Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Post Sleepism

I've given up on anything resembling a normal night's sleep. I feel pretty good about this, which indicates to me that I must be getting at least a reasonable amount of sleep since I'm not feeling totally wasted and homicidal. I've stopped looking at the time at night; stopped trying to figure out how much I've slept. This is a bit disorienting but maybe preferable. I'm just trying to relax into...this new post sleep world. By the way, this is something my unconscious did for me. My rational brain would still be busy trying to figure this all out, stressing about it, weeping in frustration. But this last month has been weird enough sleepwise that my unconscious kicked in and told every other system to just kick it and sleep when I can. Nice. Also, totally outside of my control.

I should say that all this was working beautifully until a couple nights ago. Ila has been waking a lot and whimpering sadly when she's awake. She also doesn't want to nurse, which is unheard of...and undermines my best night time strategy. All this, plus the determined ferocity she has shown in gnawing on various objects, made me ask her, "Are you teething?" She has one of three answers for all questions put to her. She stares intently at me - maybe she's trying to communicate telepathically? - OR she looks away coolly as though my question is both boring and beneath her OR she babbles and screeches in her native language, which, based on the drunken slurred sounds and guttural inflections is some form of baby pidgin Russian.

So, obviously, I had to feel around in her mouth. This sort of works, meaning I glean no concrete information but a hunch of sorts about some knobby and raised parts of her gums. However, this works better than trying to look in her mouth. She frantically tries to suck my finger when I try to hold her little lip back to see her gums. The first three days I tried this, I couldn't see anything. Finally, I saw FOUR teeth coming in! Her top front four. At first, I could only see the two side front teeth - not the middle teeth. I thought that I was going to have a little hill billy baby for a while - two middle bottom teeth and two teeth off to either side. Hmmm. That's a good look. But, I think she's getting all four front teeth at once. Ouch. Needless to say sleep is a little bit of a joke right now.

Fortunately, this all started after our recent trip. Ila had her first adventures on an airline. We flew up to San Francisco, and it went very well. I think she slept better in the hotel than she had anywhere else for the preceding month. (Lesson: Maybe we should live in a hotel? Screw the expense!) We did lots of exploring and visited with some lovely people. I learned that I CAN carry a twenty pound baby in a front pack and a diaper bag on my bag and not die. I did feel a little like a camel, but it was surprisingly manageable. She frequently fell asleep in the front pack; it was lovely and sweet and kangaroo-like to have her little body nestled against mine. However, she liked to wake up - shocked to find herself strapped to me and with limited mobility - on crowded buses and scream and holler until I took her out, under the irritated glares of our fellow passengers. Ah well. It was, all in all, a lovely first big trip with a baby.

One nice part of being on a trip is that I was constantly with her - holding her, interacting with her - without any real distractions. Now that we're home, there are all these boxes to be unpacked...and chores to be done...and just all the gobbledegook of daily life to attend to. I find myself sometimes looking at Ila with a feeling of sadness, like I'm not just basking in the wonderfulness of having a sweet little baby. It's hard. I can't imagine doing other work -outside the home - in addition to basic baby care and life work; I think I would feel racked. Or maybe I would feel totally fine with it? Who knows. I guess I should just focus on my actual experience rather than being sad about what I'm not doing or feeling compassion for the imaginary version of myself that has to work 40 hours a week away from Ila and misses her terribly. Seriously, how schizoid can I be? I'm beginning to think I'm not necessarily all that well. I mean, I think I'm really afraid of grief and loss (so, basically, I'm human)...but to be worrying about grief and loss that I am not and will not be feeling. I don't know. Maybe it's time for therapy. Until then, I guess I'd settle for a little more sleep.