I feel like The Machinist but without all that great weight loss

I’ve been down the rabbit hole for a while now and I’m working on getting out. Things hit a very bad point last week after weeks of not sleeping plus all the other shit life can throw at you.  Max refuses to sleep, plain and simple. Sparky has been traveling or working so much that Max’s care rested solely on my shoulders and it finally caught up.

Me: I hate that the neighbors are playing that music so loud I can hear it through the three-foot brick walls.

Sparky:  Huh?

Me:  Don’t you hear that?  They play it just at that level that I can’t figure out what it is, just random music.

Sparky:  You hear it right now?

Me:  Yeah, I’ve been listening to it for the last week.  I think it’s the Belgians. The damn smoking Belgians.

Sparky, paying attention now: Huh.  Do you see shadows?

Me: I always see shadows. I think I just need a follow-up appointment from the Lasik.

Sparky:  OoooKaaaay.  You are getting sleep right now.  Jen, there isn’t any music.  The building is silent.

Me:  Shut up.  You can’t hear that?

Sparky: This is not good.  You are hallucinating.

Turns out, one needs sleep to function.  Sparky, being fully aware of how the brain functions, finally figured out that mine was not functioning the way it should. The next day he took Max and I slept for six hours straight. It was fabulous.  Then Max and I stayed up all night again and Sparky went back to work.

Do you see the problem?

We are working on the problem, but like with everything here, it’s a slow process.  It is in these moments I hate being here, I resent being in Krautland where I have no family and no immediate support system because my family is too far away.  It’s the worst part of being an expat.  I just need family to come over and take Max for a few hours so I can sleep.  Or to talk to me or to figure out that I’m slowly going mad from lack of sleep and utter isolation before the music starts playing in my head.

The day after that talk with Sparky I called my aunt.  She’ll be here December 1st. I just have to make it until then and she’ll be here and I can let go, without fear, for a few hours and finally fucking sleep.

We are interviewing nannies or babysitters or tagesmutters or whatever you call the lady that comes over two/three times a week to give me time. But again, that takes time.

Until then, I’m holding on.  Sparky is out-of-town again. Max is teething and vaccinations are tomorrow. I’m praying he sleeps for more than his usual 30 minute cycle tonight.  The good thing about vaccinations is that they make him tired.  He sleeps.  That’s the point I’ve gotten to, hoping vaccinations will make him tired enough so that I can get more than 30 minutes to 1 hour of sleep at a time.  Hoping that I can close my eyes long enough for them to stop burning before he wakes up again.

Just for the record, I have all the books from Dr. Sears to Ferber and all the books and theories in between. I’ve tried them all, but I can’t focus enough to get it right. He doesn’t co-sleep well, but he doesn’t sleep well in his crib.  He can’t self-soothe back to sleep and the one time I let him cry it out, he and I cried for three hours before I gave up. I just can’t figure it out in the state I’m in.  I just can’t do it alone.

Patti will be here in 2 weeks.  She calls me every day to tell me how many more days until she arrives.

That is what family is for.


17 thoughts on “I feel like The Machinist but without all that great weight loss

  1. Oh Jen, I know all too well. I would call you every day too, and maybe I do need to make that trip to Germany– for no reason other than to sip coffee and have someone to talk to too. Hugs my friend, hugs.

  2. Hey, I heard Napoleon (and possibly Lenin) couldn`t sleep for longer than 1 hour at a time either (even when he was grown-up). At least Max is in good company… Don`t know about their mothers and how they dealt with it. Hugs and kisses.

  3. I’m so sorry. I’m going through this too but it’s from a combination of things including the baby and not solely because of her. Hubby’s business trips are just about to kill me. Our whole family schedule is disrupted indefinitely.

    I’m not hearing the music but I do pick on Michael until he crawls away bleeding. I’m beginning to think if I ever actually got enough sleep I’d be a totally different person, not the cranky, b*tchy hag I’ve been for the last ten years.

