Saturday, February 7, 2009

My Daughter Is Like The Stock Market

You know those graphs you see of the stock market, where they are generally moving in one direction over the course of several months, but there are peaks and valleys along the way? That's kind of the way Stella Rae is with sleep.

Generally, and we know this, things are headed in a more positive direction. Most nights she sleeps reasonably well. We've certainly experienced a world of difference from when she was first born, through when she was three months old. In that time, as I've no doubt noted before, she slept very little, cried a lot, and was so sensitive to every single sound, or source of light. Needless to say our first three months with her were pretty tough, even in comparison to the ride most new parents get. Or so I've been told by many parents I've gotten to know. Including, natch, MY parents.

But over time things have gotten better, slowly. It's changed as she's changed, invisibly to the naked eye, but subtly. There wasn't a day that all of a sudden hit and Stella Rae was sleeping more. It took months for her to adjust to this cold, cruel world. Still, over an enormous amount of time it seems like she'd finally started to get there.

Then about three weeks ago something akin to a miracle, at least in our eyes, took place. She started to nearly sleep through the night. I mean, we were dumbstruck! We didn't know what to do with our newly rested and recharged batteries. You'd think with all this extra energy we'd have written the great American novel, or at least novella, or at least website, but no, we didn't really. As hard as it is for us to adjust to no sleep, we adjusted back to more or less regular sleep all too quickly. Then if we ONLY got six hours a night, we were suddenly groggy. Just as water fits its container, our sleepiness seemed to adjust to however much sleep we received. In other words we remained sleepy, despite getting normal hours in.

Soon we were shuffling blindly for coffee, as always. Bumping around. And it's not like I got into work all that much earlier, either. Or was all that much more productive at work. I guess I was back to being me.

But there were a few changes that we couldn't help but notice. We became much nicer to one another, Randi and myself. And Stella would wake up with a smile. It was all quite pleasant.

Then, like the stock market, there was a sudden, sharp and unexpected downturn about two weeks ago. Stella started to wake up multiple times a night, again, and for no good reason. Then it would take, once more, hours to get her calm enough to get back into her crib.

I developed new strategies out of necessity. I went back to holding her for what seems like hours, until she collapsed on my shoulder. Randi once again had to become Iron Tit McGraw, allowing the Brooklyn Baby to chew on her sensitive bits for way too long in order to get pacified. Sometimes I would sit with her in the middle of the night on the couch, with all the lights off, just sitting there. Eventually, party animal that I am, I would wear her out this way. I also started to take her to the rocking chair in the middle of the night, too, and do the same thing.

So, this is where we are. Our daughter might or might not wake up. We may or may not be able to get her back to sleep. None of it really makes any sense. Our hour long bed-time ritual sometimes works, sometimes doesn't. Overall the trend is positive, and if you could buy futures in whether Stella will likely sleep more four months from now I would recommend it. It might not pan out, but it probably will. I think our personal stock market of sleep really bottomed out about six months ago, but maybe there is another huge crash coming. We will have to find out.

Unlike the real stock market, though, if we put our resources into making this situation better we at least have a reasonable feeling that our investment --in this case an investment of time -- will be justified. That's more than I can say to the investments I've made in the actual market. And you can't hug the actual stock market, although sometimes Stella Rae isn't all that keen on being hugged anyway.

I am going long on Stella Rae, though. I think this one will finally pay off, although I hope it's before I'm ready to retire.

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