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Spawn of Griffith | Dear Jack ... (volume four)

Dear Jack ... (volume four)

Sunday April 16, 2006 | by Dalia Griffith | 0 comments

Your eyelashes are unbelievable. So are your Dad’s, which you were lucky enough to inherit. Mine, on the other hand, are so sparse they’re a mere formality. Anatomically necessary, but far from monumental. And I’ve tried every mascara on the market to give the illusion of decent lashes—thickening, lengthening, plumping, extending—but none have done anything except flake off into my eyes throughout the day, which in turn kicks off the dreaded cycle: I swear off mascara forever, forget about my limp lashes for a few months, suddenly notice them again, and then decide to try a new product for the last time. Which in turn does nothing but flake off into my eyes and drive me to swear off mascara forever …

So that’s my typically long-winded way of complimenting your beautiful lashes. As you get older and more aware, you’ll undoubtedly notice, and probably grow weary of, your Mom’s tendency to ramble. But I firmly believe I’m earning a lifetime of free babbling by enduring this anti-sleep kick you’re on.

What is it about rest that infuriates you? Is it that you don’t like to be told when to sleep? (We only put you down when you’re clearly tired, not just because we feel like it.) Or are you afraid of missing something vital? Man, I wish I could sleep for you because I’m exhausted. More so then I ever imagined. The truth is, nobody can prepare you for being this tired. They can describe what they went through, but having never been through anything remotely similar, I just assumed it was like feeling drained after a long day of work. I never imagined it would be torturous, mind-numbing exhaustion. The kind that affects my motor skills (I’m constantly running into things), my memory, and my overall ability to communicate (just ask Hugh).

When I was enduring the last six weeks of my third trimester, which was a nightmare physically, I was positive that there was nothing about parenthood that could rival the discomfort of being ready to pop. But I couldn’t have been more wrong. While sleep was a challenge back then, at least it was possible to settle in for relatively long stretches. In between trips to the bathroom, of course. As opposed to now, when sleep is a gift that you give me in sporadic stretches—sometimes two hours, sometimes 45 minutes, sometimes never. And every night for the last two weeks, we’ve had to move out to the living room in the wee morning hours because you’re fussing so loud and so consistently, your Dad can’t sleep. And since he’s the one who has to get up and go to work everyday, I’ve got to get you out of there pronto.

The night before last was the worst, though—you started your fussing at midnight and wouldn’t let up. So we were out in the living room by 12:30, at which time you stayed up for a couple hours, which means I stayed up, too. When you finally nodded off, you only did so for about an hour. But hell, I’ll take what I can get these days. All in all, I think we slept for about four hours—broken up into small stretches—maybe five for me if you count the sleep I got while Hugh was looking after you. What a gem he is. He’ll respond to your whimpering and fussing so I can rest. And he feeds and changes you just before he goes to bed at eleven, so in theory, you should be good until at least 2 a.m. But obviously, you have different opinions on the matter.

Unfortunately for you—and for me because this is going to be really, really hard—we’re going to make some changes, simply because I physically can’t take any more. I’m literally breaking down, and had a really scary moment this morning that terrified us all (Hugh, Mom, Dad and me). So we’re stepping up the process of getting your room ready upstairs, and we’re going to move you in soon. Don’t get me wrong, I love having you next to me, but I simply cannot get up at your every whim, and it’s time I learned to accept that. Because believe me, it’s torture to hear you cry and not immediately go to comfort you. But there’s a point at which you’ve been fed, changed, played with, and loved, when you’re clearly tired but are simply fending off sleep. And this is when I have to let you fuss yourself back into a dream state. You also have to learn that you can’t stretch a meal over 45 minutes, as you reject and then demand the bottle, because in the middle of the night, it’s just too much. You need to starting eating it all in one sitting.

Please understand (when you’re older, obviously) that leaving you to cry at times is probably harder on me than you. And if it inflicts any long-term psychological damage, I promise to get your Dad to spring for therapy.