life

That thing called sleep

I think it’s a reasonably well known fact that (until recently) I could count the number of full nights sleep I’d had in the last 6 years on one hand. Pretty dismal, really.

Well, something amazing is happening, and I hope like hell I’m not jinxing it, but I’m just so freaking amazed that I had to share.

The little one is finally, mostly, sleeping through! By which I mean, she’s not waking up in the middle of the night and coming in to harass me. Nor is she taking up massive amounts of our bed and attempting to have philosophical conversations with me at 2am. It does mean that when she wakes up, she’s up for good though, even if it’s only 430am. More often than not it’s 5am. Sometimes I get really lucky and it’s 530am.

Whatever, I’ll take it!

It took a few days before my body and brain came around to the idea that 6hrs sleep in a row was an improvement on 9hrs of seriously broken sleep, but I think we’re all in agreement about it now. And my brain is starting to work properly again. I mean, I’ve got some life, and energy, and I’m THINKING more clearly. I can literally feel the fog of sleep deprivation lifting, just a little.

I’m hopeful. It’s nice to feel hope. It’s nice to think that pretty soon this could be the norm. And god, I hope that really is the case because after this little glimpse at what my brain might be like when it’s getting enough shut-eye, well, I don’t want to go back to the before.

Cross your fingers for me!!

Advertisements
Uncategorized

School holidays are too LOOOOONG

I love my kids. I really do. But the summer holidays are far too long. They are ridiculous. The weather has been rubbish for more than half of it, the kids are bored stupid, and no matter how much I try to be an energetic and entertaining mother, there is only so much we can fit in around the need for naps and meals etc.  And I don’t know about you, but I for one cannot afford the exorbitant cost of taking them to indoor play places, as much as it might entertain them for an hour or two.

We have just one week to go until normal activities resume. I am seriously hanging out for it. I have this beautiful vision of what Monday the 30th of January will be like: we’ll get up and have breakfast, do the mad dash to get everyone organized. Ivy will be dropped off to school with her brand new books and a smile on her face, eager to see her friends and acquaint herself with her class room for the year. After seeing that she has settled in, Lauren, Natalie and I will head to Playcentre and catch up with all of the new friends we made last term.

The morning will pass quickly, and before I know it, it will be noon and we’ll be heading home. My babies will fall asleep pretty much as soon as we get in the door, exhausted from all the stimulation, and I will sit down with a coffee and some lunch and get some writing done – oh my, how the words will flow!

Silence will pervade the house and I’ll have room to actually form a thought without interruption. It’s something I will not take for granted for at least a week. It won’t be until 330pm that the TV is turned on for the first time that day. The kids will have their afternoon tea while Ivy tells us all about her first day back and reminds me of the million things she is sure I’ve forgotten about, but haven’t.

And then, after a bath and dinner and stories, they will all go to bed, and sleep because their little bodies and minds have been so fully occupied throughout the day.

And I’ll sit on the couch, with a glass of wine and my husband and relax properly for the first time in six weeks.

One. More. Week.

I can make it. I know I can! I’m hanging on to my dream for dear life and hoping beyond hope that maybe I’ll actually start getting some decent sleep again.

Uncategorized

In case of emergency

Please consume 1 bottle of V. *

But what happens when every day is an emergency? When every day, severe exhaustion threatens your progress?

I really need some sleep. I refuse to let that stop me getting things done, but if I’m honest, I am verging on losing the willpower to do anything other than look after the kids. If only my toddler would sleep, I could sleep too.

Don’t even start in on me about child rearing, and sleep training, or letting them cry it out. The girl will scream until morning. We did six weeks of sleep training (gentle, mind you, not shutting her in the room and leaving her for the night) before letting it slide. What did it net me? Stress, anxiety, a clingy daughter, bags under everyones eyes, more frustration and irritation, grumpy bums everywhere. At one point, she seemed to be making progress, but the massive reversion that happened is mountain-sized and I have my limits.

