Okay, I'm ready to admit it, I don't sleep. Some of you (my close friends and family) know this, others just assume that by now, as the kids are 15 and a half months old, we are sleeping. Sigh, we are not.
Here is a typical night:
7:00-7:30} Bedtime (books, brushing teeth, nursing and nigh-nigh)
11:00-ish} Madeleine up (nurse go back to bed)
12:15-ish} Max up
2:00-ish} Madeleine awake yelling, wakes Max up, Michael and I both up, I nurse
4:00- Max awake wanting to nurse. I try to tell him the milk is all gone and he throws a major tantrum for a half hour. I give in (coercive parenting) and nurse him.
5:00- 6:00} Madeleine awake (me or Michael trying to get her back to sleep)
7:30} everyone awake
Yes, this means that I get about 4-5 hours of sleep a night. The problem is that when I get the children back to sleep I myself, cannot get back to sleep so easily. So, I lye awake knowing that I only have a few hours to rest before the next baby stirs.
The pediatrician says that I need to 'night wean'. They are getting up for the comfort of nursing and if I deny them breast milk they will sleep. So, we try it. After more than an hour of Michael trying to soothe Max, Max yelling, "Mi...Mi...Mi" I give in and nurse his cute butt. Then Madeleine wakes up, Michael goes in to soothe, she screams like a banshee as is she has had a nightmare, I get worried that the spica cast gave her post traumatic stress disorder and I go in to soothe, nurse, rock whatever.
Sometimes we bring a baby to bed, in which case no one sleeps well. Other times one of us parents sleeps on the sofa with a baby while the other is in bed with a baby. In this scenario we may sleep a bit better but Michael and I both realize this situation is not good for anyone. On the other occasions we are both up all night rocking, soothing, nursing, patting, shushing a baby.
What to do? I don't have a clue. I am welcoming suggestions, help, offers to spend the night- whatever. I will not allow my children to 'cry it out' in the middle of the night. It goes against the maternal instinct, so please do not suggest I let them cry themselves to sleep. I have let them fuss. I have gone in and patted them telling them it is night time. Michael has gone in and said that Mama is sleeping and it is time for nigh-nigh. I have told them (especially Maxy) that the milk is "all gone" and he has to sleep. He will not. He will tantrum, pull on my shirt, wiggle, toss, turn, cry, yell for Milk. What to do?
I'm at the end. I'm resentful, I'm craving sugar and coffee, I don't know what to do.
For the record, I have given the children less sleep during the day (i.e., one nap for a few hours in the afternoon). I have kept them on schedules. I have put them down early, later, on time and everything in between. I have given them benadryl, Tylenol, ibuprofen. I have tried massage, warm baths, a snack before bed.
The only thing left to try is white noise instead of a lullaby CD and making their room warmer.
I haven't slept in over 18 months.
This is why I am no longer running and working out. This is why I crave sugar and coffee. This is why I don't call you back.