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Sleep. What Is That?

By Jeana Lee Tahnk

Ahh, sleep. The ever-elusive, always-coveted thing that parents neverseem to have the secret answer for getting. If you're lucky, you have ababy who is a great sleeper from the start and goes for five or sixhours from the day you bring him or her home. None of mine were greatsleepers at the beginning, but I will give them credit for being verypunctual. As in every two hours. On the dot.

Night after night of three to four wakings is tough-more than toughon some days. Of course, as the kids get older and you start to regainthat sleep you so craved, the memories of those hundreds and thousandsof night wakings start to fade away, but the minute another baby comesinto the picture, you're thrust back into it.

That's where I am now. Baby No. 3 came along and all of a sudden,getting seven straight hours is merely a pipe dream. My baby just isn'ton board with the whole sleeping-through-the-night idea. All of mycajoling, pleading, begging and monetary incentives haven't helped. Ithas taken a long nine months to get to the point where I'm getting alittle more sleep, but it has been a process in the making.

Ironically, now that I am getting sleep, I'm actually more tired thanbefore. I have a theory that sleep is like money in a bank: You canmake sleep deposits and save up. But on the flip side, when you're notgetting cumulative sleep, it's like you're constantly withdrawing fromyour sleep account and eventually you'll hit zero. I was at a pretty lowbalance for a long time and I'm building myself back up, which is why Ithink it's taking my body a long time to get back into normal mode.

The body has an amazing way of adapting, though. To think that Icould function, drive, work, carry on conversations and even soundcoherent at times on such little sleep is pretty impressive, if I say somyself. If you're going through the rough period of interrupted sleep,just know that you'll come out of it eventually. It may take a littlebit of time, but until then, try to bank the sleep you are getting. Andmake coffee your friend, if not your constant companion.


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