Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Two steps forward one step back

The twins are now 5 months and up until 2 weeks ago I’d foolishly forgotten the n.o 1 rule of parenting… don’t get lulled into a false sense of security.  I thought that we’d cracked the old sleep routines.  Scratchy sleeps 12 hours (yes I know incredible but don’t be envious of me just yet as…) Itchy sleeps anywhere between 6-9 hours.  But 2 weeks ago Itchy went back to feeding every 4 hours, and has been crying loudly which then sometimes wakes Scratchy who then decides she wants food too.  I’m exhausted all over again, it’s like stepping back to the first month.  Sleep deprivation is the biggest challenge for me.  Everyone tells you but you don’t appreciate how hard it is until you’re there so tired that you’ve; missed doctor appointments/are half way down the street with your slippers on/ mistaking your toothpaste for deodorant (delete as appropriate).  I was so tired the other day I went to stand up whilst forgetting that I had a baby on my lap.  Thank God for reflexes. 

It reminded me of my first week as a mum of twins in hospital when both fed every 3 hours.   After expressing, I did the post-C-section shuffle to the communal kitchen and back, and had a full conversation with a midwife en route with my tits hanging out.  Bless her she didn't mention anything and is probably used to it. She asked me what day I was on and counting to 5 was the most difficult thing.  Babies are to mathematics what kryptonite is to Superman.  Around the same time the nurse suggested I managed my own pain relief.  She explained the dose was 2 pills in four hours, or 3 in 6 or something like that but I internally panicked and all I was hearing was the magic round-a-bout music in my head.  I think she detected a glazed look and just said "it's difficult to over dose on these but try not to do it on my watch". 
Counting the scoops of formula when making up a bottle in this state takes all my effort.  Woe betide the person who puts me off as I’m mentally saying to myself “one, one one, two two two, three three….oh ..was I on three or four.”  Damn you baby brain.  Shall I start again or risk constipation”?  All of the new mums bar none I’ve met tell me in great detail what their night was like, when they fed, put baby to bed, put themselves to bed, when they woke up and what they did.  On the outside it’s THE most boring conversation but I take an interest and hold out cause I know I’ll get the opportunity to describe my night in the same excruciating detail.  It’s sympathetic therapy.  And since you’ve asked, I’ll tell you about a recent night for me: put them to bed at 7pm, I’m asleep at 10:30pm, feed Baby B at 11:30pm, 3pm 7am and Baby S at 7:30am.  And if a bad nights sleep wasn’t enough then, for some reason, I depress myself further by counting how many hours I got in total.  To think pre-baby I found it difficult to cope on anything less than 10 hours.  Now 6 hours in a row is enough to run a marathon on.

Tiredness really doesn’t help with baby brain either.  I’ll be honest and tell you the pre-baby me thought baby brain was somehow related to intelligence and because I was a sharp successful career woman it wouldn’t effect me.  WRONG!  Here I am often unable to finish sentences because I’ve either forgotten what I’m talking about or I cannot for the life of me find the words I want to use.  It’s embarrassing.  As soon as I try to conduct a non-baby conversation a trap door appears in my brain and all the verbs just disappear.  In fact changing my blog name from Anonomum to Labotomum, might be more fitting.  Mother nature just laughs and rubs her hands with glee that another mum is under her mumsie spell.  Turn the topic to poo however and I could give a 3 hour seminar with visual aids and examples.  What I now realise is; baby brain happens because your baby is SO important to you that you soak in every detail and there physically isn’t enough space for anymore info.  And you don’t want to think of anything else. Between remembering their feeding & sleeping needs and remembering to remove my vomit stained cardigan before my shopping trip, something’s go to go….and there I am one of those mums smelling suspect in the nappy isle.  I don’t care…I’m too tired. 

I’m now trying anything to get Itchy to sleep better.  Putting them down later, big feeds, solids, more comfortable bedding, lavender, crystals.  Anyone got a magic solution besides ear plugs and a wet nurse?


