Is sleep anxiety a thing?

My husband and I are incompatible sleepers.

I don’t know how we’ve made it this far.

I’m not a napper. Never have been. Even in pre-school and kindergarten, when everyone else was curled up in their sleeping bags on their little cots, I was tossing and turning.

The Barbie world I had created in my bedroom kept my anxiety levels up during “quiet time”. That one Barbie’s hair I hacked off to double as one of the boys had gone all wrong and now she looked like Ellen DeGeneres instead of Ken (I love her, btw).

If you’ve read some of my previous posts, you might have learned that I need a dark room, box fan turned up high enough to mask a freight train blowing on my face, a glass of water in arms reach and no one touching me in order to sleep.

I’m so extra.

My husband, on the other hand, likes the t.v. on.

Picture “Bad Boys II” on the flat screen (Will Smith is so sexy), and me, trying to squeeze my face closer and closer to my obnoxiously large box fan so I don’t pay attention to the movie, although my subconscious is straining to hear so I can picture the scenes.

One of us usually ends up in the living room because otherwise when I hear his alarm go off, I think:

“Is that the baby crying? Should I go make her a bottle? What time did she finally fall asleep last night? What’s the temperature supposed to be today? Is there frost on the table on the back deck? Because that means I have to start the car before we go anywhere. Why doesn’t my car starter ever work for me? I have to call about that. Did I remember to buy more sugar? I need light cream for the coffee too, did I get some at the store yesterday? It’s not half and half, is it? It really does taste different. Why is there only one grocery store that sells light cream, anyway? Bad Boys II so funny! Will Smith is so hot. The part where Mike and Marcus interrogate the daughters boyfriend is hysterical. That’s gonna be my husband with our daughter some day! That black Escalade they drive in the movie must burn so much gas! Im glad we have the Pilot. Have I had that thing maintenanced yet? It must need an oil change by now. I need to call Honda. I haven’t even used the car vacuum I got for Christmas! The car is a mess. Maybe I shouldn’t let the kids snack in the car. Those damn Puffs are all over the place. But they keep the kids quiet! Is it even safe to let them eat while I drive? I can’t really watch them, I’m driving! I should put the phone in the trunk while I drive so I’m not tempted to use it. But the kids like the music! It’s the only thing That keeps them quiet! They shouldn’t be using the phone. Too much screen time. They’re too little. Maybe I should get them their own tablets! No, that’s crazy. They need to be happy with books. I’ll get more books.”

Do they prescribe medication for this kind of crazy?

I’m gonna check.

Tonight I looked at her hands.

Every day seems like a race against the clock.

You wake up too early and once your feet hit the floor, it seems like you’re running.

I’m not a morning person, so when we do leave the house, I usually look like Charlize Theron….in Monster.

While other moms take the time to do their hair, makeup and attempt to look presentable, (even just to run errands and go to doctors appointments), I am usually loading the dishwasher and washing bottles because I was too tired to do it after dinner the night before and let’s face it, last night was a shit show of baths, crying, juggling diapers and then we all flopped into our respective beds or cribs one by one.

I’m not great at time management, so even if I have a couple hours to prepare for our exit, I seem to run around the house searching for keys, phone and stuffing our oversized diaper bag with unnecessary portions of formula and snacks until the very last second. And we’re still late.

So it’s of no surprise that by the end of the day I’m using borrowed time to return emails, reply to clients and set up appointments.

More often than not, these last minute responses are done in the dark using one hand to type and the other to balance a bottle and baby in the other.

I try to play catch up during the quiet moments.

But tonight, I just rocked her.

I purposefully left my phone behind so that when the moment came that I remembered to finally answer that text, I couldn’t.

I just fed my baby girl.

I admired her.

Her little chubby hand was holding one side of the bottle while I held the other.

She has little dimples where her knuckles will one day be, and then I started to wonder at what point my sons little finger dimples turned into knuckles.

