Hi!

I recently found your blog. I love your blog and read it all the time! Anwyay, you mention that you almost lost it due to sleep deprevation because your son Alex never slept. I felt like I almost lost it this week. I was not sure if I was depressed or sleep deprived. How could you tell the difference between needing medication or needing a good night’s sleep?

Signed,
Sleepy

One of the things that got me through the intolerable first year that was Alex’s life was remembering hearing that they used sleep deprivation as torture for POW’s in prisons. They’d let the prisoners go to sleep only to wake them up just as they drifted off to the land of nod, which, coincidentally, was EXACTLY what Alex did.

Every night for nearly a year straight.

(I also remember hearing that they used Britney Spears songs as torture, which I listen to voluntarily, but this is neither here nor there) (hey, you, laughing at me, BITE ME)(no, not you, Sleepy, I know you’re too tired to laugh)

By the end of that year, I will tell you now in a moment of uncharacteristic honesty, I nearly killed myself. I’m not saying this because I’m trying to be coy or tragically glib, or funny or cute or any other thing you can associate with that statement.

I’m saying it because I was so trapped by my life that I saw no other way out. I fantasized about killing myself.

With chronic sleep deprivation, the line between needing medication and needing a good nights sleep blurs very easily and getting meds for the wicked case of post-partum depression I was suffering from (Alex was a HORRIBLE, AWFUL baby. String me up from the rafters by my toenails for saying that motherhood was anything less than the best! thing! ever! but he was).

I urge you, my friend, to please talk to your doctor. If you feel like you’re losing it, it’s best that you two discuss it. Sleep deprivation is a motherfucker and trust me, even now, it plays with my emotions when I’ve not slept well.

I got help and I let Alex cry it out because you know what? No matter what, sacrificing my own life for my child’s temporary happiness really isn’t fair. Any way you cut it up, a dead mom doesn’t make anyone happy. Even the most attachment-y of the attachment parents can’t fault you there.

If they do, send them to me. I have a foot I’d like to connect with their ass.

Please, talk to your doctor. PLEASE.

Dear Aunt Becky;

Do I have to apologize after every hormone indunced mood swing outburst including the ones that don’t involve any physical threats?

Well, now, see I hail from the Midwest, and here, land of the Pillsbury Dough-Boy and the Pot Pie, we’re apologetic to a fault here. It’s obnoxious how apologetic we are. I almost want to apologize for it.

Let me give you an example.

Why don’t you step on my foot at the grocery store, okay? And watch ME fall all over my asshole self apologizing to you. It’s absurd. If it’s another Midwesterner, it’ll take twenty minutes, the two of us standing there going back and forth like a couple of old people,

“No, I’M sorry!!”

“No, see, it’s MY fault. I’m the one who clearly had the audacity to have the misfortune to have a foot in YOUR way.”

It’s fucking bullshit. I know.

Long story short: yeah, I’d apologize. Unless the motherfucker really deserved it. Then I would revel in my good fortune at being able to site premenstrual psychosis and milk it for all it’s worth.

Orange Flavored Hostess cupcakes??

I can only presume that my friend is both shocked and thrilled to find another lover of Orange Flavored Hostess Cupcakes, as we both know that I happen to consider them a Dream Food. My friend is aware, no doubt, as this has made my list of 100 boring ass things about me (see sidebar, if you have no idea what I’m talking about)(I’d link, but that seems to just give you guys dead links), coming in at #4:

4. I think Orange Flavored Hostess cupcakes are the best food in the world.

So, my new found friend, obvious Foodie and connoisseur of all things Plastic-Tasting And Dyed Orange, I’m thinking that you and I should form a Secret Society. Because there are not too many of us out there. Certainly, the people who prefer the CHOCOLATE version of this tasty treat are a dime a fucking dozen, but you and I, well, we’re in a league of our own.

Perhaps we can come up with a whimsical name like Secret Society Of People Who Love Hostess Orange Flavored Cupcakes and have meetings where we serve our delicious treats on sterling silver platters and write odes to our favorite snack foods in leather bound notebooks. We’d, of course, have to do it with fountain ink pens because, well, if one is writing an ode, it should be in fountain ink, don’t you agree, oh, wise friend of mine?

Of course you agree.

