Posted by: Hannah | 04/01/2012

an ode to 4AM

It’s 3:51AM.

I’ve been awake since about 2AM, when Baby G woke up ready to party. He went back to sleep that time without giving me trouble, particularly, although it took the better part of an hour for him to wind himself down, legs kicking and kicking, arms flailing. After he finally passed out I was able to settle and relax, allowing myself to sleep… but then there was that weird half-waking you get when you co-sleep and breastfeed, where you don’t wake the whole way until the baby is already latched and you’re at an awkward angle.

He wasn’t happy about nursing and I couldn’t figure out why… then I looked at the clock and realized I’d only been asleep for about 20 minutes and he was now cramming MOAR MILK MAMA into an already-full stomach just because he rolled over and it was there. Oops. So now his belly is upset and he can only rest sitting up.

Which means he’s in the swing – I’ve caved completely this week and he’s been sleeping in the swing for at least part of every night – but I can’t let  myself go enough to sleep myself. I’m at that state of tired where you’re afraid to sleep, because you know it’s going to feel So. Good. when you do sleep, and so incredibly painful when you get woken up – again – that rather than risk the crushing disappointment of having sleep ended I’ve decided apparently to just stay awake forever, or something.

This is not rational.

Then I tried to write a post about Harry wanting to learn how to cook, and after several false starts I realized that this does not necessitate a blog post – it’s a blog sentence. It’s a tweet. Maybe two. I’m so sleepy I can only think 140 characters at a time.

Then I tried to watch some boring TV in the hopes it would knock me out, but infomercials are just not dull enough anymore for that. And hey! there’s that channel with the ‘adult’ programming which I have to admit fascinates me on some level; it’s not arousing in the least, nor is it titillating… I feel about porn the way I used to feel about TLC back in the day when it just showed footage of surgeries all day long, remember that?

And the whole time I hear the motor on G’s swing, a not-unpleasant but still pervasive grinding noise, and I think oh god what if the motor on that swing burns out before he stops eating at night. And the dog is snoring.

And tomorrow I have to chase everybody to help me things up, and I’m so goddamn tired of always being the Voice of Reason, the one who says ‘put away your laundry’ and ‘don’t leave books strewn everywhere’ and ‘I don’t see why the living room has to be the place where everyone throws their shit’.

I want a cup of tea.

The scary thing is Baby G is a fantastic sleeper, much better than Ron and much much MUCH better than Harry, who woke every hour on the hour for six months and wouldn’t sleep anywhere but sprawled across my chest. And I imagine trying to hold together the many threads of my life had G been a baby like that, and I feel sick to my stomach with relief and fear of what might have been.

4AM is lonely.



  1. 4 am may be lonely, but you’re in good company:
    (Your post title made me think of that TED talk.)

    Also, I found this hilarious: “I feel about porn the way I used to feel about TLC back in the day when it just showed footage of surgeries all day long…”

    I do hope you get a better night’s sleep tonight! I often miss having a little baby in the house, but not that part.

  2. It’s lonely at 4 am for sure. Jake was a colicky baby. Mark was a pretty good sleeper. When Jake was born I was so exhausted, looking after a young toddler and a newborn on NO SLEEP. And everyone told me how easy it would be – that I could just sleep when they slept. HAHAHAHA. That never happened.

  3. TG has been having nightmares for weeks (actually, I think at some point we crossed over into months, given that it started not long after we moved in November), which means he either lands in our bed or drags me to his. I used to sneak back to my bed or deliver him to his, but now my body is used to horrid nights of quasi-sleep, and just takes what it can get. Which means I am horribly overheated when jammed between my furnace of a husband and my Ineedtosleepthisclosetoyou child, or hot on child-side but freezing on the other when in his bed and he steals ALL the blankets. Let’s not even talk about how sore my back is every morning.

    All this to say, my deepest commiserations. I do hope it gets better for your sanity.

    • Oh, that is awful. Poor TG – and poor you. We went through a phase like that with Ron when he was about 2.5 and it just went on and on. I ended up sleeping on the floor next to his toddler bed with my head pillowed on a stuffed animal more times than I’d care to count. I wish I had the magic formula that would help, but we don’t know what we did – one morning I woke up in my own bed, and it stopped as suddenly as it began. You have my sympathy and I hope things ease up for him – and you! – soon.

  4. Even now I find myself staying up until midnight, waiting for that midnight wakeup which only comes on night in three…

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