1.09.2013

a promise now for fevered nights, a promise now for everything

At best, the past few weeks have been disastrous. Though Ethan's greatest weakness has always been sleep, something that apparently is just optional for him most days, we've yet to see a blatant sleep strike like this before. Before you know it, it's four in the morning and you're asking your husband ludicrous questions such as "is he finally asleep now?" that make little to no sense at an hour where the sun is preparing to soon rise. Things have felt off as they tend to do when you and your toddler are thrown off of your schedule you both opt to diligently follow and into a world of chaos and spontaneity (oh, the horror!) and having to answer "I don't know" as a direct response to anything you're being asked: what's for dinner tonight? Will your husband be home from work before midnight? How many cups of coffee have you had today? What planet are you on?

We've missed playdates and classes and morning routines. We've missed opening the door to our tot school classroom and being greeted by the crisp, morning sun. We've missed so much trying to juggle a little boy who is frighteningly proud of his ability to only require four to five hours of sleep per night and the anxiety of trying to figure out why. Today saw us at the pediatrician. I can only do so much on my own before frantically begging them to solve my problems for me with the diagnosis of something easy, like another ear infection or an allergic reaction to something commonplace and harmless in typical Ethan fashion. It was neither of those things nor was it really anything at all. It was Ethan being Ethan and keeping us on our toes, blue-black bags under his eyes, his eyelids heavy but his refusal to sleep fighting harder against the pressure of exhaustion. He chose a sticker featuring Elmo on a skateboard before we exited the office and, by the time we reached the car, he didn't want to see the sticker and decided instead that it's very existence displeased him greatly.

But there are things I want to remember about these days, as much as they blur together from lack of sleep. I want to remember the way Ethan sniffs his bathbombs (why, yes, I have created a Lushie out of my toddler) before selecting which one he wants to use, though he always opts for the ones with vivid colors that he can recite the names of: Boo! Geen! Pa-pul! Ohish! I want to remember the way he pauses when his hand touches the yellow-gold one speckled with glitter and the promise of bubbles, not yet knowing the color yellow but wanting it so very badly.

I want to remember the smell of beets and strawberries rich upon his skin, crimson red stained on his cheeks, his shirt, the small of his back somehow. I want to remember the way he stands at the refrigerator, his tiny hands pounding on the door and yelling "more milk!" with such carefulness and caution, enunciating each letter with all that is in him before remembering he doesn't even like milk, not even a little bit.

I want to remember this afternoon, returning my overdue Redbox selection and waiting our turn in line for the red machine that Ethan refers to as "neat" because I am raising my child to be just as far from popular as I ever was. He wasn't happy. He was tired. I grabbed him a coupon booklet with a dinosaur on the cover. "Ni-no. Neat." "Yes, Ethan. The dino is very neat." A woman stood in line behind us now. "Hi there, little man," she said softly. Ethan stared at her for what felt like an eternity. I bit my lip and anticipated an overtired meltdown. "Book," he showed her, finally, holding up the booklet of coupons as a peace offering. "Oh, no, sweetheart, that's not a book. That's a pamphlet." I want to remember the way Ethan and I both laughed the entire drive home at the word pamphlet. Pamphlet, pamphlet, pamphlet. I'll tell you what to do with your pamphlet, lady.

I want to remember the way Ethan curls up with me during storytime, even when we read the Llama Llama books forty-seven times in a row. I want to remember the smell of his hair, the faint hint of calendula and orange oils being overpowered by sweat and dirt and fingerpaint. I want to remember these moments of exhaustion, the sleep-deprived stupor we are dancing through the days on, every last daunting task seeming like too much. I want to remember the green of the grass that sticks to the back of Ethan's knees as he runs through the yard during our sweaty, sticky Florida January. I want to remember the way he falls into my lap, his arms around my neck, his cheek against my cheek, whining in my ear about everything and yet nothing all the same. I want to remember the chants of no, no, no night-night! as I carry a wriggling thirty-pound little boy down the hall because one day he will be a teenager and our problem will be reversed, one of wanting too much sleep and there being too little time for relaxation.

I want to remember Ethan's smile, his funny chew that he invented and loves performing while eating, the uproarious laughter that occurs just before an overtired meltdown begins. I want to remember it all because this too shall pass is only slightly reassuring, very much bittersweet in theory.

22 comments:

  1. beautifully written, glad you can appreciate motherhood so thoroughly- but i do hope he learns to sleep soon :) haha

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    1. Thank you so much -- and so do I, though last night was a vast improvement! Hallelujah!

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  2. Your love for your little cutie pie is just radiant! He is so blessed to have such a caring and devoted mamma.

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    1. Thank you so much! The best compliment there can ever possibly be. <3

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  3. Thanks for stopping by the blog hop! Would love for you to follow along :)

    Lauren
    www.millermemoires.com

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    1. Lauren, this girl just poured her heart out in a beautifully written post! I hope you read it and aren't just looking for a follow back!

