There are many things that I struggle to train my children to do, such as keeping what’s in their mouths hidden as they eat, keeping pain and insults directed at each other to a minimum and clearing up the trail of debris that invariably follows them wherever they go.
However, after months of perseverance, now when one of them wakes in the night, they always approach my husband.
There are a number of reasons for this:
a) My husband is not usually as bad tempered as me when he first wakes up.
b) He doesn’t look as scary when roused from a deep sleep.
c) I am better at pretending to be asleep.
d) I completely ignore all attempts at waking me up.
Genuinely, though, I have a very valid reason for not getting up with them, which is, if my husband attends to the children during the night, he can be back asleep before his head hits the pillow.
However, if I get up, that’s it for HOURS. Why? Because I choose 2.30am to put the world to rights, worry about things I can’t change and plan how I would spend my lottery winnings.
For example, our three year old wet the bed a couple of nights ago, so he came into our room to share the happy news. I heard the door open and was aware of a shaft of light shining in from the bathroom so I peeked out from under my pillow to see our three year old rubbing his eyes and holding his teddy, with a suspicious damp patch on his pyjama bottoms.
‘Daaaad!’ Good boy, I thought to myself, willing my husband to hear him. ‘Daaaad!’ (Getting louder). ‘DAAAAAD!’ (On the verge of waking up the rest of the household). Meanwhile I resolutely kept my head sandwiched between my two pillows, desperately wanting to kick my husband to wake him but having to restrain myself so I didn’t give away my state of full consciousness.
Eventually I felt the bed shift heavily as my husband reluctantly dragged himself to standing. I was immediately tempted to lie diagonally across his side of warm bed, but felt this might be a step too far, so I kept my breathing even and stayed lying on my left side to feign deep sleep (even though my leg was going numb) until they left the room…
…Only to be rudely ‘awakened’ seconds later by my husband asking me where the clean bedding was. Crap. I knew I should have left it somewhere more obvious than behind the cupboard door where it’s lived for the last decade.
Double crap. I had no choice, I was going to have to get up and help him to change the bed, now that my cover was blown.
After a zombie-like bed change, we both climbed back under the warm duvet when we had finished and, as predicted, my husband was gently snoring within seconds (the lucky sod).
Me? No such luck, ‘cos when my brain’s awake, so is my bladder, so I had a choice; walk into the blinding light of the bathroom or turn the light off and fumble around in the dark. So like a tired little moth (or a fuming harridan with bad hair), I was drawn to the light.
I also made the mistake of squinting at my watch to check the time, which I was once told wakes you up more because your brain has to compute the numbers.
2.30am. An hour passed as I tried to force myself back to sleep and stress about how tired I was going to be; not the best state of mind for R and R.
3.30am. Warm milk and a couple of chapters of my book.
4.30am. Alternating between thinking that at least I’d have something to blog about and wanting to sob into my pillow like a baby because I was so tired.
5.30am. Ah, peaceful, untroubled sleep at last, after tying myself in knots about just how much I’d need to financially sort out our close friends and family (I was struggling to make a million stretch far enough).
6.30am – ‘Muuuuuummm!’ Rise and bloody shine.
I know that sleep deprivation is a recognised form of torture, but does it still count if you inflict it on yourself? 🙂