There exists an extremely rare congenital condition called Fatal Familial Insomnia which, according to Wikipedia, is known to be carried in the bloodlines of just twenty-five families worldwide. The insidious and incurable disease progresses from insomnia to hallucinations, to an inability to sleep at all, to dementia, and finally death after less than a year. As someone who has considered putting “Sleeping” on my resume as a skill, Fatal Familial Insomnia is my ultimate nightmare. This is worse than any actual nightmare I’ve ever had, including the recurring dream I have about losing all my teeth (apparently, that’s a common one) and the living nightmare I have of not playing enough board games (much less common).
Life with Quinn as a baby (him, not me) was the typical sleep-deprived state, but there was always a light at the end of the tunnel. He could soothe himself to sleep with his fishy monitor at a fairly young age, he sucked his thumb, he had his little rabbit lovey that comforted him better than any of my silly songs or back rubs.
Life with Marshall has been a lot more stressful. Poor breathing and frequent hospital stays made any sleep training impossible, and until recently, the only way to soothe him back to sleep was through a combination of constant bum patting and bottles all through the night. Clearly, this was not a long-term solution to the restless nights. Bridget and I hit the breaking point more times than I can count, and were it not for my morning coffee, I’m not sure I could have functioned at work on a daily basis. My students joke that they can tell when the caffeine hits me because I go from Bela Lugosi in a coffin to Bobcat Goldthwaite right at 9:00 a.m.
Last night, like a perfect bridge in a Meatloaf song, paradise descended on our household (unfortunately, there was no dashboard light). When I woke up this morning at 6:00, with sounds of Marshall fussing through the baby monitor, I looked over at Bridget.
“I’ll get up with Marshall. How many times did you get up last night?”
“Get up? Not once.” Incredible. After he had a little crying fit at 9:00 last night, Marshall slept nine hours straight. Then, another question hit me.
“Wait a minute – what happened to Quinn? Where is he?” See, Quinn likes to crawl into our bed at night, usually some time around 2 or 3 a.m. We’ve stopped fighting it. Too tired to fight it. Also, he smells nice. Yet last night, in conjunction with Marshall’s greatest night of slumber, Quinn also slept through the night in his own room (not for the first time, mind you).
If you’re counting, that also means I got a good eight hours of sleep, uninterrupted. I feel like I’ve won the Powerball lottery, except at this point, the eight hours of sleep is a lot more helpful than one hundred million dollars.
I don’t believe much in luck, other than the time I wore the same underwear for every Denver Broncos game for a full season, but I’m going to have to buy a lottery ticket this week.