Tuesday, 31 January 2017
Sleep (or not): an experience of powerlessness
At times like this, every single minute truly stretches. She doesn't fight, as such; she just lays there and stays awake. Counts her fingers. Plays with her lips. She doesn't try to get up but she's definitely awake and conscious.
And it's the most infuriating thing! Why? Because there is nothing, nothing whatsoever, that I can do to get her to go to sleep. She's not doing anything wrong. She even closes her eyes when I tell her to sleep now (for a moment or two).
Over the course of these long 2+ hours I go through a lot of approaches. None work. We start with breastfeeding, as usual; when one of us has had enough, she comes off and I'll cuddle her. That's when I expect her to go to sleep.
But no.... the fiddling, whispering, finger play - or, if I crack down on everything, simply laying there awake continues. And continues. She stops doing whatever it is when I tell her to stop, but starts up again a little later. And I get frustrated. Later I get angry. And I have shouted at her before, making her cry.
It's all because I'm powerless.
I can't make it happen.
I can't force her.
Maybe this is a taste of parenthood reality.... as a baby, I was in charge and if I wanted her to sleep, I'd put her in bed, feed, done. But babyhood is over and piece by piece, this small person is wrenching control of her life from my grasp.