(note to self: buy fountain ink pen to write odes to Hostess Orange Flavored Cupcakes with new Best Friend and Secret Society Member).

Oh, this Secret Society is going to be delicious fun, my friend. I can hardly wait for our first meeting! Why, I think we should kick it off with a rousing reading of the nutritional facts followed by maybe an impassioned dialogue of how it makes us feel to know that we cannot buy our treats at any store, but must resort to gas stations! Like commoners! THE SHAME OF IT ALL!!

Well, I can hardly wait to have our first meeting and exchanging of the keys. Trust me when I say that the honor is truly all mine.

———————

As always, questions may be submitted to Ask Aunt Becky through the link on the sidebar. Feel free to add your comments below, yo.

And, thank you genuinely to everyone who has helped me with voting for Mimi and my blog and has been graciously spreading the word. If you haven’t voted, and you want to, the links are on my sidebar.

I owe you. I mean that. Aunt Becky has got your back. I know you have mine.

Comments

comments

67 thoughts on “Go Ask Aunt Becky

  1. I love the advice that you gave the sleep deprived mom. If you feel it is to much for you…seek professional help! I haven’t reached that point yet…but it’s nice to know its there. (Dr’s in clean white rooms, with clean white coats, with handfuls of magical pills occupy most of my *short-lived* dreams…sigh)
    I have a 9 month old. He hasn’t slept for more than 3 hours at a time since he was born in January. NO I AM NOT KIDDING!! Which means…I haven’t slept for more than 3 hours at a time, either. He nurses every 3 hours! STILL!!
    We’ve done all the tricks. He power vomited the first 5 months of his life, so glad THAT is over! But everyone has advice and ways to get him to sleep for longer periods of time.
    (why yes, thank you all for all the helpful advice…)
    Everyone said, wait until he sits up, wait till he rolls over, wait till he stands, wait till he walks, feed him solid foods, sleep on his back, sleep on his stomach, sleep on a pillow, don’t sleep on a pillow, let him sleep with you, feed him meat, give him juice, give him a bottle, give him a pacifier, and on, and on…!!!!!
    One old lady told me once to keep him awake during the day. To tickle his feet and bounce him around, so he’d stay awake and then sleep for me at night. That’s what she did to her kids. (yes, I’m sure they are all wonderful people trying to cure cancer, or build a meth lab, whichever. With SUPER ticklish feet. Right.)
    My Mom fusses at me because I let him run me on HIS schedule. I need to make the schedule. (this was followed by…I never let YOU kids run my schedule!!)
    Can we all please get together and give these ladies a fucking medal?!? Or a cookie? Or a screen printed shirt with a picture of The.Awesome. on it?
    I have become accustomed to the lack of sleep. It’s kinda what we do around here. My husband helps, some. (and by some, I mean when he gets home I sometimes get a nap. He also doesn’t say anything if the house is destroyed. He also stays married to my grumpy ass.)
    I just stay focused on what kindergartner is up all night? Someday he’ll sleep for longer periods, right? RIGHT??? RIGHT?!?!?!?
    I just remember that all adults sleep different. My folks do. My husband and I do. The other kids do. The baby is just unique. Just like me. And you.
    Every kid and situation is different. I can hang with it now, because he is not a crying baby, and is always happy. He may wake up every 3 hours….but he does it with a smile on his little face!
    …to ALL the Moms and Dads out there….
    YOU ARE DOING IT RIGHT!! THERE IS NO SECRET! YOU ARE DOING THE BEST YOU CAN…NO ONE KNOWS YOUR BABY LIKE YOU DO. YES. HUG YOURSELF!! YOU.ARE.AMAZING. AMAZING! :o)
    Everybody else can suck it.

    Aunt Becky, let’s totally make out. Right after my nap.

    1. That first year, I still don’t know how I made it. Genuinely. Spit and duct tape and determination.

      This is how I comforted myself (Alex got me up every 1-3 hours every.fucking.night): when he turned 16, he wouldn’t want me to cuddle him every night. Eventually, I’d sleep again.

      Now that I’m screwing with sleeping arrangements, I’m back to square one (also: shoot me)(no, please do) but I’m remembering those words again.

      Good luck. Remember that it ends. If you let your baby cry it out, it’s okay, you’re not an asshole. Screw anyone who tells you otherwise. You need sleep.

