Saturday, January 30, 2010

Four in the Morning...

It's a cold and snowy day here in Raleigh, and I'm both loving and loathing it. On the one hand, OMGSNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW!!! On the other hand... I can't get the car out of the driveway (we're on a drastic slope lower than the road and I can't get the van up), everything's closed, I didn't do enough shopping this week so we're lacking a bit in variety, and also.... it's so cold :( And the carpet is wet because someone, or rather someones, keeps going outside to throw snowballs and then coming in and stamping around before taking their shoes off.

All in all, though, I'm enjoying the quiet peace this brings. And Paxton's head just about exploded. My four year old sounded like he had suddenly his puberty given how squeaky he got! Nik and I were both laughing and light hearted this morning, much more than normal, because it truly is awesome to be awakened and/or greeted by such exuberance. Also he slept till 5:30. Much better than 4am.

Which brings me to today's subject...


Four in the morning.

This time holds a few bizarre significances for me, and lately I've been thinking about them more frequently. Perhaps it's because I love to see connections and patterns where maybe there oughtn't be. Or, more likely, it's because I'm up at 4am with a little fusspot most mornings and in the 15 minutes or so between when I get out of bed and when I can actually focus my eyes enough to read a webpage I have some time to think.

Four am....

When I was a child I always had trouble sleeping.


I would lay in bed every night and stare at the ceiling. My screen name on most places, Ladyofmoonlight, is such half because a friend of mine was LordofStarlight and I'm not really original at all, but it's also because my constant companion as a child was the moonlight entering my bedroom window. I've always felt comfortable in the night by the light of the moon, and at the very least during those countless hours spent exhausted and trying to sleep I could always look at the pretty moonlight, slowly falling in love with the color blue (Thank Goodness I have boys... blue it is!).

When I was older I began to unravel the mystery surrounding my severely chronic insomnia. You see, as a teenager I would get to sleep quite late, even if I had to wake up by 6am the next morning. That's not abnormal, too, but I started to realize a theme. Some nights I could get to sleep by 2am, but on my worst nights, even when exhausted, I never felt sleepy until 4am. And then I was out like a light (yeah, for 2 hours... I lived on coffee).

I've been able to change my schedule, through a mix of medication, pattern, and simply bearing it. Part of the reason I can handle the sleeplessness of raising an infant is because I've been sleepless my whole life. Well, except for a couple of years there...

I worked for a year after college, but I was miserable. Nik made me promise that if he could find a job that would support both of us I would quit and take some time off. It was supposed to be temporary. I haven't worked out of the house since then.

And then the sleep thing... I felt bad. I wanted to be awake for Nik but very soon I reverted back to my "teenager on a weekend" schedule, my true schedule. With nothing stopping me anymore I began to fall asleep at 4am. Every night. Nearly without fail. While I needed drugs to fall asleep at any other time, at 4am I was actually, honest to God sleepy. I could sleep! For the first time in my life! I got 8 hours straight like any old normal person! It was wonderful!!!

I've come to learn that this is called Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder, a lifelong and cureless condition that is simply worked with and not worked through. Ah well. Much better to know then to always hate on myself. I always wondered what was wrong with me, why I was so broken, what I was doing so dang wrong that I couldn't even sleep. Was I so broken a person that I couldn't even handle the most basic of abilities? Now, at least, I know.

I know that 4am is my magic time.

Too bad, though. Now it's wake up time :)

Before Ambrose came home, back when I started pumping, I used to wake up at 4am every day to pump. It was... bizarre. I'd take my pills (Benadryl then as I didn't know any better) and wake up at 4am, sometimes sleepy but often fully awake. I'd eat my oatmeal, take my pills and read fanfiction on my iPhone while pumping out a few ounces, then pack it up, wash my equipment and go back to bed where I'd eventually get back to sleep (usually) and wake up around 7. Four in the morning was both a hated time (I wanted to sleep dammit!) and a loved time (ah, peace and quiet, how I missed thee!).

After Ambrose came home, in fact, immediately after, Paxton began to wake up at 4am. Every day. Almost on the dot. It was hell.

He'd always been such a good sleeper, 3 hours in the afternoon and 10+ at night. Then suddenly... this. This 4am thing.

The time that had been "the middle of the night" only a couple months earlier was suddenly "morning!" It was... odd. To say the least.

We're still battling that one, still have some days of 4am rising. And here I used to witch and moan about 6:30 am being too early! I have to admit, everytime I see someone on a message board complain that their kid wakes up at 6 and it's "too early to even think straight!" I want to laugh. Try four am, hon.

I remember reading in Wuthering Heights, a book I didn't much like, that the characters rose for the day at 4 am. This made no sense to me, even with the knowledge that they were going to sleep when the sunlight disappeared. Somehow, I've been thinking about this lately, how that stuck with me because it seemed so bizarre, so out of the norm...

And I've been thinking about how much that single hour of the day has changed so much for me. From sleeptime to middle of the night to wake up time. Nearly every morning I'm out of bed between 4 and 4:30, taking Mr. Fussy downstairs to calm down so he doesn't wake his brother, getting him to sleep but then staying down here for good measure until Nik wakes up at 6 to take him. I dream of the day, post small-child, when I might at last be able to return to my normal schedule. Perhaps I'll take up poetry in my 50's and spend my evenings and late nights at jazz clubs and coffee houses, living in my normal time as set by my whacked up circadian rhythm. Something to aspire to, no?

And in the meantime I can also start to ruminate over the fact that just about every afternoon I check the time at 4:20 on the dot. Like, every day. And I've never smoked pot. I'm confused by this...

Now... back to watching Asian dramas on youtube :)

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