Bottom line: it wasn’t worth it. Better it just be me tired than everyone in the house. I am able to cope a little better with sleep deprivation than a 6yr old, a 9month old, or my husband (love him to bits,  but he really does need his sleep!). And yes sometimes this means she wakes up every hour in the goddamned night, and I can barely string a sentence together the next day. And yes it means I am not functioning at peak potential – but one day I will be.

What I have learned is that the human mind, and body, are far more resilient than we might give it credit for. If you’d asked me if I could handle this level of sleep deprivation before having kids, I would have said ‘no way!’ but I have to find a way to handle it. There is no other option.

And yes I could let her scream, and maybe, eventually, she’d break and realize that in actual fact she doesn’t need me during the night. But I’d feel like shit about it, and dude, there are already enough people in the world laying on guilt about parenting choices without me adding some self loathing in there as well.

Sometimes choosing to nurture, and respect your children is a bitch. But it’s my choice, one I made with love, in keeping with my beliefs about human interaction. She’s two; this phase will not last forever. Her happiness, her smiles, her continued blossoming make up for the lack of sleep; though I retain the right to complain about it from time to time, I won’t use it as an excuse.

Life goes on, and while my progress might at times be slower than I’d like, I am still moving forward. Always.

Rant over. Now excuse me while I get back to some work.

*No, I don’t actually drink one of these a day – they are seriously bad for you. But over the last few months I have been resorting to having one, once a week  or so. To my credit I am also cutting down on my coffee intake, and trying not to prop myself up on sugar and junk.

And yes, in case you were wondering, this has come up because I really do get sick of people telling me what to do in regards to my children. Yes, I know sleep is vital, and I know that this can affect mental health, and that some women are driven to do terrible things to their babies – I promise you that if I ever feel myself getting to that point (and trust me, I’m incredibly self aware about my mental state, through necessity, so I will know), I will get help. In the meantime, just don’t judge me. You can support me by just being my friend. And sure, helping out by washing my dishes is always appreciated 😉

Uncategorized

January kicked my ass

I know we’re still a few days from the end of the month, but WOW, what a month. I am exhausted on just about every level. I cannot wait until school goes back and we can start reforming a ‘normal’ routine again. I dream of days where both the littles are getting the sleep they need, where the big one is entertained and enlivened by all the learning and play she is doing at school, where I am not having to step in and resolve an issue every 5 minutes. Where I actually have the time and energy to keep on top of the housework and actually get some writing done…

I also can’t wait until this whole sleep training thing kicks in and I’m actually getting a few more hours. Right now, I can see progress, but I’m riding on a week of changing rooms 5-6 times a night, working my ass off getting Lauren to sleep and I just hope that it all pays off soon. I hope it all clicks into place, because I am  a mess. I’m imagining all kinds of scenarios which might mean I’m sleeping, and none of them are pretty (ie: I could drink myself into oblivion so that I won’t hear them when they wake up – cept, I really don’t want to drink! Let alone deal with a hangover).

That said… I have submitted two short stories this month. I’ve written a new story which will hopefully be revised and subbed in the next week, and I started work on revision of yet another short story. So, somewhere in there, I did find a little time.

We’ve had some lovely catch ups with friends, had a lot of fun playing and enjoying each others company. We’ve shuffled the house around and found new things to explore. It’s been good, frequently. Just exhausting.

It hasn’t been until this last week that I’ve felt ready to implode. This is the longest stretch ever that I’ve had 3 girls home to myself for and it is not easy (who on earth suggested summer holidays be this long??? lol). I know it will get better, get easier. I can see it in those moments when everyone is happy and playing nicely, when everyone is getting enough sleep. There are too many of the other moments at the moment though – the ones where one of them is too tired, but we’re out, or we have visitors, or there is some other reason that things just aren’t working right.