  2. aunt becky, you so totally rock!
    I have not found a better way to explain why my babies slept seperately from me (so i could get some sleep). But you said it all, a dead mommmy makes no one happy.

    well said.

    and i love the orange cupcakes too. maybe there’s a corollation.

  3. Like ohmigod! I haven’t thought about orange flavored cupcakes in YEARS! But they were my favorite as a kid. We lived near a hostess bakery outlet…need I say more? I had no idea they still made them….maybe THIS is the key to all that is missing in my adult life!

  4. I too used to love the orange flavored Hostess cupcakes. That is until I became a vegetarian and cut out all things made with beef fat. Turns out that also wipes out every other sweet treat made by Hostess. I do miss them though.

    You should take the kids on a field trip to the Hostess outlet store by ECC. Its a little slice of Hostess Heaven

  5. Well dammit, I had just started losing some weight (ok, I had a virus, but the numbers on the scale went DOWN!!!!!) and now I want to go to my nearest gas station and find me some orange cupcake heaven. Yes, I too am one of those people. Good thing I’m just too freakin tired (or lazy) to get in the car and go get some. 🙂

  6. I must admit I’ve never had the orange flavored cupcake thingy. But next time I fill the gas tank, I’m totally checking them out.

    And sleep deprivation? We had it here for like 3 years when our lad was little. It’s the reason we never had another child. Awful.

  7. Another reason I know we were separated at birth! Orange Hostess Cupcakes, simply put the awesome in awesomeness.

    Back in the day, before I was *ahem* a responsible adult, me and best girlfriends used to spend EVERY weekend of the summer at the lake. We’d stay in an el-cheapo motel near where all of our guy friends were camping, because everybody knows camping in a tent blows.

    The owner knew us and didn’t care too much about our binge drinking (I mean serious binge drinking with beer funnels and GALLONS of tequila). All he asked was that we put the beer cans in a separate trash bag to be recycled. That doesn’t seem like too much to ask, unless of course you have been binge drinking!

    I’d always eat an orange cupcake at around 4AM before we passed smooth out, but one night it didn’t sit so well, and you guessed it – I puked the OHC right on up in the beer can bag. Passed out and forgot all about it.

    The next morning we’d all gotten into our cute bathing suits and sunglasses and were headed down to the boat, when the owner stopped us and asked us who had eaten something toxic the night before. Apparently, OHC come back up in a sort of nuclear glowing type way… which just makes them even more awesome ; )

    1. That stuff has got to be filled with so much preservative-laden garbage. DELICIOUS, preservative-laden garbage! That’s a great story! I can only imagine how nuclear it looked coming back up.

  8. I just read your entire blog. Yep, that’s right, all 645 years worth of posts. Let’s not talk about my need to get a life. I may be in love with you. You made me spit coffee through my nose onto my laptop. YOU ROCK!!!

    Dual Mom

    1. I am totally ashamed of my old posts and should probably burn my archives. I am so, SO SO SO SORRY. I feel like I should buy you something now to make up for that.

      Also, now I will totally be checking out your blog.

      1. Well if you really feel the burning desire to buy me something, I like shoes.

        Seriously, it was a great read. I laughed, I cried, at times I wanted to crap my pants laughing (as opposed to pissing them). The post about your reaction to yeast infection cream-priceless, absolutely priceless.

        I also voted for you on the Caroline thingy blog whatchamacallit. I could do a cheer if you’d like? No? Okay we won’t go there.

  9. Aunt Becky, thank you so much for your response to the first question! I went through so many sleepless nights with my boy that I really did think I was going to hurt myself. He was an AWFUL baby (which transcends into an outstanding toddler by the way), and I had noone to help me. And I was only 22, and I think my mom thought I was just being a whiny brat. So thank you, everyone needs to know that they CAN get help without feeling guilty about it!

    1. Alex is one of the kindest, sweetest people I know…NOW. I never had the urges to hurt him, thank GOD, but between he and Ben, who was another really awful baby, I was just a wreck and no one could help. Post partum depression, I don’t know if it was even so mild. I was just adrift. At sea.

      I got help. He cried it out. We lived. All of us.

      Makes me SO MAD when people scream at other people about crying it out, because sometimes? That’s better than beating yourself or your child.

      xoxo.

