Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Things I do when I can't sleep.

I couldn't sleep last night. This was, I think, the second or third night in a row. JP has another cold, and last night he had a slight fever. I had a not-so tiny, hot little baby cuddled up in my arms; in the past, this has been perfect, but this time I couldn't get comfortable. He would wake up every once in awhile and cough, and when he did, he would stretch or change positions. For quite some time, he was lying on his back, in the crook of my arm, his head resting on that flabby part of my arm that I was glad to have finally found a purpose for, in a position that made us both look like we were floating on our backs down some dark and calm stream.

I tried reading (like his father, the light doesn't bother him; most noises, in fact, don't bother him while he's sleeping, though he seems to be strangely sensitive to the running feet of the cats in the other room). I tried playing endless games of "Doodle Jump" on my iPhone. My Scrabble and Words with Friends pals were all snoozing, I guess. The baby seemed most comfortable (ironically) when I was sitting in the brown chair in his room, and he was sitting on my lap, partly turned toward my body, with one arm around my waist, with the overhead light very dim, and the table light (not so dim) on, while I read. I read holding the book in one hand, and with the other one holding him. I said "ironically" because all the stuff I've read about co-sleeping (that is, sleeping with your baby in "family bed") indicates that allowing your baby to sleep on you while seated in a cozy chair (and the brown chair is extremely cozy) is more dangerous than people think. Apparently, people who think co-sleeping is dangerous, think sleeping with a baby in a chair is safe.

This is not true.

However, since I was awake, cognizant of my surroundings (i.e., not drunk), and could definitely see well enough to make sure he didn't, I don't know, smother, he was just fine.

At 1:30, Patrick came in to check on us, and to try to convince me to let him take over.

Why do I have this, what, compulsion?, when the baby is sick, to do everything myself? I have to watch that, because Patrick is just as careful and caring as I am with him. Also, when he's sick, Patrick is less serious with him than I am: he isn't afraid to make him laugh. I'm not afraid to make him laugh, I just want to make sure I don't interrupt his sleep. If he wakes, I want him to go back to sleep as soon as possible. Do babies need to laugh when they're sick as much as they need to sleep, or to nurse? Maybe they do.

Earlier in the evening, I asked Patrick to repair to the living room (sounds good, doesn't it) because I thought a quieter bedroom would help me. Usually it does but last night, it didn't. By 2, I was ready to try to sleep alone. I woke up Patrick, handed off the sleeping and slightly less-hot baby, went to the bathroom (a need I'd been ignoring), then crawled into bed.

I still didn't sleep.

I was a little uncomfortable - the baby had been nursing more frequently but only one side at at time, and I think I accidentally skipped a side, maybe more than once. My right breast (the one that I had to have surgery on when I had that disgusting abscess) was sore. My scar felt different. I should've pumped but I kept thinking we'd catch up. We never did, and now I had that to worry about (this morning, he nursed just fine; the best way to fix that problem). I didn't want to get my pump stuff all dirty when I'd just have to wash it for today. I have extra parts and can avoid washing every day, but I always feel like if I don't wash everything it's some kind of minor failure that I'd just as soon avoid. It was risky, not pumping, but I think it worked out okay.

Before I was pregnant, my favorite sleeping position was on my stomach. For one reason or another, I haven't been able to sleep that way since I was pregnant, and now apparently I was too tired but still all wired up for some reason. I bet even being on my stomach would not have helped. Before I sent him to the living room, I told Patrick that I felt anxious about something. I felt a lump in my throat, actually, but I don't know why. Well, I have an idea. Of course. It's now 12 hours later and I still have that lump for some reason. Maybe it's in my stomach now. Maybe that's why I couldn't sleep face down.

When I was a little girl, I had a couple of remedies for sleepless nights. One was to read. I used to just stay up, and read, read, read. That worked the best for the moment but the next day I'd be wasted. Now that I have to drive a car in traffic I tend to find staying up all night a poor solution. When I was a teenager, I had one friend that I could call in the middle of the night. Talking on the phone or getting on my computer would've been too disruptive to the little guy. Also, who would I call? Another solution (this one was suggested by my friend Laura Love's Nana. Nana told us once when I spent the night, before we all went to Disneyland, and we were too excited to go to sleep at a decent hour) was to lay in bed on my back and raise my arm and to concentrate on holding my arm up. Eventually you're supposed to get so exhausted from holding up your arm that you just let it fall... and then you fall asleep.

My mom used to tell me to daydream. I believe her exact suggestion was to "daydream about Christmas." Or probably it was "daydream about heaven." I must've been really little when she suggested this. I'm kind of ashamed to admit that daydreaming about Christmas is a lot of fun (heaven: not so much - sorry mom! Maybe someday I will learn!). Ashamed because it's just dreaming about having things, isn't it? Still: it works. It's now turned into "daydream about winning the lottery." This is the technique I turned to last night. I wonder what my mom would think about that? Daydream about heaven, Christmas... the lottery. Well. I never said I was deep. Did I?

It's silly, because winning the lottery is sooo materialistic. I mean, what would I do with lottery winnings? Spend it, of course. I would BUY THINGS. The number one thing now on my list is, I would like to remodel our home. We've talked about making our tiny house a bit bigger for a long time now, and I think by now we know what we want to do. I like thinking about how we would finish the rooms and what kind of sinks we would have in our bathrooms, and the style of kitchen cabinets I want, and how I would furnish our new bedrooms. I want a wooden deck in the yard. New wood floors throughout the house, bamboo maybe; possibly cork in the bathroom. I want a dining room. A laundry room. I watch all those HGTV real estate shows and people are always going on and on about "en suite" bathrooms and central air and heating, and sometimes those people annoy the hell out of me, but yes: I want those things too.

I usually fall asleep doing the house, but apparently last night was special. I stayed up, and up. So I thought, OK, I have a bunch of a million dollars (the amount is never specific, of course). What do I do with it?

Well, JP needs to go to college. Hell, I need to go to college. And I'm sure my mom and dad would like a vacation. We could all go to Hawaii! And my mother-in-law could use a condo so that she could be closer to us, and to her other grandchildren. And wow, I'd like a new Beetle or a Volvo. I bet Patrick would like a better home recording studio: how much fun that would be for him! And maybe new drums for all of us! And guitars! And lessons for the guitars, and maybe ukeleles! And flutes for everybody! It would be fun to buy my dad another 1965 Ford Econoline pickup like the one he had when I was really small. And City Garage needs money. And the flute choir could use a contrabass flute... or two. My brother needs a newer car, my other brother... doesn't really need anything, but he could probably think of something. My sister might like to live somewhere of her own one day. My niece and nephew will need to go to college. My largesse grew larger the longer I stayed up.

And then, I realized: here I am, dreaming about winning the lottery, when in the other room, my adorable, perfect, still even less-hot little baby and my husband were quietly sleeping, having achieved that thing together that I couldn't, and the truth is, I've already won something much, much better.

Yes. New plumbing and subway tiles and bamboo flooring and a Beetle or a Mini or a Crosstour or a Volvo and a contrabass flute or two would make my life fun. But it's pretty darn nice right now. I just want that baby to lose his cough and then we'll be set for quite a while.

Songs that were thought of while writing this:

1. Jive Talking, by the Bee Gees
2. Atoms for Peace, by Thom Yorke
3. The Eraser, by Thom Yorke
4. I Would Die 4 U, by Prince
5. Evil Woman, by ELO
6. This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody), by Talking Heads
7. Man or Muppet?, by the Muppets
8. You Said Something, by P.J. Harvey
9. I Put a Spell On You, by Bryan Ferry (and CCR, and the Birthday Party)

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