Next year it’ll be easier. And every year after that. I just need to hang in there for a couple of days until school starts. Despite my best efforts, I simply cannot provide enough stimulation for an almost 6 year old who doesn’t like to entertain herself, while also catering to the needs of a 6 month old and a 2yr old. Both of whom still need naps and are still breastfeeding.

Parenting is hard.

But it is also rewarding. I do love my babies, despite the months like this. Despite the sleep deprivation and the not ever having enough time to myself. It will get easier, and all the time and effort I put in now is worth it. I have to remind myself of that sometimes too. These little people are the most important thing in my life.

Roll on Feb! I intend to spend the first few days of the month catching up on TV shows, reading books, and enjoying a much more chilled out pace than I’ve  had the chance to for awhile now.

Speaking of reading, think I’ll do a review tomorrow. I just finished an awesome book and I want to share it with you all 🙂 I think it was the only thing keeping me sane the last few days!

Uncategorized

Putting things in perspective

Not exactly a writing related post, but oh well!

After a couple of very rough nights spent wondering whether Lauren would ever be a decent sleeper, I decided to try something new. New for us anyways. I know it’s going to sound completely ridiculous to most people but it actually never crossed my mind before now.

I’m a dedicated breast feeder. I love it. It’s easy. It’s cheap. I don’t have to steralize bottles or mix formulas. I don’t have to get out of bed in the middle of the night to prepare a feed. I tell people I’m lazy, because really, it has always seemed like a lot more effort to bottle feed than breast. Lauren is very much attached to the whole process and I’ve been happy to continue.

But, my supply isn’t awesome at the moment. The whole pregnancy thing. And while I’ve been struggling on, accepting that she’s taking longer to get enough of a feed to satisfy her (hence all the wake ups, the shorter sleep spans) I never stopped to think that I could do things differently.

Anyway, last night I gave her a bottle of milk before bed. She drank the first one and half of a second. She slept for almost 8 hours. When she woke at 3am I gave her some more milk, and then a feed because she wanted one – and even though she woke a few times after that she was content to be patted/shushed back to sleep instead of clawing at my chest demanding more.

Why did this never cross my mind before now? I mean, I KNEW she wasn’t getting as much as she wanted, but I never thought to supplement.

Sometimes, we can get so stuck in our ways that obvious solutions just don’t take hold until you really need them to.

It did mean that this morning I woke feeling very much more alert than I have been the last few days. Which got me thinking ahead to the time when I will be sleeping through the night.

The time when I’ll be able to have a glass or wine or two with dinner because I’m not breastfeeding (or pregnant).

The time when I’ll be able to go out to the movies on random nights of the week because I won’t be worrying about the kids waking up.

And you know what? That’s not very far away. When you put things in perspective, these early years don’t last long. I’m all about being there for my kids and fulfilling their needs (even if that means rocking them to sleep every night and being up every other hour to feed. Even when it means I don’t get to go out with friends whenever I feel like it, or have a drink, or sleep for more than a few hours at a time). I can cope with all of that, I’m happy to give stuff up for my kids.

Today it seems much easier though, knowing that in a couple of years I’ll have more time to do the other things I love. Hell, I may even be able to actually watch a TV show on TV as the season plays rather than waiting for DVDs.

This parenting gig is a long term thing, but it can be so easy to let yourself get caught up in the here and now. Yes, sleepless nights feel like they’ll go on forever. Being a human milk bottle can be tiring at times. Constantly being at their beck and call is more than a full time job – but its SO worth it in the end. And these years, they don’t last forever. They don’t last long at all.

What’s more is that I know I’ll miss them when they are gone.

Uncategorized

Arg!

The last few days have been a series of highs and lows, well, mostly lows if I am honest, brought about by sheer exhaustion, a baby who is biting while feeding, difficulties with sleep and 6 teeth coming through at once (another two started cutting in). I mean seriously, when am I going to catch a break? lol I can’t complain too much though, I am alive and well and thats something to be happy about.

