Monday, April 5, 2010

The Bad Night: A Meta-Analysis

Every so often, my son has a bad night. By "bad" I mean he wakes up at some ungodly hour between one and three in the morning and doesn't go back to sleep until five thirty or so. Last night, both my kids woke up at two, my daughter fell back asleep fairly quickly (with me by the bed), but Elliot, he was up until five thirty or six. The worst thing about these nights, besides my heart breaking for my son who really can't get back to sleep, is, of course, what happens in my brain.

Let's face it, if an adult is up and not working in the hours between one and five she should be making use of the city that never sleeps or doing something consenting with another adult, otherwise, her mind will go bananas. For me, if there's a stick in my craw at two AM, by four it's a tree branch, a sore at one thirty is an open wound by three. I know this isn't unusual, but that doesn't make it any more bearable.

Still, if you think about it, and in the wee hours of the morning I had plenty of time to think about it, the parade of horribles that sleepless nights evoke is boring. Last night I didn't exactly embrace the boringness of the parade, but I did repeat to myself, over and over, "My thoughts are going to be terrible. I'm going to think my life is in the toilet. That I'm such a pathetic loser. I may actually be a pathetic loser but I lose much more at three AM." Over and over again I reminded myself that the thoughts I was about to have were going to be bad and by anticipating them, I managed to cut them off. It was a good technique. Maybe not as good as my matzah brei technique, but still something I'll keep in mind for the next time I'm up involuntarily at four in the morning.


Nikki said...

I got the kindle for iPods app and am now reading my book while I feed Shayna etc. Books on tape are good too. Put only one ear bud in and pretend you are listening to your kid with the other ear. My iPod has SAVED my life.

Robin Aronson said...

I should try that. I listen to New Yorker fiction podcasts when I run, I should just try it in the middle of the night. Good to see you!