I watched her drink her Bubba with her eyes closed. She was so peaceful and comfortable.

I could tell she felt safe and warm in my arms as her little head rested in between my elbow and chest.

Her little belly stuck out just a bit and her knees bent, curling into me.

I stroked her silky soft hair with its little cowlick in front (just like her brother and daddy have) and wondered if it would turn more blonde like mine as a baby or dark like my husband’s was (before he started shaving it all off).

If I weren’t such an anxious person, I swear I could’ve slept right there in that rocking chair with her all night long (or until she woke up again at 12:00 or 3:00, depending on her mood).

Those 20 minutes were priceless and they don’t last forever. My toddler requests his daddy at nighttime now, which leaves me free to not load the dishwasher and also feels a little like getting punched in the gut.

I cherish any time to rock my babies, especially when all else is quiet and I can put the recurring list of worries in my mind on hold for a moment.

I’ll have to remember to forget my phone in the living room again tomorrow.

But I’M the one who rocked you for 8 1/2 months!!

Okay, so we carry our babies in our bodies for 9 months or so. We decide where they go and what they do because they’re with us. Then we give birth to them (some of us for 26 hours, but who’s counting) and get to hold them, feed them, change their diapers and take care of them.

I was my son’s everything for the 1st 8 1/2 months of his life.

Maybe it was the postpartum anxiety or maybe he was just a fussy baby. Whatever the case, I held my baby constantly. People would joke all the time “Do you ever put him down?” No. The answer was “no”.

Because I held Chase so much and let him nap on me the majority of the time, he would scream when I put him in his crib to nap (even when I put him down completely asleep, he would instantly wake up and cry: even faking gagging on one special occasion), so I inevitably rocked him for the duration of his naps (even twice a day for sometimes 2 hours at a time) leaving virtually no time for myself, whatsoever.

I’m sure this is all my fault, but it was all well worth it because I hung the moon, in Chase’s eyes. I lit up a room. I was his sunshine on a cloudy day.

Until one day.

One day, when I was pregnant with our daughter and waddling around, after my husband had instilled in me that I needed to back off and allow him more time with our son so they could bond the way I had gotten to with him, Chase saw a lightbulb go off. His daddy was way cooler than his mommy.

His daddy was the one throwing him footballs and tackling him to the ground, setting up hockey nets and “body-checking” him while he wailed with laughter. Teaching him how to swing a bat and throw a cornhole bag. Watching Tom Brady on our flat screen wearing their matching Patriots jerseys and going out to use their leaf blowers together.

His daddy gets to actually WATCH a movie snuggled up to Chase while I might get a few minutes here and there in between laundry changes, diapers changes, bottle-washing and food prep.

When I try to snuggle up to Chase while he’s watching something, he gives me a second and then nudges me off!! Excuse me, kid?! I pushed you out of my body after carrying you inside of me for the better part of a year! I didn’t let your feet touch the ground until I finally put you down, like, yesterday! What the shit? I take you to the children’s museum and the playground, we go wild strawberry picking and collect shells from the beach (some of which I kept for you in a little box, by the way)!

I knew this day was coming. I knew I wouldn’t be the only person who lit up Chase’s life forever, but I thought it would last a little longer than 2 years! He’s still a baby!! Isn’t he supposed to love only ME for a little while longer??

Aren’t I supposed to be the one who makes him laugh all the time and gives the best hugs? Shouldn’t I be the one he comes running to for everything??

Sure, I’m still the one he prefers at bed-time and naps, and I’m still the one he comes to for cookie-making, when he’s hurt or sick or when he wants to do something like get up on his stool and use the sprayer to wash away glitter in the sink (something I do to keep him occupied while I get dinner ready) but I’m not the only ruler of this castle anymore. All of a sudden there’s a king by my side! With an even bigger throne!

Alas, I walked around with a smug look on my face and a false sense of security for too long. This little blue-eyed angel wouldn’t have me up on a pedestal forever.

Damn leaf blower.