Welcome to my blog. I write about fitting in, sticking out, and missing the motherland as a serial foreigner.

Be careful what you pray for

I think the sleep-deprivation part of motherhood is meant to be lost in the amnesia we experience with pregnancy discomfort and labor pain. Right? But it's never been that way for me. I have never really recovered from the sleep deprivation I experienced with Miriam, and I certainly haven't forgotten it. She's eight now. Magdalena was a little better but it was still rough going. The fact is, I am the mother of two confirmed non-sleepers. Unfortunately, Sterling is a third.

It wasn't always this way. When he was one, two, and three months old, I was working on my thesis and then thesis revisions after the defense. I prayed many times a day to ask God to help Sterling to sleep so I could do good work on my thesis. I knew that if I didn't get that thesis done last semester, it would probably never get done. And guess what? God answered my prayers. As a tiny infant, Sterling regularly slept from 8pm until 4am without waking, sometimes even until 5 or 6am. After those nights, Jeremy and I would wake up and, after a moment of panic that Sterling was only quiet because he was dead in his crib (all parents have those moments after a good night's sleep), we would just stare at each other in wonder that we had produced a child who appeared to enjoy his beauty rest.

The thing is, I said God answered my prayers, but he answered them a little too specifically. Or I was wording them too specifically. After I turned in my finalized thesis - like, almost to the day - Sterling stopped sleeping so well (because "so I could do good work on my thesis" was no longer necessary, see?). He is now just as bad of a sleeper as his sisters ever were. I tend to get irrational about babies and sleep, probably due to frayed nerves (because sleep deprivation) and a touch of post-traumatic stress disorder from babies one and two. So I did what anyone seeking clarity would do: I created a spreadsheet. Green is a nursing session. Pink is sleep. Orange is roughly "he is in his crib and should be sleeping but he is crying instead and mom or dad had to go help him."

I've filled it in for almost a month now. It has really helped me see what is going on with Sterling's sleep. Is it really as bad as I think it is? Did he really wake up three times last night? Was there really a period there where he didn't take a single nap longer than 45 minutes? Could that really have happened? Yep. It's on the chart.

As for averages, Sterling gets about 10 hours of sleep a night, and then 2.7 hours of nap during the day. This is acceptable, I suppose, but it's the night wakings that are slowly (ok, quickly) crushing my spirit.

The moral of the story is, don't be too specific with your prayers, because God will answer them.

The most beautiful castle

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