I’ve battled sleeplessness at various points in my life. But I wouldn’t diagnose myself an insomniac, mainly because my occasional inability to get shuteye corresponds closely to my own personal anxiety levels and is more a manifestation of a frequent indulgence in good old-fashioned worrying than a medical condition. And while worrying (and the control-freak nature it reveals) can be a top cause of sleep deprivation, I know of another culprit that has it beat: CHILDREN.
It’s no secret, the fact that parents the world over are sleep-deprivedand not afraid to complain about it (this parent, at least). But when you combine the frequency of child wake-ups with a Type-A’s propensity to worry over said children, you’ve got a recipe for a dish I like to call “NEVER EVER SLEEPING AGAIN”. That’s how it feels right now, at least, as I’m in the throes of night interruptions brought on by a preschooler and a baby.
That preschooler slept through the night at two months of age, and I don’t mind telling you that I loved him more for it. His little brother apparently didn’t get that memoor maybe I’m just being repaid for the way I took to social media when Big Brother was two months and one day old, announcing my victory and being convinced that it had everything to do with the fact that I’d read a few books and maintained a belief in the power of sleep training. Never mind the fact that my experiment held a sample size of one and was only slightly less scientific than the now-debunked and unlicensed Dr. Wakefield’s study on the connection between vaccines and autism.
So Little Brother soldiers on, occasionally sleeping for a solid ten hours and raising my hopes only to spend the next night pounding the counter for milk. And I’ve found that whether he wakes up or not, his mother’s internal alarm clock is going to go off anyway. I’ve reached the charming point of anticipating cries that may or may not occur, my body tensed and sweaty as I await my nightly fate. The other night, a bout of unstoppable wakefulness left me warning my husband that I would “get in the car and drive away from here, I swear it.”
Things may be getting out of hand.
I appear to be my own worst enemy, my brain going into overdrive the later the hour and the more tired I am. A recent attempt at finding refugeor at least commiserationon the internet (always a good idea) left me with a list of suggestions I knew was insufficient (warm milk? Seriously? That’s just going to MAKE ME HAVE TO PEE). One tip, however, intrigued me: the recommendation of writing down all the things that worry my brain during these nightly standoffs with sleep, the idea being that confessing them may defuse their power over my subconscious.
Whatever. I just want to sleep, dammit. So I’ll try anything (except the milk. I’ve got enough milk causing problems in my life right now). Which is why I give you (drumroll pleasebut quietlythe baby is sleeping!).
AN EXHAUSTIVE LIST OF THE THINGS I WORRY ABOUT WHILE I’M TRYING TO GO TO SLEEP AT NIGHT AND CAN’T
what we’re having for dinner the next night and whether I’ve taken it out of the freezer
I really need to potty-train my three-year-old
potty-training my three-year-old is going to be the Worst Thing Ever
I can’t parent my children, much less potty-train my three-year-old, without sufficient sleep
I really, really need to get some sleep (sweating begins)
I’m going back to work in a few weeks and I can’t do my job without sleep (sweating reaches a peak)
what if the nanny I hired has a hidden criminal record?
I can’t possibly let someone else take care of my kids two days a week
I can’t possibly keep taking care of my kids five days a week
how many doctor’s appointments do we have this week again?
I really want to get a Birchbox subscription
Andy Warhol in a ballet leotard
WAIT. I JUST HAD A DREAM. THAT MEANS I SLEPT, RIGHT?
how do we know that the terrorists haven’t infiltrated our neighborhood?
will NBC ever revive its Thursday night comedy line-up?
we haven’t heard from Tracy Morgan in a while. What gives?
what if the baby gets measles? I WILL CUT A BITCH
I’m never going to sleep again, am I?
(turn to husband and yell in his ear: “I’M NEVER GOING TO SLEEP AGAIN, AM I?”)
can I hold my breath until I pass out?
how can my husband just lie there and sleep while I’m suffering? Maybe I should kick him
how can my husband just lie there and sleep while I’m kicking him?
what if I just got into the car and drove to a hotel?
I’m way too tired to drive. But not too tired to STAY AWAKE ALL NIGHT APPARENTLY
I forgot to get more bananas at the grocery store
I’m too tired to go back to the grocery store
do I really have to get valentines for my three-year-old son’s whole preschool class? THEY CAN’T EVEN READ
Valentine’s Day is a bogus, commercially-driven holiday
I hope my husband gets me flowers
Tracy Morgan fly-fishing with Brad Pitt in a sequel to A River Runs Through It
DID I JUST DREAM AGAIN?
do our smoke detectors work?
why does God hate me?
why do bad things happen to good people?
who is good, really?
I mean, are any of us good people, or are we just pretending to be on Facebook?
what if they didn’t tie my tubes tight enough?
I have to pee
should I get up and pee?
I don’t really have to pee that badly, right?
(count up to twenty then backwards from twenty)
that didn’t work. I’m still awake. And now I really have to pee
Now that I think about it, this exercise may be counter-productive. I’ve only gotten through thirty minutes of thoughts and already I’m more worried than ever due to this peek inside my brain. I think I’ll go drink some warm milk* and call it a day. Or a night. What time is it again?