Sleeping (or not)

INTRO: Here is installment #2 in my “real life parenting” series. I draw crappy pictures because I don’t have actual photos of these experiences. Here goes… —————————————————— I’ve always been jealous of my husband’s ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. It isn’t his fault that he is a deep sleeper. But I can’t help it. It totally pisses me off. We climb in bed at 9:00PM… By 9:03 my husband is completely asleep. I’m nursing my youngest and haven’t even begun to think about sleeping yet. I lay there motionless, pretending to be calm and relaxed so he’ll fall asleep. Anyway, I’m cold since the blankets aren’t on my top half. So I pretend to be sleeping but really I’m going over the “to do” list or re-winding conversations from earlier. Or having pretend conversations that might happen in the future. On a good night the baby settles pretty fast. Finally, around 10:00PM he is asleep. Success! He rolls over and my body is my own for the first time all day. I can pull up the blankets a little. I close my eyes for real. Start to relax and let go… Until I hear a noise. Becoming a mama has given me heightened spidey senses. A tiny noise a mile away wakes me up like a mama bear, ready to protect her young. My husband did not inherit this quality with parenthood. Wide-eyed, I strain my ears to hear. This particular noise is one I’m all too familiar with. Enter 4.5 year old. I thought he was asleep by now. He has no concept of being quiet while people are sleeping, so he barges in loudly asking for random shit. I have to jump out of bed and rush him out of the room so he doesn’t wake the baby. This attempt is successful about 50% of the time. Lets assume it was successful tonight. So now I’m in the hallway, hearing my 4.5 year old’s demands and bargaining with him. Water, bathroom or covers on or off, etc. I have no real power here, I’ll agree to anything to get him back in bed quietly. When he has exhausted all the standard stuff, he finishes by needing to tell me something very important, like “I saw a rock today on the ground and it had dirt on it and I forgot to tell you! ” and I steer him back to his room. By the time I head back to my bed, the baby has turned into a starfish. Legs and arms stretched out, taking up my whole side of the bed. I slide next to and under him being careful not to wake him. I can’t move. I’m scared to breathe. This is a very delicate situation. I have to move him. I have to risk it. The first attempt to move him just makes it worse. He swings both arms and legs on top of me. He is stirring now so I can’t move a muscle. I’m like a statue while I listen to his breathing to hear when he is in a deep sleep again to move him. Finally, it is midnight and I’ve successfully moved him. I haven’t heard my 4.5 year old in a while so he must be asleep too. I fall asleep for the first time! Until I’m woken by a foot in my eye. I try to ignore it. A foot in the eye is a sign that he is starting to move into a lighter sleep. This means he’ll wake up completely to nurse soon. So we’re nursing again. I’m half asleep but not mostly just feel like a zombie. My mind wanders to weird stuff. I close my eyes and see flashes of people and places like a dream except I’m awake. Finally he settles again and rolls away. It is 2:30AM and I can finally get somereal sleep! It is very unlikely that either kid is going to wake me up again. Sweet sleeping bliss. Until the two cats come in at 5:00AM and announce that they are hungry. They continue make this announcement every 15 minutes or so. I ignore them. But they know. They know I’m their target. They know I’m awake no matter how hard I pretend. They finally settle on my feet so that they will be alerted the moment I stir. I get a few more minutes of sleep. Only to be woken at 7:00AM for a new day. My 4.5 year old skips into our room and gleefully sings, “Morning! It’s morning time!” Which wakes up the baby who replies with “Mownin!” Then they start jumping on our bed. Even this doesn’t wake up my husband. He is sound asleep. Sometimes I look at his chest rising and falling with his breath to confirm that he is alive before unleashing the kids on him. “Go see Papa” I grumble. They have to poke his head and repeat “Papa!” over and over and he finallywakes up. And what is the first thing out of his mouth? The one and only thing I DON’T want him to say? Grrrrrrrrrrrrr.

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