      Glad we both made it through to the other side.

      Sleepy, it gets better.

  10. I just came across your blog and I already love it. Especially when I read that you love orange flavored cupcakes. I thought I was the only one! I secretly buy them and eat when I’m feeling down and need to feel better. They work every time. I look forward to reading more from you.

  11. Thank you SO MUCH for writing about sleep deprivation. In the past eight months I have not slept more than about 90 minutes at a time and I am losing my mind (evidenced by the Halloween costumes I made for Oscar and me). I am planning on night weaning him soon, because I can no longer take it. What really sucks is that I couldn’t sleep during pregnancy either, due to severe acid reflux. So my sleep deprivation really goes back almost a year and a half. Sigh. I’m glad to hear you survived. How are things going with Amelia’s sleep?

    1. I didn’t sleep when I was pregnant with Alex either, so you’re describing exactly what my life was like. Hang in there, love. It gets better, I promise. You ARE losing your mind, but you’ll get it back.

      I weaned Alex and he slept through the night after a couple of rough nights. He didn’t really ever get too indignant about it, truthfully.

      This too, like everything will pass and eventually you’ll sleep again. Promise.

      Then you will do something stupid, like me, and have another baby and when you decide that baby #3 (who is another shitty sleeper) needs Alex’s bedroom, you will put the boys together. Alex will then decide that this is a novel concept and try and get his brother to PLAY with him all.night.long.

      So, my friend, I am back in your shoes once more.

      Hang in there.

      *hugs*

  12. You were a single mom, too, right? I am a single mom. Your advise is awesome. My baby is 16 now, but I remember being at work after being up since 4 AM, because the baby was crying and somebody at work I hardly knew said ‘You don’t look like you have been up since 4’ and I nearly hugged her – she was a big-wig manager, so I restrained myself.

    OHC sounds TERRIBLE. I hate sweet orange flavoured things – like you hate banana flavour.

    But, I love you.

    1. My first baby was Ben, and yes, I was a single mom as well and OH, he was another beastly baby just like yours. Night after night he was up, screaming and angry and it was agony. I wish I’d known that other people were out there who’d been in this position back then.

      I think you showed remarkable restraint by not hugging her. I probably would have sobbed onto her!

  13. Sorry, but those orange things sound gross! I’m more a Devil Dog, Ring Ding kinda gal. Oh, and I had Almond Joys for breakfast today. Can I still join or do I have to seek out my own kind?

  14. This comment is for SLEEPY. I hope you listen to Aunt Becky and talk to your Dr. Hey, you can even talk to Aunt Becky further if need be. She has listed numerous ways to contact her. So many of us have experienced this horrific side effect of new motherhood. Why suffer when there is help out there.

    Now, what the fuckity fuck is all the hub bub about orange cupcakes?

  15. One of the best things I did for myself when I was sleep deprived from my second born (damn that GERD) was take my mother up on her offer to watch my daughter one night around 7 months old……that ONE night of real sleep did me a world of good. Of course I felt guilty because I had never been a night away from my first born UNTIL the birth of my second kiddo….but sometimes I think the best thing you can do for yourself is let someone help you. I didnt breastfeed— so I know that would complicate things, but if you could pump or something and have a friend or relative willing to help….I would jump on it.

  16. Lots of sympathy for Sleepy. My son was a horrible sleeper, between needing to be held 24/7 to having GERD. By the time he was 7 months, I was really ready to take a long walk off a short pier. His GERD was gone, thank goodness, so I could do a little bit of cry-it-out because he was obviously no longer in physical pain. The book “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Baby” saved my life!!! Once he learned to fall asleep on his own, life got MUCH, MUCH better for my son, myself, and my hubby. Good luck!

  17. I hate people who are convinced they are the only ones who are right about whatever the hell it is they think they are right about. There is NOTHING wrong with letting a baby cry if there is absolutely nothing wrong than they are being an asshole. Yup, I said it, babies can be assholes. (Then again, I introduce one of my daughters as “This is Big Z, don’t mind her, she’s a bitch”…)

    Teaching a baby to put themselves to sleep is not going to scar them for life. They aren’t going to grow up to be criminals because mommy figured out that if she didn’t sleep she would go a little Girl, Interrupted.

