Sleep Deprivation and Soul Death

Things are rough around here. All of us, meaning my husband and I, are functioning with sloth-like energy. Our souls are on the verge of soul-death. We have the energy to slowly put food in our mouths, chew it until it’s mashed up just enough to go down our throats, and swallow. And that’s about it.

We’re pretty tired.

Nathan is going through his I-Don’t-Wanna-Sleep-For-More-Than-2-Hours-At-A-Time phase.


He’s been doing this for a number of weeks now. I don’t know if it’s a mega-long growth spurt, separation anxiety, teething, or if he’s seriously plotting different ways to cause my husband and I to teeter on the brink of insanity… but the little guy will NOT let us sleep.

We put him to bed, and he’ll stay up for a good 30-45 minutes talking to himself.

GOD HELP US ALL, he’s already taking after me.

So he’ll be in our room, feet thunking heavily on the swing, shouting about world politics or hunger in Africa or whatever the hell it is babies are talking about when they say “Nya nya rar rar MA MA! Nanananana! MA MA! nya nya rar rar rar!” for hours at a time. Then, he’ll doze off.

Finally. IT SLEEPS.

FOR TWO HOURS. Three if we’re really lucky. Then he’ll start crying, wanting to be fed or comforted or hugged or talked to… so we’ll do all of the above. I’ll breast feed him until his little belly is full of breast milk. I even try really hard to ignore when he BITES THE CRAP out of me. With his dagger teeth miniature enameled FEAR MONGERS. Top him off with a bit of formula. Put him back in bed. Kiss his sweet little head.

And he’ll appear to doze off. I think he actually stays awake, eyes closed because he must maintain appearances, plotting what he can do to really drive Mommy and Daddy up the wall.


He starts talking. Loudly. Incessantly. He bangs his little fists on the sides of the swing, kicks his little feet on the seat, and creates a commotion to be reckoned with. Like he’s practicing for world-dictatorship and nothing is going to stand in his way.

He has been doing this Every. Single. Night. Without fail.

Paul and I will roll over, look at each other, and sigh in unison because that’s what parents on the brink of losing their sanity do… they SIGH IN UNISON. I still can’t bend over because of the pain of recent surgery, so Paul has to get up, check Nathan’s diaper just to  be sure, and escort our Rising Dictator into his room because Paul brings home the bacon, so he really has to have at least thirty seconds of sleep a night.

Then Paul comes back to bed and crawls under the covers. I roll over, we look at each other, and we SIGH IN UNISON because that’s what sleep-deprived, guilty-feeling parents do when they have to put their little guy in his room to sleep for the night.

Nathan doesn’t seem to mind too much. Amazingly, he stops his tirade and sleeps quietly. Paul and I, on the other hand, continue to toss and turn, spontaneously waking up to look at each other and SIGH IN UNISON because that’s what sleep deprived, guilty feeling parents do when they miss feeling the presence of their little guy making thunking noises with his Monkey Feet.

I start to wonder if Nathan is just being quiet because his feelings are hurt and he thinks we don’t love him.

I try to sleep but can’t. Images of an un-loved and hurt-feeling Nathan float aimlessly around in my sleep-deprived mind. I am cloaked with guilt. I toss and turn, imagining Nathan is so overcome with such a deep sorrow that he can no longer talk. So I roll over and see Paul is thinking the same thing, so we SIGH IN UNISON and he gets up and peeks in Nathan’s room.

This continues throughout the night.

This too shall pass, right?


Please, for the love of all who need sleep, tell me I am right…



  1. You are right. This too shall pass. But maybe not for a very long time. I hate to scare you but our youngest didn’t sleep through the night till he was almost 3 years old. Have you thought of co-sleeping? Or using a co-sleeping bed next to yours? That helped me. Someone told us it would make him wake up more but we found he tended to sleep longer. Maybe we just got lucky.

  2. Thanks for commenting over on my blog! And then this terribly timely post…I am with you, sister. FWIW, we do co-sleep (actually have Tankbaby in a crib with the fourth side down, pushed up against our bed), and in general I think it helps. Not that he necessarily sleeps longer, but that I don’t have to wake up entirely to feed or soothe him (except for nights like the one I detailed).

    Actually, the most helpful sleep “advice” that I found for myself was on Ask Moxie. She basically said, look, there are two kinds of sleepers: good and bad, and very little you do is going to change one into the other, so don’t feel too guilty or too smug about whatever you’re doing. I actually find that very helpful during the “soul-death” hours between 2 and 6 AM…
    .-= Falling´s last blog ..Why This Post is Lame =-.

  3. Jane:

    We might end up having to get a co-sleeper. I’m too scared to actually put Nathan in the bed with us… I’m terrified I would roll over onto him and smother him to death! (I’m a pretty heavy sleeper.)

  4. Falling:

    I read Ask Moxie, too! You’re totally right about there being two kinds of sleepers. Nathan is a little of both. For a month or two, he was a perfect sleeer- slept through the night, woke up in a good mood… then he switched modes and became a bad sleeper! Thanks for the advice… the hours of 2 and 6 are definitely the worst!

  5. It will pass, it will pass, it will pass! I promise you. Hope you are still holding onto sanity!


    Thank you for your reassurances!! I’ll just bide my time and wait. I can outwait a little infant. Poor little Nathan, I don’t see how he can function on so little sleep himself!

  7. Just wrote a long comment over at The Sky is Falling. (I am a comment hogger! Sorry…) I know what it’s like: I carried my youngest the first 3 months of his life nonstop. The only way he would sleep. Not even sleeping by me. He had to sleep ON me. I did learn to do many things with only one hand though. You are a lot more put-together, calmer, self-reflective than I was. I’m very impressed. And though it is hard to just hit the pillow and fall asleep (won’t that be a blessing? The ability to do that?) do try to sleep when the baby is. Just hang in there. One day at a time. Hang in there.
    .-= submom´s last blog ..Social Networking =-.

  8. submom:

    I had to carry Nathan around constantly for the first few months of his life as well!! He had colic… poor guy! I stopped doing it around six months of age because (according to the experts) that’s when babies develop the ability to manipulate, so it becomes okay to sit them down and let them fuss on their own. I’ve been trying to teach him independence, how to play on his own, how to soothe himself, etc because in my personal experience, I have seen kids who were never taught independence grow up to be bratty, self-centered, attention-seekers. I guess we never really know if we are doing the right thing. We can only do what he hope is right. And what is right for one family is not necessarily right for another, ya know? It’s very hard, though. I do what I think is right, but I still question every decision I make.

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