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Saturday, 4 June 2011

levels of tiredness

I had 3.5 hours sleep and I’m officially Dog Tired.  By my reckoning there are varying levels of sleep deprivation.  This is the Anonomum tiresness scale.  Where do you rank?
1 – Tired.  It’s what you used to feel in the evenings pre-children after a long/hard day shopping/working/socialising.  It’s where you yawn, stretch and retire to bed at the usual time.  You may even have enough energy to read, have sex, potter around the bedroom before falling asleep.  When you wake up you spring out of bed, skip to the shower, pick fresh flowers from the garden, cook your husband a full breakfast and start a new project like erecting a fence/doing the accounts/learning a new language. 
2 – Over Tired.  It’s where you definitely need to sleep, but something got in the way and you’re now extra tired and you have an edge.  You’re probably yawning a lot and rubbing your eyes.  Maybe you’ve a bit grumpy and think unkind thoughts about your husband.  You might even be snipping at him a bit, or fed up with the baby/ies constant feeding cycle.   But when you finally sleep and get up you’re refreshed enough to fuction.  You’re back to your happy self with the baby/ies.  You are willing to fix your partner toast, jam, orange juice and coffee.  You have a conversation about establishing a night time routine for the babies, and are hopeful about them sleep through soon.
3 – Dog Tired.  You ignore your alarm 3 times, you drag your arse out of bed, shuffle to the shower, put on yesterdays clothing covered in milk vomit because thinking of a new outfit is too hard.  You sling your partner one of your slices of toast across the room, and vow not to do anything for him ever again.  You spend a lot of time with your head in your hands and taking deep breaths before carrying on with the next chore…usually feeding or feeding related.  After a feed, you realise you’ve been staring at your baby for 10 minutes without actually winding it ...and that they are staring back at your like you're replaced their mum with a statue.  You’ve probably forgot to change your baby/ies at their feed.  You’re complaining continually that you need to sleep.  You stare at your turned off tv for 10 minutes before realising it’s not on.  You’ve probably had that argument with you partner about who’s had more sleep, and therefore who’s morally allowed a lay in.  You’ve probably laid down the law and made your partner do the next night feeds.  You’re bleeding down your chin from biting your lip all day about how f##cking annoying he is.
4 – Zombiefied.  You turn your alarm off and vow not to get up unless the baby/ies are proper screaming or the house is burning down.  At 1pm you sack off the shower and stay in your pj’s instead all day.  Who cares if you smell and look like Grot Bags dragged through a hedge backwards.  Brushing your hair or teeth hasn’t even crossed your mind.  You’re suddenly in the kitchen, you’re not sure how you got there or why you’ve put the cereal in the dishwasher, but you’re too tired to take it back out and press the start button.  You eat a yogurt, a lump of cheese, and a Wispa bar for breakfast.  Jermey Kyle is on repeat and you can’t be arsed to reach for the remote a few feet away, so you watch it…it helps make you feel better.  You’re pasty white and frighten yourself in the mirror.  You beg a family member to come round and give you a few hours of sleep.  You vow to start taking the advice you thought was stupid up until now of “sleeping when the babies do”.  You grunt at your partner and are too angry to talk to him…what ever is wrong in the world is his fault.
5 – Away with the Fairies.  You haven’t slept.  You don’t know if it’s day or night.  You forget you've just feed the baby and so feed it again. You drift in and out of reality.  You fantatsise about being sectioned just to get some sleep...and drugs.   When people talk to you you’re not sure if you’re dreaming, or if you should respond.  Did that object just move out of the corner of your eye?  You can’t respond quickly or succinctly in any way.  You'd adopt out your kids to your family if the paper work wasn't so energy consuming.  You absolutely cannot count to five to count the formula scoops for the baby's bottles, most of the powder goes over the floor anyway because your brain can no longer communicate with your body.  You look like you have motor neurone disease.  Food?  You think you’ve had breakfast, but really you’re remembering the breakfast from 2 days ago.  And if you do get hungry you’ll just eat that bit of crust off the carpet that got away from last nights gourmet dinner – jam sandwiches.  You regularly forget you’re a parent or that live with someone else.
6 - Only actual torture victims and mums of triplets or more know about this.

So come on then, where are you on the scale?  Or do you think I've missed one out?  Love to hear it.