Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sleep, Glorious Sleep!

I am officially functioning on a full night of sleep today. It's amazing to me what a difference something as seemingly benign as sleep makes. I am actually feeling moderately alive right now. I would even venture to say that I might just be experiencing a pinch of perkiness and a dash of optimim this morning, though I can't say for certain, as perkiness are optimism are not states of being I am altogether familiar with.

Two nights ago, I barely slept at all. Lucas was having difficulty going to sleep, so he went to bed with me in my bed. When Ruanita got home from work, she moved him to the chair in our room. Shortly after that, Sophie came and climbed up in between Ruanita and I and assumed her nightly thrashing ritual. A couple of hours later, Nicholas also climbed in bed between us. He is a silent, still sleeper. Nicholas alone is typically not an issue. However, Nicholas and Sophie are a deadly combination, simply because the of the amount of space they take up if nothing else. At about two o-clock in the morning, I tried to roll over only to find that my back had become so incredibly enthralled in a spasm that I was unable to move. At that point, I had had enough.

I carried Sophie back down to her bed, despite her whines and protests. I laid in her uncomfortable little twin bed, wide awake, for about half an hour until I was pretty certain she was fast asleep. I then slowly inched my way out of her bed....not an easy or attractive task with the protective rails on both sides of her bed. I climbed the stairs to my room and once again climbed into my bed. The number of people in my bedroom had been reduced from five to a moderately better four. Of course, that was not to last. Within about forty-five, Sophie was back in our bed. I was so exhausted at that point that I simply did not have the fortitude to trot her back downstairs. I admitted defeat and laid there, clinging to the edge of my bed, every muscle in my body convulsing with pain. I should have moved to one of the empty twin beds downstairs. However, I was tied to my alarm clock and the prospects of climbing under my bed to unplug it, carrying it downstairs, finding a place to plug it in, and resetting it were more than my feeble mind could handle at that moment. So I laid there watching Sophie turn left and right, her arms and legs flailing. I listened to her complain because Nicholas' beloved blankie was touching her head. I growled at her, "When four people are in a bed, they touch!" I laid there in a knot until my alarm clock went off at 5:30am. Immediately upon hearing the alarm, my cat jumped on my nightstand and scattered its contents, including my bedside lamp, to the floor. I rolled myself out of bed (literally, since my body would not assume a sitting position) and stumbled blindly downstairs to shower and start my day. Needless to say, I did not function at my highest level yesterday on a combined three (maybe four?) hours of sleep.

Last night, I decided things would be different. There was no way in hell I was going to endure another night of interrupted sleep. Ongoing lack of sleep was affecting my concentration. It was affecting my mood. It was affecting my appearance. I no longer wanted to be that crabby old haggard lady who couldn't even remember her children's names.

From the time I arrived home from work yesterday, I began prepping my children. I explained right away that we were all going to have an early bedtime. Despite their grumblings, I explained that mommy was going to die a slow painful death if I did not get some sleep soon. Not surprisingly, the thought of my arduous demise did not faze my children in the least little bit.

I made dinner early. Well, "made" is a bit of a strong word. I gave the kids a choice between cereal or hot dogs. I couldn't think straight enough to attempt anything that required more skill than boiling water or pouring dinner from a box. Sophie ate dry cereal for dinner. Nicholas and Lucas ate boiled hot dogs. I then allowed the kids to watch a video in the living room. At 6:30pm, I began dressing them in their pajamas. Thank you, Mother Nature, for allowing it to get dark so early this time of the year. And thank you, Lucas, for not quite grasping the concept of telling time, despite your teacher's best efforts. We skipped bedtime stories. By seven o'clock, I had all of my children tucked into their beds. Nicholas and Sophie fell asleep almost immediately. Proof positive, I believe, that they were as sleep-deprived as I was. Lucas read in his bed for quite a while. At eight o'clock, I told him it was "lights out" time. By 8:15, he was snoring loudly. I checked on all three kids, made sure they were sufficiently covered up, turned out the lights, and headed up to my bed. I had my pajamas on, my teeth brushed, my face washed, and was cozily cuddled under my blankets by 8:30. I awoke briefly when Ruanita came home at eleven o-'clock, but fell back to sleep fairly quickly.

Not a single child came to my bed last night. I slept through the entire night undisturbed. Almost nine hours of sleep. Is that even possible? When was the last time I got nine hours of sleep? Certainly it had to be before I had children. Perhaps putting the the kids to bed early is the key to a peaceful night's sleep? Perhaps I have discovered the secret to parental tranquility? Shangri-la. Or perhaps this is the often touted "fountain of youth?"

Then again, it was likely an anomoly. A fluke. As I said earlier, optimism isn't exactly my thing.


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