Saturday, April 10, 2010

time warp

I once heard a story, bullshit no doubt, about a man who sat down in a restaurant and arranged a pile of R10 notes on the table beside his place setting. Apparently he then informed his waiter/ress (waitron?) that this would be his/her tip for the evening, and that he would remove and return notes to the pile depending on the service he received throughout his meal.
Great story.

It puts me in mind of my nights at the moment.
On a good evening I go to bed with 8-10 hours ahead until morning. I snuggle down and get comfy, this set of hours taunting me from the face of my bedside clock. As yet unsullied by insomnia, feeds, Frieda's nocturnal needs, car alarms, cat fights, snoring (husband's, not mine), the night stretches ahead.
But quickly, tragically quickly, I start to see the pile diminishing before my eyes and dawn approaching with ever-increasing speed.

Stella wakes short of her usual 5 hour stretch. She's awake for an hour.
As I doze off again, Frieda starts coughing, and then wakes. She's awake for an hour.
A small ginger cat scratches herself repeatedly beside my ear.
Car doors slam in the street, a high sharp laugh penetrates my slumbers.
I need to pee.
I'm getting panicky and therefore, can't sleep.
The pile gets smaller. There are only a few crisp, virgin hours left 'til morning. I feel ill.

In truth Frieda's finally sleeping through the night again as she recovers from the Big Easter Sick, but while I had a good sustainable rhythm going before that, this week or so of illness has left me with a backlog of exhaustion which requires more than one or two good nights to remedy.

I remember in one of the baby books I read before having Frieda (before I wised up and banned that shit from my home forever - purveyors of self-doubt and neurosis that they are) it was suggested that one refrain from checking the time when your baby wakes in the night, but rather just feed, change, sleep - the 'logic' being that if you don't know that you're awake at 3am you won't feel so tired.
Yeah right. I like to know, I've a big-faced digital monster next to my bed which I can punch to light up and reveal the time, and I feel much more in control when able to map my allocated hours, even if what my clock's telling me is deeply sad and depressing.

So imagine the confusion, horror nay, betrayal I felt this morning to discover that my clock was 2h slow all night last night.
Stella's perceived 'early' wake-up at midnight was in fact her normal 2am. The fight which took place between a taxi driver and a drunken Pom outside our house was in fact at 3 not 1 (incidently totally justifying my call to the local security patrol to come and shut them up). Stella's subsequent two wake ups were actually at 4 and 6, not 2 and 4, Frieda's coming into our room and wanting breakfast was at 7, not 5. See the confusion?

It was like that pile of notes kept falling off the table and on reassembly I wasn't able to see how many, if any, were missing. It was as if they were in a foreign currency altogether.
My brain, already working at lowest possible capacity, blipped and rebooted, my body clock gave up and shut down. Deep in my subconscious I cursed Sister Lillian for possible being right all along.

And do I feel more or less rested in the knowledge that I probably got more sleep than I thought even while stressing about the lack thereof?

Honestly? I'm too exhausted to know ...


spudballoo said...

Oh no...I feel your pain. Just reading this brought back the panic of the nights, and feeding, and multiple (up to 10 sometimes, lovely) get ups/feeds. For 10 months, both of them. There was some kind of agreement that neither of my children would even consider giving up enormous numbers of night feeds/settlings until 10 months. Howl.

Bertie took 42/43 minutes to feed (see, 4.5 years later I still know). I would count those minutes down on that big digital clock and hate every one that wasn't a minute I was asleep. I was stupid with tiredness for years and years and years.

I don't think I'll ever forget the horror of the sleep thieves. I should have gone to bed earlier but then the evenings were the only 'me' time I had. Such a tough time.

You have ALL my sympathy. Hugs x

Stephanie Meade Gresham said...

Ugh. Spudballoo just gave me hope that Sam might stop waking up in the night this month.

And my husband's in my ear already about "the next baby". Wahhh.

I feel you!