After an incredibly productive Tuesday, I fell off the wagon again.

It’s just struck me that I didn’t blog about Tuesday! See, yesterday really was rough. I finished the short story I was working on, starting editing a different short story, and got to work on Chasing Ascension. All in all, a fantastic day – mostly because Lauren slept for THREE hours straight in her new bunk bed, and I had so much time to get things done.

Yesterday however… after an incredibly rough night, we both finally passed out just after noon. I had to get up after an hour, but she slept for a good two hours and last night was a whole lot smoother. We’re at a transition time and I just have to accept that getting her to bed is going to take a whole lot longer than it used to. She really needs to learn how to go to sleep by herself, but it feels like its going to be a long and painful process. I know it’s for the best in the long run though…

Anyways… I’m feeling somewhat more alive today, though less focused. Technically I’m not knocked out of NPI just yet because I wrote more than 1000 words on Tuesday and gained myself a day off (which I used yesterday). But I feel like my head is out of the game and I’m not sure whether I will continue with it. I will probably write today, but I don’t know… I still feel like I am working so far below where I’d like to be that it barely seems worth it.

When your words seem to be not as vibrant as you’d like them to be, for huge stretches on end, do you still forge ahead?

I tend to, but right now… oh it would be so easy not to.

Uncategorized

A whole lot of nothing

Writing-wise, the title sums it all up. I’ve been thinking about writing, and avoiding it. Frankly, I was just too tired – I had a week where I was getting no more than 5 hours of sleep a night and by the time I got a space in the day to write, I just couldn’t face it. I’ve been hiding from the world in WoW instead, and for some reason, now that I’ve hit level 78, I feel like I can stop playing semi-obsessively (can’t call it obsessively, I just don’t have enough hours in the day to play to that level!).

And we’ve had two nights of more sleep, so I feel like maybe it’s time to start tapping back into my novella. Maybe I can save this thing, maybe I can get out 20k words this month after all (ha! I feel like I’m kidding myself here, but you never know unless you try, right?).

Things are looking up in general. I was told not to worry because all my needs would be met, and it seems to be slowly coming true: the bank has approved a loan so that we can buy a people mover, we’ve possibly found one for a really good price in Rotorua which we could pick up when we go over there next week. A friend is going to house-sit while we’re gone which means that maybe, for once, I can relax and have a good time knowing that my canine-baby is safe and secure in her own home (not that she isn’t safe other places, but she is very much happiest at home). I finally got some new bras (lol sorry if you don’t want to know, but hell, its exciting!) some sexy HotMilk ones – I decided to splurge (something I very rarely do – and I don’t feel guilty, which is even cooler!) because I’ve been in maternity bras for over a year now and am going to be for another two most likely, so why not have something nice to wear? All women know that you feel much better about yourself with some nice underwear. Also, on Monday morning I felt this baby moving inside me, it gave me a very impressive kick despite the fact that it’s quite small at this stage of the game.

So yes, things are coming together. And maybe with all that other stuff taken care of I can get back to my writing. It’s certainly not on the top of my list at the moment, and I might have to accept that it’s not going to be for another year or so. I’m actually okay about that.

Uncategorized

10%

While I haven’t yet really gotten into any rhythm with the novella, or my writing, I’m pushing on anyways. Jack has discovered several problems and I’m taking him off to a bar to mull for awhile – he appears to have discovered what he thinks is the answer to his question already and needs to have a serious think about what steps  he wants to take next.

I actually find myself really liking Jack, despite his actions. I guess that’s a good thing seeing as I’m stuck with him for at least another 18,000 words! Some thoughts have popped up which will come into play later in the story, in regards to Eve, though it still doesn’t tell me where this is all heading. Chaos and destruction? Maybe, but I have a feeling it’s going to be okay.

