt upright in bed and tried to figure out where the noise was coming from. Whatever it was, it was over, but I had to drag myself out of bed to check the house.

All the doors and windows were shut and locked. All the children were tucked away where they should be. Nothing was out of the ordinary.

Nervously, I put myself back to bed grateful that Benjamin was there to snuggle with.

Before going to bed on Friday night I double-checked that the doors were locked before going to bed. I was in the middle of saying my (very drowsy) prayers when I heard the same crashing and banging sound. My heart started pounding. I raced around the house to see if I could figure out what was making this terrible noise.

The doors were shut and locked.
Rachel hadn't fallen out of bed.
Benjamin hadn't upended the toy box by his bed.
Nothing was amiss anywhere.

I couldn't think of anything else that it could be but I knew I couldn't fall back asleep, so I turned my computer back on. Andrew and I had just figured out that he was in a different time zone so there was a chance he was still awake. He wasn't online though, so instead I turned to google.

It seemed strange to me that I heard the same noise two nights in a row just as I was falling asleep (I have no problem admitting that I was drifting off to sleep while saying my prayers) but that nothing was amiss when I checked the house.

I'm a light sleeper and wake up to noises often but when I hear noises I can find a reason for the noise. Usually it's Rachel knocking something off the bunk bed. Once a picture frame wire snapped and the frame crashed to the floor. Occasionally an illy hung jacket succumbs to gravity and slips to the floor. With growing rarity, Miriam falls out of the bed. It could be a child stumbling through the hall to the bathroom, the possessed oven timer going off, the refrigerator humming, the heater kicking on, the patter of rain on the roof.

All these things have woken me up and have been diagnosable sounds. This crashing noise was different, though. It was so terribly loud that I could hardly believe it didn't wake the children, so startling that it took several minutes to still my beating heart. But nothing was wrong. Nothing was out of place. Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse—but it's January so this clattering was certainly not Santa Claus!

Into the search bar I type: 'hear crashing noise before falling asleep.'

And guess what! Hearing crashing noises before fallings asleep is a thing!

Chances are high that if you haven't experienced exploding head syndrome (that's what it's called) you've experienced its close cousin the hypnic jerk—you know, when you suddenly jerk awake soon after falling asleep because you tripped on the sidewalk or fell off a cliff?

Exploding head syndrome is less common than hypnic jerks are, and they differ in that the dream you are having (like, for example, if you're dreaming that you're still wide awake and saying your prayers) aren't correlated to the sound at all so when you wake up—instead of being comforted knowing that you're lying in bed so can't have possibly actually fallen off a cliff or tripped on your way to class—you panic because it's the middle of the night and you just heard a deafening crashing noise that was clearly something. Was it someone attempting to break in...or your child falling out of bed...or the boxes in the attic crashing through the shelves they're sitting on...or...or...or...?

Basically, there's no "tee-hee, silly me," before drifting off to sleep again. Instead there's a mad dash through the house to make sure a tractor didn't just drive into the kitchen or anything.

The good news is that this syndrome tends to go away on its own (as you ease off the sleep deprivation, I'm sure). For now I'm content to know that I'm not crazy (maybe). I'm really hearing these's just that no one else can hear them. That doesn't sound crazy at all, does it?

For me it must be a combination of stress and sleep deprivation because I didn't have an episode on Sunday night. I'm assuming that's because I wasn't the sole responsible adult in the house anymore—Andrew came home! Hooray! Now if a tornado were to come ripping through our neighbourhood in the middle of the night I'd at least have someone to help me get all the kids to the safety (?) of our closet. Not that I was stressing out about that at all while Andrew was gone. Oh, wait. I was.

That tornado warning certainly didn't make for a stress-free afternoon at our house. Added to my stress was that I still faced a grocery shopping trip—with three kids, by myself, in the rain. I don't like grocery shopping ever but I hate grocery shopping with three kids, my myself, in the rain.

I made myself go though and it wasn't too bad. I parked at the end of little strip mall the grocery store is in so that we could walk under the awning (rather than make a mad dash through the parking lot in the rain). We were lucky to get one of like three carts that was left (it must've been a busy shopping day or something). Once inside, Rachel held the list for me, Miriam plodded along obediently, and Benjamin didn't do too much screeching in the cart. We got our shopping done in no time.

The kids were still relatively happy when we got to the checkout line. We put the groceries on the conveyor belt along with our reusable grocery bags (that I was so impressed I had actually remembered to bring with us). The cashier tallied everything up. The bagger bagged everything. I swiped the card. I entered the code.

The machine thanked me. The cashier bid me a good day. The bagger smiled and waved at the kids as I wheeled the cart out of the store.

I was a hero! I did it! I went grocery shopping with three kids in the...rain.

It was still raining and I hadn't entirely thought out the whole parking-far-away-so-we-can-walk-under-the-awning thing. Now I had a cart full of groceries and three kids to take all the way down there, and then I'd have to return the cart to the store. Whose idea was this?!

While I was in the lobby of the store, debating whether or not we could abandon the cart there and carry the groceries to the car, a store employee ran past me, waving a receipt and calling out, "I'll catch her!"

