Friday, October 26, 2012

Things That Go Bump in the Night

The Grape sleepwalks.

It's kind of a nightmare. Not for him; he's not the least bit terrified of his nocturnal sojourns around the apartment. It's a nightmare for the rest of us. Every night for several weeks, R. and I have woken, multiple times most nights, to calls of "Stuck! Stuck!"

The Grape may not be awake, but once he's marched himself into a corner, or into the bathtub, or face first into an armchair, he's coherent enough to realize his pickle (at least subconsciously). We bolt to his side, marvel ("He really is asleep!?"), and steer the somnolent Grape back to bed, where if we're lucky, he remains until daybreak.

I understand sleep walking is a phase, it's not all that rare, and there's nothing to be done. We need to wait it out and hope it stops.

"When?" I asked the pediatrician this week.

"Usually by high school," she says, with a smile somewhere between encouraging and mocking.


Note to self: Stop talking about sacking the doctor and get it done already.

We've taken all the well-duh actions other parents ask us if we've considered. When the Grape took his second nighttime stroll, R. and I realized we didn't dream the first sleep walking incident. Our apartment is now Fort Knox. The Grape may wander, but he's not getting as far as the great outdoors. Or even the building's common hallway. We installed a really noisy knob on his door. If he leaves the bedroom, we hear him well before he can pitch himself down the stairs.

The animals get into the act, too.

Lucy the Kitten takes the Grape's sleep walking as some kind of secret signal to rouse herself and transform into Crazy Cat, a wild-eyed maniac who charges up and down the stairs like her life might depend on making maximum noise. Lila the Dog reluctantly hauls herself from bed and paces the hallway, panting and fretting over her charge. The Grape maybe oblivious to his unnerving behavior, but he's giving the rest of us agita.

The main issue with the Grape's sleep walking isn't that we need to shepherd him back to bed, or that we need to calm the menagerie after doing so. It's that I'm a lousy sleeper, and have been my entire adult life.

Once I'm up, I'm awake, whether it's a civilized hour or not.

I seethe in jealousy of those people who can pass out as soon as their heads hit pillows. The ones who can deal with a minor interruption and return to bed to wake rested and ready to rock. It's so bad that if I could magically change one thing about myself, I wouldn't wish for less belly or more height, less angst or more charm.

I'd use my wish to turn myself into a good sleeper. Or better: I'd morph into one of those rarified creatures who thrives on three or four hours a night.

Since the Grape's sleep walking phase started, I've averaged less than five hours a night—not nearly enough for my sleep dependent body. I feel like we have a newborn in the house, because I can't shake that bone tired feeling that affects everything in our day to day lives.

Chronic sleep deprivation makes me less  productive. I make sloppy mistakes and forget things. I have a shorter fuse and less enthusiasm. All of which feels even worse because we're completely in the dark as to when we might expect this latest little odyssey to end.

I'm hopeful (for no articulable reason) that one night in the very near future, the Grape will just stop strolling while a-snooze. Because the sunken eyed, dark circled ghoulish look I've been sporting goes out of fashion in under a week.

On that note, happy Halloween. May your little goblins not go bump in the night.

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