Oh, and that thought just led me to another thought, oh man… maybe Eve isn’t what she seems (or what I thought she might be) after all! Boy oh boy, this could get really interesting. I’ll let you know later on, but I can’t let the thoughts loose or who knows what might happen.

In other news, I’m sleeping like crap. Man, if it’s not one child it’s the other, or sometimes both of them. Lauren seems to think that 4am/430am is a good time to wake up and be tired and grizzly yet not be able to settle back to sleep, the last few mornings have seen me awake from then and then finally able to get her to go back to sleep around 630, which results in a short sharp sleep for me and makes me even grumpier than I would have been had I just stayed awake (I think). That said, this mornings did manage to expel the painful eye piercing headache I had. Mostly.

Ivy has been waking for apparently no reason at all and muttering to herself, which wakes me up. I strain my ears to try and figure out what she is saying but when I get up, she appears to be sleeping. Of course, her sleep is also being interrupted by Lauren’s wakeful periods and my general grumpiness about that 2 hour stint of unhappiness.

And if it’s not those two, its the other one, pressing against my bladder and forcing me from my bed – which in turn can lead to either of the other two waking up because no-one but Hubby seems to be sleeping deeply these days. He can sleep through just about everything.

Anyways, enough complaints from me! I’ll have another coffee and keep plugging along.

Uncategorized

Ahhh sleep

My beautiful little girl gave me a gift last night – 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep!! It’s a record for her, considering she managed to sleep for 9 hours straight herself. Unfortunately, this resulted in her waking at 5am, needing an absolutely massive feed and then not really feeling like going back to sleep again.

Ah well, can’t have it all right?

I’m not expecting it to happen again tonight, I’m just going to be grateful for what I got last night.

In other news, I still have no ideas for the novella. I’m going to resort to two things I think: a round of dictionary impossible (which if nothing else will furnish me with a working title) and the use of some tarot cards. Hell, I might even take photos and do a post on the process just for kicks! It feels good to have a plan for coming up with an idea, even if I don’t have that idea secured yet – I’m confident I will in the next day or so.

It would be very easy to wallow in the fact that I haven’t been doing very well with my writing goals lately, but life happens, and I can move on from here and do better for the next few months. I think I’ve come to terms with the fact that this is all going to have to go on the backburner when the new baby arrives, I just hope I don’t lose the plot too much when I can’t seem to find the time to write even 100 words let alone 1,000.

Anyways, signing off for now. Last of the out of towners should be around sometime soon to say their farewells and then we can get back to normal maybe, whatever that is.

Uncategorized

A guilt free day off

I didn’t write yesterday, not because I didn’t want to, but because I thought a day off would be good.

Typically prior ‘day off’s have been decided at the end of the day, when I’m tired and the baby has fallen asleep on me, or things just aren’t clicking – in reality, that’s not much of a day off though, not when you’ve only decided on it an hour before you go to bed.

So this time it was a day off from the start! And it was really nice. I got through some more work on the Collection, and am still looking forward to it being finished wooo. And just hung out with the girls, worked on getting Lauren sleeping better during the day etc and it’s really paying off! Even if I have to hold her so she gets some sleep it’s meaning I am getting more zzzz’s at night.

Last night she only woke twice (I’m not counting the time I accidently woke her up because I was awake and moved too much…) and I got one block of three hours sleep, one of four, and another one after that. FOUR HOURS!!! that’s our best for awhile, keeping in mind that 6 is the longest in her entire life. As a result, I’m feeling really quite good this morning!

So where does that leave us for today?

I’m not sure yet. We’re heading out to a friends this morning and then we’ll see what the afternoon brings. I’d like to nail down the cover for the Collection, as well as get the text for the back of the cover and the intro done as well. And if I get some of my own writing done this evening then that’s great. If not, I’ll call it another day off and get back into it tomorrow. I really want to get my other commitments dealt to first though so that come the end of the month we actually have winner’s certificates AND a Collection to offer! lol