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  4. These days of sleeplessness can be so, so hard. We've definitely been there. Big hugs, friend - it does get better.

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    1. Thank you SO much! I look forward to the promise of days where I don't need obscene amounts of coffee to even make it to lunch time. <3

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  5. Oh girl...I feel your pain. We've been fighting sicknesses in our house since November...not kidding. I have never in my life dealt with this much sickness during a flu season and I AM NINE MONTHS PREGNANT AND EXHAUSTED. Not to mention, we moved Willow into a big girl bed last Sunday and she has yet to sleep good through the night...in fact, last night she was up every hour from 1 am on and I am battling the worst sinus infection I've ever had in my life.

    SIGH.

    I wish I could be like you and instead of feeling angry at my stubborn, not sleeping 2 year old, I could recall all the things I love about her. But right now I'm at my wit's end!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Anyway, beautiful pictures and kuddos for keeping up with your blog on such little sleep! I have so much to upload from my camera and catch up on and just have not had the energy.

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    1. Oh NO! That doesn't sound like fun at all! I can't believe the sick germs are still going around your house! :( Wasn't everyone sick when you had Olivia, too?

      Hey, I think you're doing pretty darn well! After all, I only have one toddler to worry about and no one is sick and I'm not pregnant (let alone 9 months pregnant!) so you have WAY more on your plate than a few weeks of yucky sleep! I applaud you for even trudging through the days!!!! <3

      I hope everyone is feeling better soon, soon, soon and you all get some good rest soon!!!! Healthy vibes coming your way!!!! <3

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  6. This is absolutely beautifully written...but girl, I do not know HOW you do it! I've researched a LOT on sleep when Braden had his big regression at 4 months...I know you're not looking for advice, so I won't give my 2 cents...but I just don't know how you do it!

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    1. The only saving grace is knowing that eventually his sleep regulates itself again so there's usually an end in sight, however distant it may seem when your toddler chooses 4 a.m. for his bedtime. Case in point, last night after I made this post and after an initial hard time falling to sleep, Ethan slept through the night and until almost 9 this morning, a wake up time we never experience. He's just such a sensitive sleeper where any little thing can set him off, be it a new tooth or a change in seasons or, especially, a change in routine -- and we've had a big one lately with my husband (who typically does the nighttime and bedtime routine with Ethan) working around the clock close to 7 days a week. :\ I just try to keep trucking through because eventually it does end, sometimes sooner than others. :(

      And I'm always open to advice from other parents who have been there, done that! It's crazy how many similar experiences other people always go through and borrowing ideas from here and ideas from there get us through, right?!

      Thanks so much <3

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  7. You handle the hard stuff w such grace!

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    1. Not in the moment -- in the moment I'm a frazzled mess trying my hardest to not let Ethan see me cry or add anymore stress to the situation! Give me five minutes to sit back with a mug of hot cocoa and I can try to find the good in the bad, haha.

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  8. Hey sweetie!!! Wishing you better nights soon.

    Beautiful post and beautiful pictures.

    Those moments to treasure are precious and they go so so fast.

    Have a great day!!!

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    1. Thank you so much! Last night was a step in the right direction so here's to hoping!

      You're right -- they go so fast!

      Have a great day, too!

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  9. He is so precious and you are doing great! There is nothing harder, for me personally, than sleep deprivation...three kids under three was the hardest time of my life, but so amazing and now I'm so sad it's gone. You'll get through it, best of luck!
    The Real McCoy(s)

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    1. Oh, three under three?! You are my hero! I can only imagine how sleep deprivation feels with three under three! I try to focus on the fact that one day this will be gone, one day he won't need me to be with him as he falls asleep, one day he won't need me period -- and that makes me so sad! Trying to hold onto the good as best I can, even on no sleep!

      Thanks so much for stopping by! <3

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  10. Following you from the GYB hop! Your little guy is so cute. Looks like he is about the same age as my little peanut! Hope you stop by and say hi.

    Jenn
    Squishy Cheeks & Cupcakes

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  11. Very sweet post. Just chiming in to say I'm reading this after being up with my boy for an hour at 2:30 AM. He's usually a very consistent sleeper but not so much lately. Fortunately he went back to sleep, unfortunately I am wide awake now. We usually see it with teething or illness but I think this time it is more developmental. He definitely needs routine and consistency more than ever right now or he has many meltdowns. Fun times. :)

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  12. You are one of the most beautiful writers ever!
    We are going through the middle of the night wake-ups/stay-ups with the twins. Daddy works a dangerous job, so I try so hard to not let it wake him. I try to remind myself that at least they were sleeping through the night at six weeks until now (besides a few nights here and there). But it is hard being sleep deprived. I find myself getting lost in my computer or into a movie with my boys, and like you I want to remember the boys being small.
    Thank you so much for the reminder to remember (and the reminder that even though I feel like throwing a pity party- others are going through the same thing, or worse.)
    Thank you for your honesty, and the beautiful picture of motherhood.

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