Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Most Precious Commodity Of All... Sleep!

It struck me today as I tried to roust my body from bed that I've only ever been this tired a few times. Four of those were in the months immediately following the joyous addition of my children to the family. Laura has overextended her options on influencing our sleep several times in her short, but never dull, life as well. Like the months she was hooked up to the sleep apnea monitor. Or those times when she's been so sick she can't hardly breathe. Or even the first few nights after surgery or recasting. But somehow I was sure that we'd be over this by now. After all, she's three and a half. The boys moved on to sleeping through the night after just a few months. Surely she should be sleeping through the night and no longer having such a large impact on our sleep, right?

Wrong. We failed to factor in the tremendous effect returning to using the shoes and bar, in not-yet-corrected-feet no less, would have on her ability to sleep. And then there's the limited space issue in her crib... yes, she's still in a crib. Thankfully, it keeps her in the spot we last left her for the entire night. And it protects her as she seems to sleep with her head pressed against the headboard, her forehead resting on the slats, her fingers tucked down between the mattress and the crib for whatever comfort that brings her. When I hold and rock her, she often wants her hands pressed between my back and the chair, or under my arms against my body so it would seem that pressure is comforting to her. And she always sleeps on her stomach. I think it has to do with some slight dysphagia and swallowing her saliva without drowning herself, but we shall see. But I digress. It would seem that returning to the FAB has effected her more than we ever thought it would. Frustration, probable pain, and limited space in bed are certainly taking their toll on her. And its effect on us seems to be just beginning.

I daydream about sleeping. I wish for sleep while I'm doing the dishes. I think about sleeping when I'm watching the clock slowly wind its way to the evening bedtime routine hour. And I cry for sleep every morning as I drag my body out of bed, wishing I could be in it for just another hour of uninterrupted sleep. I recall doing this, along with all of those weird dreams you have, in the months just after your children are born. But as you look down on that precious sleeping face, all of the sleepless times seems so worth it. And hey, at that age they let you sleep while you are rocking and feeding them. And those catnaps add up.

But not Laura. Oh no. She is apparently getting just enough sleep to give her that boost of energy she needs to make it until naptime. Or almost. There is that hour of whining that seems to precede it now. Evident these days while we are out running errands in stores she used to behave in quite nicely. Or when she's just about had enough of the boys picking on her and changing her videos to something they'd rather watch while she's not looking. *sigh* She keeps us active as usual until she heads to bed for her nap. This used to be a two hour block of time when the boys and I would catch up on schoolwork, play games and read. Not anymore. If I put her FAB on, we can only count on an hour at the most before she'll wake up and realize her naptime can be over if she just calls for us and tells us she's awake. Gone are the days of long naps. Even though she needs them. Let alone the rest of us.

Yes, I realize this, too, shall end. I just can't see any end in sight at the moment. Perhaps Dr. Dobbs will provide some relief if he can recorrect her feet. That will entail a few weeks in thigh high casts without her being able to walk. But hey, at least she'll sleep. Then it will be back in to the bar and shoes. Perhaps it is time to put her in a bed instead of the crib. Or perhaps we should just plan on getting a full nights sleep after she's grown. After all, we're putting ourselves, and her, through these difficult times now so that she can walk down that aisle with perfect little feet, dreaming of chasing her own little ones around without pain. Yes, this is reason enough. We'll do without sleep for awhile longer. Just don't expect much beyond puttering for awhile from us. I think we'll be doing well to just keep on schedule. Whatever that may be in the coming weeks.

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