I am exhausted. Down to the bone; can’t breathe; can’t sleep kind of exhausted. As the non-gestational parent, I have had the pleasure of being the primary enforcer of night-weaning. Here we are, night-weaning attempt number four, and I am so tired I yelled at my son in the middle of the night. The whole time I was yelling, “GO TO SLEEP!!! YOU ARE MAKING ME REALLY ANGRY!!! GODDAMN IT!” I was also thinking, “This is not the parent I want to be.” Granted, I yelled after he had woken up for the fourth time, every hour on the hour: 9:40. 10:40, 11:40, 12:40. But still. I don’t know why we decided to do it this way with Ima going to “work” every night and taking her nanas with her. Somewhere along the line we decided that I should just tough it out for a week or so and, by then, M would get it and we would all be one big happy, well-rested family. BULLSHIT! I am tired. We are all tired. I am training for a marathon in the spring and I have only been able to run once this week. When I did, I felt great. Then a couple hours later I developed a fever and cold chills. Seems like you can’t really squeeze distance running out of your butt. You have to have some reserves. So, here we are at night six. He woke 5 times total last night, if you count being up from 5am to 6am as one wake-up. In the middle of the night, while I rest my forehead on his crib rails as I pat his back through the slats, I dream about having breasts from which milk flows. I would give him a bendy straw attached at one end to my nipples and I would sleep on the floor while he drank himself back to sleep. Anything for sleep. Tonight, S said she wanted to put him down and all I hear is crying on the monitor. “NANA!” “PLAY!” “UP!” He just wants the juice!
I know people come from varying camps on this whole issue, from night wean at 6 months to let them nurse whenever they want until they can drive. Let them cry! Never let them cry! I am somewhere in between. I have always wanted him to sleep, but to also retain the closeness to his gestational mother through nursing. This became especially true after she went back to work full-time. Don’t get me wrong, we have tried before. He was doing great until he got bronchitis and stopped eating and the doctor said to nurse him as much as we could. Another time, I freaked out because he was crying so hard he almost made himself throw-up. I pulled the plug on that one. The third time…I can’t remember but I am sure it was equally draining on us all. I have learned a lot since becoming a parent. I am sure there are many topics on which I can wax-poetic and feel proud of my successes. Sleep is not one of those. In fact, I would say we have failed in the area of sleep. I know there is a lot of time and he will learn to sleep. I know that all hope is not lost, that one day I will again sleep more than three hours in a row. I will try to remember that, but tonight, I am just tired.