I decided that we couldn't just carry the groceries. Miriam often feels hard done by if she has to carry the paper she doodled on at church to the car. Benjamin is still a little too tipsy to be counted on to walk that far (especially if I have my arms full—he'd see that as the optimal time to really biff it). Rachel's old enough to actually be helpful but we had two gallons of milk. And a baby. And everything else.

We decided to just push the cart to the van and return the cart when we were finished.

We walked all the way to the van and while Rachel and I loaded the groceries into the van, Miriam hopped into her carseat and buckled up, and Benjamin started crying for crackers (he'd seen the box), so Rachel said she'd sit in the car and watch the kids (and feed them graham crackers) while I returned the cart. I locked them in the van and briskly walked the cart back to the store (even picking up another stray cart on my way because I'm just that nice).

I had just gotten up to the door of the store when the store employee who ran past me in the lobby shouting, "I'll catch her!" approached me.

"Ma'am! Ma'am!" she said, quite exhausted from all her sprinting through the parking lot.

"Me?" I asked because ma'am still doesn't sound like a title belonging to me.

"Yes!" she huffed. "You didn't finish paying for your groceries!"

"What do you mean?" I asked. "I swiped the card. The cashier said 'Have a nice day." I..."

"It didn't go through," she said breathlessly. "The transaction never cleared."

"What?!" I said, mortified by the sudden realization that I had nearly robbed our local grocery store.

"Where are your kids?" she asked.

"They're waiting in the car," I said (and just so we're clear, this isn't illegal since the car wasn't running, the key wasn't in the vehicle, it was neither too hot or too cold outside, and I could still see the van/kids).

"If you give me your card I can finish the transaction for you," the employee said. "I'll need to take your license, too. I'm sorry. I know you're not trying to steal your groceries but it's policy. I just have to make sure you're not going to run off with them."

I have never been so embarrassed in my life! What's even better is that it's our local grocery store so I get to keep going in there and reliving the embarrassment over and over again—feel the burn! *sigh*

But do you want to hear a funny grocery shopping story?

We went to Costco a couple of weeks ago. Our kids love getting the free samples, but this particular day was a bad day for free samples. First up was a melatonin pill sample. We declined because I'm pretty sure I don't want some random Costco worker randomly deciding how much melatonin to give me (they can decide whatever amount of cream cheese to spread on a cracker or how much yogurt to squirt in a sample cup—but a melatonin dose is a little more personal, it seems). The kids were a little disappointed but we told them we'd get the next sample.

Next counteract the melatonin, I suppose.

We had to laugh. We also had to decline the sample. The kids weren't too upset about that because they're pretty on board with the Word of Wisdom. In fact, just before Christmas the local neighbourhood grocery store mentioned above was giving out free samples of sparkling cider. The kids were excited samples!

After a while I noticed that Miriam was acting a little melancholy.

"What's wrong?" I asked her.

"Mom, I think..." she stammered. "Did I just drink coffee?"

"No, sweetie," I said. "That's not even close to coffee. It looks a bit like champagne, which is alcohol, but it wasn't that, either. It was just apple pop."

"Are you sure?" she asked.

"I'm positive," I told her.

She must get her guilty conscience from me.

And on that note, I'm off to bed so I can catch up on my sleep and stop accidentally nearly-robbing groceries stores and having my head explode.


  1. Well. You really had a hard time on Saturday, all things considered! Sorry about that. Glad Benjamin went to sleep well tonight.

  2. Get an alarm system and a cat to sleep with. It won't take the anxiety away for good but it might help you sleep a little more secure and soft. I suffer from major insomnia when dr j isn't home...which is about every fifth day. I used to not sleep at all at night when he was on call but now I can usually get to bed by two, which I still realize is horrible, but better than before. Also I know you don't want any advice about Benjamin but cheetah is also a pretty bad sleeper and I found that after I got her weaned where she still gets up, she now just crawls out of the crib and sneak ino our bed where she lays quietly before going back to sleep. Most of the time i don't even realize she snuck in. She used to insist on nursing multiple times a night which I could not sleep through, and when you are almost two like she was, it was just sort of ridiculous. Once I weaned her it just seemed like she figured out a new way to sleep that didn't involved chewing on me, poking me in the face, and pulling on my nipples :-). Sorry Nancy! Being tired is the worst :(

    1. Actually, that was my experience with Miriam. She woke up once a night (which was fantastic...for my kids) until 22 months when I told her that she couldn't nurse at night anymore. She then decided that she didn't have to nurse ever, so that was the end of that. :) But at 22 months I wasn't too broken up about it.

      Benjamin is slowly weaning himself...I probably just need to encourage it a little more.

  3. Testify!! I just wrote about this on Sterling's blog. He is a fantastic sleeper compared to his sisters, at least until recently. I hope you get a nap, or better yet, a full night's sleep!

  4. I'm sorry for your grocery store experience. That is so weird that they wished you a good day and then had to chase you down to pay. Totally not your fault so don't be embarrassed. Did they not give you a receipt?

    I'm glad Andrew is home so you can, hopefully,sleep better. I think I've had that crash thing happen to me. It doesn't sound unfamiliar. I know the other night I kept hearing something beep every few hours. I got up to check our phones. Might have figured it out a couple days later when our digital rain gauge display made a beeping sound out of the blue. Maybe *that* is what I heard!

    I hope you were able to get some good rest last night!