A Sleep Conspiracy Against Me?
Four Years Worth Of Incomplete Sleep!
Do you ever have the feeling that the whole world is against you? I have this feeling that my whole family is against me! There are some nights when I simply cannot cope anymore...and it seems as though everyone is doing it on purpose to make sure I have as little sleep as is humanly possible!
I have a three year old, a two year old and another, far older child, who is actually my thirty-five year old partner. I play "musical beds" about three or four times a week and it is driving me insane. I seem to creep around the house at night, alone in the dark, trying my best to ensure that everyone else gets the best night's rest possible, but I'm starting to now get just a little bit fed up with it all, as WHO is actually looking after my sleep?
My partner works full time at an important IT job - he needs his sleep. My little boy, three, and girl, two, obviously need a good night's slumber too. No one told me that since having children, I would never, ever, be able to completely switch off to that lovely layer of luxurious sleep that I took for granted for thirty two years previously...now I hear, albeit at a unconcious level, every cough, sneeze, whimper and scream that my children emit during each and every night.
I have lost count of the times that I have been wrenched from my restful oblivion by the panic stricken cries of:
"Mummy! There's a man in a my room!"
"Mummy! I need a drink!"
"Look Mummy, sick!"
Bleary eyed, and struggling to function coherently at 2am in the morning is not the best way to rest yourself and prepare for the day ahead. When you have kids, you have wet beds, coughing attacks, fevers and a whole host of other issues to contend with which would be challenging enough to deal with in the cold light of day, but at night, it all begins to take its toll on your energy and you finally start to notice the grey hairs appearing round the edges of your hairline.
But this is all fine, as this is expected once you are parent. What I really, truly and absolutely cannot cope with is when everyone gets in sync to take their toll on me.
Child Number One will begin by calling out from his bed in the middle of the night saying he wants to get up and go downstairs. "No baby, it's nighttime, you cannot go downstairs" I explain, but howls and cries ensue, and finally, after a whispering campaign in the dark, he is persuaded he has to stay in bed and go back to sleep. Gratefully, I turn and slink back to my bed and slide in. Bliss.
I just begin to drift off, too tired to even begin dreaming, when Child Number Two begins crying. "Mummy! Mummy!" she shrieks. I fly out of bed immediately, the fear fresh in me that she will wake Child Number One again, and I rush into her. "Look Mummy, spiders in my bed!" she screams.
I feel her head; she is hot and feverish, so out comes the Calpol. I pull back all the bed covers and clearly show her there are no spiders there and it's all a bad dream. She finally settles and once again, I thankfully clamber into my bed, trying not to notice the clock which now reads 3am.
My partner turns over in his sleep, breathing slowly and steadily, completely, blissfully unaware of all this night activity that is taking place under his very roof. I turn to lie on my back, stretch out my toes and sigh with pleasure...back to the Land of Nod for me.
Except it's not. A loud, deep roaring noise, sounding somewhat like a motorbike, begins to wheeze and rattle next to me. And again. And again. My other half, snoring as loud as only he can. I grab the pillow and whack it over my head in frustration, hoping beyond hope that I can somehow block the sound out from my ears. It's not so much even the sound itself, it's the rhythm that gets me...that pause between one snore and the next...the knowing it's going to come...but the hope that maybe it's stopping...no, it's definitely not stopping as here it is again...argh! I try and head down the end of the bed to top and tail with my partner in the hope that the slight extra distance between his head and mine will somehow avert the power of his snores (this sometimes works) but no, it's no good. I have the vibrations in my head and I'm waiting, expecting the next snore, and boy, here it comes again. This is no good. I look at the clock - it's now 4.30am and I know Child One and Child Two without fail rise at 6.15am so it's off downstairs to the sofa for me to clutch onto the remains of shuteye that I can.
I creep down the stairs, which creak and whine in the dark. I try to stand on the edges of each step nearest the wall as I read in a book as a child that this stops the noise (doesn't seem to work though but I still do it!) as I really, really do not want to wake the children up again. At the bottom of the stairs, I stumble over a strewn toy and then collapse onto the sofa, grabbing a blanket that is left there for that very purpose, only to stab myself in the back with a tv remote control that has been discarded there from earlier. But I don't care! "At last!" I think, "Sleep!".
And I'm out like a light.
Suddenly, I'm awake and up like a jack-in-a-box. Heart thudding. Seriously loud wailing, screeching and banging has ripped me from having a conversation with an old friend in my dream and I'm ramrod straight, alert, what is that noise, what is that noise?
And do you know what? Even the extended family, the cat, is in on this game against me. Of all mornings to pick, he has decided to have a ruckus with the cat next door at our catflap and all kinds of alien howling and moaning sounds are kicking off.
It's a conspiracy, I tell thee.
© 2011 Earthy Mother