Monday, December 15, 2008

Like Kings

O glorious king- sized mattress,
How capably you hold us: husband, wife, son and daughter.
Husband, I know you are over there somewhere.
O, how I can stretch. O, I can roll over,too.
Sleep, delicious sleep.
Wonderous, glorious king- sized sleep.

That's right. After many brutal months of clinging like barnacles to a ship full of squirming bed pirates, we bought a KING SIZE mattress and box spring.

We braved pouring rain to drive to Rutherfordton, an hour from our home, to buy used mattresses. We hefted these mattresses (no small task) on top our minivan, again, in the pouring rain. We endured much vomiting and car sickness, crying and fussing. Was it worth it? Yes, oh yes.

For some time now, I have maintained a chipper front for family and friends. Secretly, I have been battling a quiet depression. The constant, grinding exhaustion has taken its toll. Having reached a place of desperation, I insisted that despite pouring rain, despite the distance and not having an adequate way to transport such a huge bed, despite not really having budgeted the money and only weeks before Christmas, that we had to buy this bed, NOW. It was the first I'd found anywhere in our price range.

Elijah has never, never slept well. I could tell you of stage after stage of various forms of dis-functional sleep that we have endured with him. He outgrows one torturous phase and promptly enters another one. Now, he thrashes and screams, he has nightmares, frequent night wakings, he sleep walks and talks. He begins every night in his own bed and at some point ends up in ours. At two years and 4 months old, he has only slept through the night a handful of times.*
*(And don't you for second believe that we have not read every book on the subject of children and sleep; that we have not tried every method known to modern moms; and frankly, that we have not spent many nights, weeping and crying out to the Lord: "Please! Help the child sleep!")

Adah, 5 months old, still nurses through the night. This alone wouldn't be terribly exhausting. So, not to be left out, she has her own special little way to deprive us of sleep. Mrs. Adah, as Elijah prefers to call her, enjoys waking in the middle of the night for long operatic whale-like singing sessions. Truly, she sounds like humpbacks in heat. OooooooOOOOOOOOoooooaaaaAAAAAAeeeeEEEEEEEEAAAaaa!
On and on she goes, sometimes for hours, wide awake.

Occasionally, they work in shifts: Elijah awake for two hours, then Adah for two. Crafty little dumplings.

Gabe and I, beat down, have consented to whatever arrangement allows us the most sleep. Having them in the bed with us gives us the most sleep. Until now, it was fitful, uncomfortable, four-people- in- a- full- sized- bed sleep... but at least we were lying down.

Our new bed has given me hope again; I'd even say life seems worth living once again. Melodramatic? Not in the least.

In the new bed, I can get into any position I want. We all have room to roll over, to curl our legs up to our chests or tuck our arms under our chins, even to sprawl a bit, if we choose. This is the answer to a thousand prayers. No more sleeping stick straight, arms above my head, because there are children glued to my warm middle. No more spending long hours with one side of my body asleep and numb, unable to roll over all night.

And unless we add a fifth or sixth person in the bed, I feel like life is worth living again because sleeping well is no longer a long lost dream.

***Special warm, gooey, gushing thanks to Gabe, who, without hesitation, found the money during a particularly tight month, to make this dream a reality. I love you!****


  1. Hi Liz....I don't want to invade your parenting, but as a person recently diagnosed with sleep apnea, I feel it is my right to diagnose everyone around me with sleep disorders. I can imagine that you and Gabe have done everything right as parents-- could the problem be that Elijah has sleep apnea, that he stops breathing, and thus wakes up? My dr. told me that she sometimes treats children. There are also other sleep disorders.....Just throwing out a random suggestion. I know how horrible it can be to sleep poorly!!

  2. Hi Liz! I can't remember if I commented on your blog before or not, but I'm Kelcey's friend from NH, and I found your blog through hers. I've been there with the sleep troubles and the space issue is a huge one! Our daughter now sleeps in her own bed (across the room) till about 5 am and then stumbles into ours, but we are remembering the rest of the time just how big a queen sized bed is! Blessings you and yours this sacred season.
    Caren in NH