“Getting any sleep?”
This seems to be the question of choice that well-meaning strangers, family members, and friends all ask me. I guess Americans enjoy talking about sleep and in our culture we equate babies with sleepless nights. Plus I’m practically holding up a sign with the dark circles under my eyes and my mussed hair: SLEEPLESS LADY.
Usually it’s not the baby’s fault. Four-month-old Baby Leone does what a baby needs to do: wakes up at night to nurse or to use the potty or to let me know that her diaper’s wet. Then she goes right back to sleep (unless she decides, at 4:00 a.m., that it’s time to party. But that’s only happened a couple of times in the past month). If she doesn’t settle down right away, I put her on my chest belly to belly and let her suck on my pinkie finger and she falls asleep almost instantly, her ear pressed against my heart.
That’s when I wake up. My mind comes alive in the dark. My mind makes it clear to me that there’s so much to obsess over and tries to make up for the lost time during the day not spent worrying.
Me: Stop that. There’s nothing you can do about the unpaid property taxes, following up on Etani’s eye examination, or Jim, Sr.’s cancer right now. Elie’s home from the hospital and you don’t have to fret about her either. You need to sleep in order to be clear headed for the big project with the fast approaching deadline. Breathe.
My Mind: Unpaid bills, vision therapy, cancer, open-heart surgery, deadlines, ha ha! [add sinister laughter here]. And they’ll be no sleep for you either when you’re traveling in April to Chicago and New York City with the baby. Ha ha ha!
Me: I’ll try that trick of subtracting backwards from 100 by 7s that a reader suggested. That often works. One hundred minus seven is 93…
My Mind: James leaves Thursday and you forgot to call the babysitter. You’ll never get those articles written! You have those books on kids and safety waiting at the library, you didn’t talk to your mom on her birthday, your brother’s going to Mali without you, Illiasou’s getting married and you won’t be there…
I wish I knew where the OFF switch was.
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