    Whatever system people find that keeps them healthy and sane (and ALIVE in some cases) is what they need to do. Have I mentioned lately I hate people?

    And now that you mention it, I don’t think I’ve ever eaten an orange Hostess cupcake…

  18. Orange flavored hostess cupcakes rock my world! They are heaven’s most perfect food and I am pretty sure that when angels poop, they poop orange hostess cupcakes. See, that was a disgusting visual and I would still tear through a pile of those like a buzz saw.

  19. I have never heard of orage flavored Hostess cupcakes (ducks). But I will keep an eye out for them now and I will have to give them a try.

    You have also scared the holy hell out of me and I have decided that this baby can now stay inside of me forever (not really) if he so desires because I really do love sleep. =(

  20. My son had colic for the first few months and screamed at the top of his lungs every night.
    So I truly understand………
    Of course, my poison was Reese Peanut Butter Cups. Chocolate gave me comfort………..and 20 pounds!

  21. I’m sure there are a few single women who have no choice. I’m not looking for a pat on the back or anything but did the Men and I use that term loosely who helped create these screaming bundles of madness not take any part in helping? I know for us if and when my wife could pump enough breast milk to get ahead of the eating, pooping, screaming machine called the Baby. There would be entire nights where it was my night. She would go sleep on the couch or I would, and It would be the others responsibility to getup feed, change, and comfort the demon child. That way one of us would get a full nights sleep. Even with a full night sleep occasionally it still did feel like we were being tortured. It is also why we ended up switching to formula since we couldn’t take the every 2-3 hours of wanting food, where with formula he started going longer and longer between feedings until you have what we had last night. A full uninterrupted nights sleep for the both of us. It also made my wife feel less like a lactating machine and more like a Mom again. Since I could fix a formula bottle if there wasn’t any extra breast milk. Granted this has only been the second or third one we have had but only getting up even just once a night has been such a relief compared to the hell we had of every 3 hours.

    Also any future moms who read this please send your Men responsible to daddy boot camp if its offered in your area. http://www.bootcampfornewdads.org/ Part of what is covered is how it is the Man’s responsibility to help women can not do this by themselves just as they did not get pregnant by themselves, along with how to even take care of a baby. Since many men have not even picked up or changed a baby prior to that class. It is also ok for previous dad’s who need a refresher like the guy who’s youngest was 16 and was expecting a new arrival and knew things have changed since he last had to change diapers etc.

  22. Aunt Becky, thank you for the great response to Sleepy! When I was pregnant with #3, it happened that at the same time, I had to find a new psychiatrist. And she started out asking me about my pregnancy, about my feelings about it, asking for example if I was excited or if I felt like this was a little parasite trying to take over my body and my life. And I think I sobbed. The pregnancy was a surprise, and I was terrified to admit that I was anything less than ecstatic all the time. But getting permission to admit that I was sometimes ambivalent, that I was scared of my feelings about it, made me feel so much better! She rattled off a list of resources, for during my pregnancy and afterward, including herself and emergency services if I needed them. And it was all in a tone that said, “Things happen. Get help if you need it. Not because you’re failing but because sometimes everyone needs help.”

    Sleep deprivation, along with all the other challenges of being a new parent, can take your brain to places you never imagined. Everyone should know that asking for help (or doing what’s necessary for your family’s well being, like letting the baby cry it out) is a good thing, not a statement that you can’t make it. I love that baby girl now more than I ever could have imagined at that time, and I know you feel that way about your monster babies. But sometimes you need help to get through the horrible time to the part where you can appreciate them again.

  23. OMG. I apologize and say thank you so much that I nauseate myself. I also say, “excuse me” about every ten minutes. Damn Indiana upbringing. People out here in California look at me like I need to be institutionalized.

  24. Thanks for that awesome answer! You know, it’s good to hear that someone else feels that sleeping seperate and crying it out is OK. Sometimes I feel ashamed to admit that because I feel most of my friends would think I was a cold-hearted bitch. It makes me feel like I am not such a selfish mom because I need my rest and I think it’s important they learn to sleep indepedently as well.

    1. I think what works for one person doesn’t always work for another and so often people lose sight of that in parenthood. It’s sad, because them we end up hurting each other by criticizing our choices, when really, it’s all about getting through the day (or night).

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