My kids are 9 and 13; we are insanely busy but hey, there’s gotta be some sorta trade off. I don’t have to monitor my kids brushing their teeth, remind them to wash their hair in the shower or worry about interrupted sleep, right???
WRONG. Hence why I am writing this at 2:00 in the morning.
Yup. Good old 2 am. How you doing old friend? Haven’t seen much of you since I gave my life to fighting with my kids to do homework and not bringing their phones to the table. But lately, you’ve been visiting with me more and more…
I’m almost 100% my rekindled friendship with 2 am is largely in part of my kids sleeping until 11:00 every morning in the summer. Now as we are trying to wind down summer in preparation for school to start, they’re realizing…they’re not tired at 10 pm like they should be. Or 11 pm. Or like last night, 2 am. And somehow, that’s MY problem.
This is just not fair. My body is confused. It wants to go to sleep at 11, 11:30, the latest. And it does. Only to be jolted awake 3 and a half minutes later by the feeling that I’m being stared at.
I leap out of bed, certain there is an intruder in my house that I must kill with the Stephen King novel on my night stand. Instead, I find my 9 year old is standing there looking pathetic, pouty lip and all.
“Jesus! You’re gonna give me a heart attack doing that!” I scream at her, clutching my chest.
Her lip quivers and she starts to cry. Of course. It’s her favorite defensive play. It’ll work on some poor suspecting boy in the future, but I’m immune to it.
“I can’t sleep!”
“Of course you can’t sleep. You’re standing next to my bed. Go lay down and you’ll fall asleep.” Duh.
“I can’t sleep with HIS light on,” she informs me, jerking her head towards her brother’s room. His light is a blazing even though he was supposed to be asleep hours ago. I’m sure he is under his covers with his phone.
“Turn your light off!” I shout at him. He ignores me. He can’t fall asleep without his light on and I usually go on and on about the electric bill, but right now I have that heart palpitation thing going on from being woken up out of a sound sleep and I just don’t give a rat’s ass about the light. I just want to go to sleep.
“Put the eye mask over your eyes and you won’t see his light,” I tell her smartly.
“Can you lay with me?” She begs.
Yeah, yeah. I’m mean. But if I lay with her tonight, she will want me to lay with her tomorrow night, the following night, etc., etc. It will NEVER end.
“Puleeease…” She pulls out the lip again, but I’m burying my head under my pillow.
She storms off only to return 92 seconds later.
“I tried laying down. It didn’t help.”
“I doubt that highly. Try counting sheep.”
She wrinkles up her nose in disgust. “Why? That’s dumb.”
I agree. It IS dumb. But at…whatever time it is….I’m not thinking too clearly. I just want her to go away. I pat my husband’s side of the bed, hoping to wake him up so he can deal with this nonsense, but I find that his side of the bed is empty. Splendid!
“Hey, your father is still up…go bother him,” I tell the lip trembling kid who should have been asleep two hours ago.
“I don’t want him!!! I want youuuuuuuuuu!” she wails.
Of course. God forbid. The only time she ever wants him is when she is in the mood to share her ice cream or something fun. When she accepts her Academy Award she will probably thank him and leave me out.
“Please?” I beg. “Please, please, please!!!”
“I want you to lay with me!”
Just then, I hear the sound of banging coming from my teenager’s room. Exhausted, I haul myself out of bed to see what all the commotion is.
He is standing on his bed, bat poised over his head. Then, he smacks the wall with the bat.
“Hey! What the $&@*# are you doing???”
He doesn’t even look at me as he mutters, “This spider is like Iron Man or something. It refuses to die!”
“You’re trying to kill a spider with a bat?” What kind of sadist am I raising here? “Put the bat away and go to sleep!”
He shakes his head. “No can do. Can’t fall asleep with the spider here.”
Groaning, I trudge downstairs to locate the Killer of Spiders, Re-locator of All Things Scary and Gross…the hubby.
I find him in his man cave, head lolling to the side, drool pooling in the corner of his mouth. I unsympathetically kick the chair, jolting him awake.
“Huh…what? Where. When…..” He’s quite confused. I don’t care.
“Get up. The children won’t go to sleep again.”
He moans with annoyance and reluctantly follows me upstairs. Where the 9 year old is now painting her nails. At midnight.
“Why aren’t you sleeping?” He growls.
The lip starts to quiver. “I can’t sleep, Daddy….”
“I don’t care. Go to sleep.” He storms into the bedroom. I stare at him, my mouth hanging open.
I follow him into the bedroom where he is already snug under the covers. The 9 year old follows me. We hear him snoring. I want to cry. The teenager joins us.
“Is Daddy going to kill the spider?”
I shake my head. “No, it’s fine. Go to sleep.”
“What?” He looks horror stricken. Now both my kids are on the verge of tears.
“Just go to sleep,” I hiss as I glare at my sleeping husband with all the jealousy I can muster.
I climb back into bed only to realize that they are both still staring at me.
“I’m gonna sleep on the couch,” the teen informs me. Honestly I don’t care if he sleeps on the side of the road next to the Turnpike. Get the hell out of my room, kid.
The girl child still has not moved. I ignore her. If I lay perfectly still maybe she will think I’m dead and leave me alone. No luck. She is now tapping my shoulder.
“I can’t sleep.”
You don’t say?
“I can’t do anything for you. Read a book or something.”
“Yes you can. You’re magic. Lay with me. Please, please, please!”
This is the point at which I normally give in. But I don’t want to give in tonight. Because I gave in last night and the night before and if I don’t stand firm I’ll be cuddling with her till she goes to college. And I just want SLEEP!
“Mommy needs to go to sleep, honey,” I implore her. “I have a very busy day and I….”
“But I neeeeeeeeeed you!” She insists.
The hubby makes a brief cameo at this juncture and lets me know in no uncertain terms that if I don’t get her out of the bedroom he is going to break every single Lego that she owns by putting them in the blender. The child sobs louder.
At this point perhaps you are wondering why I don’t just dope her up with Benedryl and send her on her merry way. Well you see, there are two types of reactions to Benedryl. One is a sleepy, cozy feeling and the other is a bouncing of the walls like a Ping pong ball on crack, drinking water out of the toilet bowl like a puppy kind of reaction. The 9 year old has the latter reaction. You don’t make that mistake twice, let me tell ya.
But I’m so tired….oh so tired. I look at the clock and realize if I fall asleep now, I’ll get a solid 5 hours of sleep. That’s doable, right?
I drag my tired ass of bed and accompany the now skipping child to her room. I lay down on the bed (and am poked in the ribs with at least 3 Beanie Boos and 1 American Girl Doll hand) and will myself NOT to fall asleep. After all, I want to sleep in my nice climate controlled sleep number bed with my snoring husband. Not on this stuffed animal infested mattress that smells faintly of pee….
I wake up four hours later on the floor with a crick in my neck. So much for standing my ground. I guess there’s always tonight, right?