  4. I’m glad that you have family help to look forward too. Here’s some things that worked for me, although all babies are totally different.1. Wlaking. Althogh T! got too heavy for that (and my back too weak). 2 Rocking to sleep in the glider. Then setting the glider back and letting her sleep on my chest. Only safe if you know, from having eg cats sleep on your chest, that you would be safe in that position. If not, slowly move to bed. I co-sleeping isn’t working, try the side sleeper and hold his hand, but 3) Nursing while sleeping is what saves the lives of exhausted women. Side nursing and really sleeping saved my life.

    And I still think ear plugs the best thing no one told me about having a colicky child: it hurts the brain less when muted- that’s if there’s some evening colick going along with the short sleep periods?

    Max looks great- is he undergoing a growth spurt?

  5. If you can at all afford it, I HIGHLY recommend an au pair. Generally a young girl who is either training to be a child care provider or just working a few years to make a bit of money before continuing her education. Most au pairs are in the house with the mother and serve as a “mother’s helper,” but may care for the child alone for short periods of time so the mother can run errands or whatever.

    We had one for several months when Nicholas was still an infant. She came 2-3 times per week for 3 hours during the morning. It gave me time to do laundry or run to the grocery store or SLEEP! It kept me sane, even when Fred was traveling for work. Now that we have Linnea, now 3 weeks old and only 13 months behind Nicholas, we are going to hire an au pair for 5 mornings a week until Linnea is old enough to be in the easier stage. Nicholas hit that stage at about 9-10 months old. Things just suddenly got much easier.

  6. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention…

    “The Sleepeasy Solution” was my Savior. I call it Baby Voodoo Magic. It’s that’s good. Nicholas went from only being able to sleep in my arms for all naps and all night long to happily sleeping on his own in the bed, through the night, in 3 days! Yes, you read that correctly. THREE DAYS!!! And with far less crying than even Elizabeth Pantley’s “No-Cry” Sleep Method.

    I purchased it through Amazon.de and even paid extra for the express shipping. It was worth every Euro. It saved my sanity. And my marriage.

    If you want a basic overview of the system, e-mail me at global underscore librarian at yahoo.com

  7. I’m an expat from the Bay Area to Massachusetts and it might as well be effin’ Germany. We got kid #1 to sleep by wheeling his bassinette into the bathroom and turning on the bathtub faucet full-blast. The white noise sent him off to dreamland.

    Also: food. Lots of rice cereal. (for him, not you)

  8. First – just keep hanging in and I know sometime it is a minute by minute. And right now that’s all I got. Your so tired that trying new things are just going to stress the two of you out. He will get bigger and he will sleep. But it is going to take time so just hang on until your family arrives and give Max to Sparky when he walks through the door and give yourself a break. Take care!

  9. Oh Jen!! I so hear you on this one!! Sleep, or lack of it, equals a whole different person. Remember that he won’t break – I had a hard time realizing that. And remember that if YOU are not happy, sane, and marginally well rested it’s hard to be a good mom. Sometimes your needs HAVE to come first – I struggled with that too. Hang in there. BIG hugs!

  10. @ tinakala>> “…good company” ??? what mother wants her kid to grow up to be Napolean (imperialist megalomaniac) or Lenin (at least two assassination attempts & died from a 3rd stroke @ age 53).

    hang in there babe. i have no specific advice to offer as M was so easy @ that age (sleeping through the night in his own crib @ just under 3 months; i know, i shouldn’t rub it in).

    looking forward to seeing you next month!

  11. Okay Jen…
    I’m a reading lurker with 3 (now) big kids.
    Here’s my 2 cents:
    *play one cd every time you put Max down-eventually he will begin to associate the music with quiet time or (better yet) sleep
    *definitely up the rice cereal, a full baby belly is a sleepy baby, it won’t hurt him-really it won’t!
    *lavender bedding spray…our youngest needed me to spray his pillow EVERY night when he was 3 or it was an up all night experience for us both
    *good for you calling your aunt! THAT was a very smart move!
    *i’m in heidelberg if i can help you at all 🙂
    take good care and keep counting down-we’re a week away from december!

  12. Oh, sweetie, I do feel for you. Been there, done that with SC.

    It will pass. Keep reminding yourself of that. It WILL pass.

    And in about 12-13 years while you’re trying to roust Max out of bed at noon, you will really remember this!

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