Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Sleep Deprived

Yesterday afternoon I Skyped for the last time with Erik before he comes home from his study abroad in Rostock, Germany. We talked about cars, classes and chairs (I’ve traded his desk chair for my new one which doesn’t have enough lumbar support) among other things.

“My days and nights aren’t mixed up anymore, mom,” he told me, which was a relief to hear.

Usually when we’re chatting via Skype it’s a perfectly civilized hour in the afternoon here and the wee hours of the morning there. Ever since he was a newborn, getting that boy to go to sleep has been a Herculean task.

The previous night I noticed he’d commented at about three a.m. German time on one of his stateside friend’s Facebook updates. I added my own comment: “Go to bed, Erik, and I’m taking your chair.”

My sister-in-law who just gave birth on the weekend told a friend of hers on FB that my new niece has her days and nights mixed up.

May the force be with her.

My teeny-tiny firstborn ate every two hours. I’d sit up in bed feeding him and squinting at reruns of Star Trek: The Next Generation because I was too tired to put my glasses on. For years after I harbored a strong attraction to Patrick Stewart, who played Captain Picard. He (Erik, not Jean Luc) got his first ear infection at seven weeks and that led to many a sleepless night.

One of my favorite pictures of my husband and me was taken on our tenth anniversary, with the towering San Francisco Peaks looming in the background. We were headed out to a late dinner and show to celebrate. We knew we were in trouble when we got home about midnight, and our wonderful babysitter, Andrea, was pushing Erik in the stroller.

For the next several months, we averaged about three hours of sleep a night while ear infections raged. Finally he got tubes put in, and the ears cleared up.

Over the years, Erik’s sleep habits alternately improved and worsened.

By contrast his younger brother, Andrew, was a much better sleeper as a baby. There was the week he was one and his daddy was off researching forest fire reporting in Colorado. Andrew stood and screamed every night in his crib. The only one having night terrors was me!

I come from a long line of night owls. My Grandma Rock would stay up til the wee hours of the morning knitting and watching television. My mom likes to stay up late, and so do I.

So I guess Erik comes by this honestly.

For the last three weeks, my neighbor and I have been getting up to go to daily 5:45 a.m. exercise classes at the local Y. This, in addition to my regular walking routine and foregoing French Fries, donuts, and other fattening goodies, makes me hopeful I can lose the “Erik goes to Germany again” pounds and make my fifties fit.

The only problem is I just can’t get to bed early enough to avoid being a zombie at Zumba….

Last night was particularly bad. I couldn’t get to sleep. When I did I tossed and turned, suffered an excruciating foot cramp and looked constantly at the cell phone to check the time.

Today I got a FB message from Erik’s girlfriend, Morgan. I’d asked how school was. She told me and said she was talking to Erik at that moment. Apparently he was in Berlin (his trip home takes him from Rostock to Berlin to London to Chicago to Omaha to Kearney…whew!) but he’d had a rough time getting out of Rostock, whether snow or transportation issues I don’t know. He was going to be in touch with us only if anything changed schedule-wise on his trip.

His father assures me I’ll start sleeping through the night again when Erik is home.

If not, I’m gonna go back to watching reruns of Star Trek: TNG.

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