I don’t know why I set my parenting expectations so high. In college I was in a sorority and our motto was, “Aim High” so maybe that’s stuck with me. But somehow, every morning, it comes as a huge surprise that I did not get an uninterrupted night of sleep. I have three children under five, one of which is a baby, of course I’m not sleeping. But, as it turns out, the baby is the least of my issues.
I could not have imagined the amount of problems that two preschool children can have in the span of a ten-hour’s night sleep. From bathroom debacles to fear of monsters, itchy clothing to “daymares,” the creativity of excuses and issues and reasons to be anything-but-sleeping is impressive. And obnoxious. Life with kids, amiright?
Me: “Get. Into. Bed.”
Son: “My bed is too cozy.”
Me: “It’s supposed to be cozy.”
Son: “My bed is too warm/cold/big/small.”
Me: “Sleep on the floor.”
Or my favorite…
Son: “I’m scared.”
Me: “Of what?”
Son: “That.” Points into his room at nothing in particular.
Me: “Of what?”
Son: “THAT.” Continues pointing. At nothing.
Me: Sighs. “Can you use your words to describe what it looks like?” I know where this is going.
Son: “Like, a THING.”
Me: “Is the thing invisible?” Ok I can work with ghosts.
Son: “No mommy, it’s over THERE.” Frustration is building. He walks over and points to a chair. Or a window. Or dresser. Or some other totally inanimate and not-scary object in his room.
Or I pretend to search the room for this “thing” and wave my arm around like a wand, ooing and ahhing. I’m not sure if this is an exorcism or if I’m supposed to be “catching” the unidentified thing or blasting it to outer space so I’m doing it all in the hopes that one of them will be sufficient to quell the kid’s fears enough to go the f*ck to sleep.
I manage to get them back into bed only to hear footsteps padding down the hall seven seconds after my head hits the pillow. Is it just me or can you actually feel the change in air pressure as a sleepless child moves through the house at an ungodly hour of the night? I definitely can. This is every damn night in my house with one or the other! The third one can’t walk yet, thank GOD.
Sometimes they manage to silently creep into my room during the night, awakening me with a swift heel kick to the face (because mine like to sleep “upside down” with their feet next to my head). I always struggle with this one because, technically they are quiet and sleeping so why would I mess with this perfection? It doesn’t matter if they are sleeping in my bed, hogging my covers and pillow? Right? There is QUIET and STILLNESS! LET. IT. BE. RENATA.
But if I actually want to sleep, I have to move them. This is the point in the night where I elbow the husband to make him move the culprit. That is usually a mistake because he always “accidentally” clips an ankle or bonks a head in the doorway as he’s carrying them out. This inevitably wakes the sleeping giant of a preschooler who starts RAGING because (1) they were just woken up with a wall whack to the head and (2) they are being relocated back to their previously mentioned not-cozy-way-too-cozy-bed. They are pissed.
So sometimes just leaving them in your bed is the best option. That, of course, leaves you with like a millimeter of bed. And forget about a blanket. I GAVE BIRTH TO YOU UNGRATEFUL WILD ANIMALS, I DESERVE MORE RESPECT! So, I do what any self-respecting mother does, heads to their room to get into their empty bed.
This is also generally not a good idea as I always wake up with a sore, stiff back covered by a flimsy dinosaur blanket that manage to only cover my midsection leaving me cold as shit. And, actually, now that I think about it, those mattresses are not very cozy. Thanks to my husband and his “all natural bed” preferences, the kids are basically sleeping on concrete slabs. Hmmm, I may have just discovered the solution to all of my problems here.
Other parents were not kidding when they said “get some sleep,” before I had kids. Newborn life is rough, sure, but who knew that it was going to be at least a decade before I saw a solid night of sleep again!? THAT’S what they were trying to warn me about.
I suppose until then I’ll be catching up with power naps in the Target parking lot while waiting for pick up. Mom so hard. Sleep tight comrades.