Let’s talk about TEETHING. I’m sure you’ve heard the advice, “Just put a little whiskey on the gums. They’ll be fine.” Well folks, it’s a lot more complicated than that. R started teething painfully around 9 months. I measure this by the inverse relationship of increased teething for baby and decreased sleeping for mom. She had been a 12-13 hour sleeper, and then she became a 3-4 hour sleeper, and it just got worse. Luckily L was still sleeping through the night, on a solid 6am-7pm schedule. It was tough, but I was at least able to get some sleep. Well, winter hit, they both got sick, and L started waking up at night too. It was BRUTAL. Previously, the girls had been able to sleep through each other occasionally waking up, but now they were consistently waking each other up. I was lucky to get 2 hours of sleep together. Sometimes we were up every 30 minutes. Brutal, just brutal. Luckily, I have a very supportive partner who helped often. Yev, short for Yevgeniy (or Shrek to close friends and family), would get up when I just couldn’t anymore. We took a team approach where one of us would rest while the other tended the children, and when the situation became overwhelming, would ask for backup. We switched off taking naps. We believed that two tired parents was a disaster, so we took turns to make sure the-hot-mess-parent got some time off.
Now teething is a trying time for a family. It is hard to not lash out at your partner at 2am, with two kids screaming, and you both want to cry because you’re so tired. Yev and I had this instance where both girls were screaming, and one of them dropped her bottle behind the changing table. In his frustration, Yev shoved the changing table aside get the bottle, and that could have easily turned into a blow out argument. Instead, I said, “Yev, I need a partner right now. I need a teammate.” He straightened up, bottle in hand, and replied, “You’re right.” And we got the girls settled without getting in it. Now we don’t always resolve things so amicably, but we try really hard to be patient with each other, even when we are sleep deprived and run down. It is so important for couples to maintain their own relationship while having children because kids can easily become the only priority.
Now back to sleep deprivation. It is real! I was at work the other day, and I legitimately could not maintain a conversation or even think. I had hit my wall, and I was breaking down. Anyone taking care of children will hit this wall at some point, and it is important to ask for help. I called in the cavalry. I called my mom, my mommy’s helpers, the Russians (in-laws) and found enough coverage to take a nap for four days in a row. I was still tired, but I could think and talk again. I no longer felt like I wanted to curl up in a ball and cry anymore. Now ladies, make sure that when you’re feeling ok, it’s important to give your partner some recoup time too! Yev and I believe in spreading out the fatigue, and we take turns recovering because what’s the point of us both being dead tired?
So something I wasn’t prepared for was the continued sleep disruption teething engendered. I thought, once they stop teething, they’ll start sleeping. Easy peezy. NOPE. My girls now adhered to this terrible sleep pattern, regardless of teething. If this happens to you ladies, I recommend talking to your doctor. She and I worked out a baby Tylenol regimen that would help the girls sleep through the night better without creating an addicting cycle.
I can now say I am tired, but I am not exhausted. I no longer have that constant ache behind my eyes that you have when reading until 3am. I am able to function and create cohesive sentences. But let me tell you, this has been a lesson in humility. Yev and I used to tell everyone how much our kids slept and how awesome it was. Well karma struck, and we have been suffering. We won’t be boasting about sleep anytime soon!