Ask any parent of small children if they had a relaxing weekend and then look and see if they don’t twitch just slightly. You’re just seeing the car crash in their brains between the memories of weekends they USED to have versus the ones they are now forced to have. I’m not saying parents don’t enjoy their weekends, it’s just that personal choice about what one gets to do and at which speed it is done is almost completely off the table.
Sundays for many people around the world include sleeping in just a little bit later, reading the newspaper (or online digital something or other), a big breakfast or brunch that lasts a good 60 minutes or more, and essentially doing everything in slow motion for the whole day. Now don’t get me started on what people who earn under $2 a day around the world do on a Sunday. That’s another story entirely and I pause here to be thankful once again that I won the cosmic lottery and to always be grateful for the good things I’ve been fortunate enough to come by.
This morning I had the AMAZING gift of getting to sleep in until (wait for it…) 9AM! Of course, it came with a price.
Our older son (3) had a fever and woke up his little brother (21 months) some time in the wee hours. I have this habit from when we had newborns that I NEVER check the clock when I am woken up at night. Not knowing the hours of sleep I am not getting is just better for my fragile psyche. It’s also good practice for anyone who suffers from insomnia to not calculate “I might get X hours of sleep if I could just fall asleep RIGHT NOW.”
We tried to be like normal people and had dinner with friends on Saturday night after the babysitter arrived and both boys were sleeping. We got home before midnight and noted with whimsy the adorable whipper-snappers in their 20’s just heading out to START their evening fun as we trudged home in a delirious daze.
“Maaaa maaaa!” A tiny voice is calling me from a dark corner of the apartment. My husband struggled to get our older son to bed and I went for our youngest. All week he’s been tormenting me whenever it’s time for me to try to put him down for a nap or for the night. He won’t be rocked anymore. Apparently that’s soooo August 2013. He also won’t let me pretend to sleep near his crib on the cold marble floor like I’ve been doing all of September with modest success. Nope.
As of this week he stands up in his crib and looks down at me while pointing and laughing. If I hover above him and try to push him down so he is at least in some sort of sleeping position, he wiggles and giggles like it’s the greatest game in the world. It might be if it were a drinking game…and I had some beer…and if I were amused. Meanwhile, every time I did get him into a somewhat sleepy state, suddenly his brother would make some noise or protest from the other room and force me to start all over again.
Fast forward roughly 1.5 to 2 hours. (How I wish I could do this in real life during these moments.)
“Is this the beginning of the night or is it almost morning?” I thought to myself while cursing for the millionth time that I didn’t think to wear socks or slippers on our cold floor.
In response, I could hear a shop door opening somewhere down on the street. It was still pitch black but soon I knew the sun would be coming up and the odds I’d get any more sleep this Sunday morning would become less and less.
I began to panic silently. The kid was acting no more tired than two hours ago and I’d already tried everything. He would then be off for the entire day, messing up his after-lunch nap and the prospects of getting any sleep the following night would be even worse.
“BEDDY BYES!!” I heard myself blurt out in a possessed, Linda Blair/Exorcist voice. I honestly never heard the phrase with more venom in it.
My son paused in his rabble-rousing, grinned, and then collapsed into a sleeping position and did not move or make a sound.
Still startled at my own outburst, I hovered over him incredulously, just waiting for him to jump up again. Nothing. That boy was asleep in five minutes.
I slowly and carefully made my way down the hallway past the silent room of my older son towards the bathroom (that I had needed the whole time) and my own bed. The light was slowly pouring in the windows but I still had trouble making out the scene in front of me.
On my pillow was a head. A small one. “Is that Oliver the cat?” I thought. “A small alien?”
No. It was a little person. It took a few moments before I realized that somehow my older son had ended up in my bed. His father was fast asleep next to him. There appeared to be a little bit of space in between them but all of the blankets were clearly accounted for.
I weighed my options. I really wanted this story to have a happy ending and I knew that there would not be one if I woke up our three year-old. He makes more noise by 7AM than most people make all day.
I silently creeped back down the hallway to his room and after carefully rearranging some annoying trademarked Disney characters, I climbed into his bed and pulled up the covers making a little cocoon. “This might work.” I thought.
It did! I didn’t climb out of there until 9AM, an unheard of luxury in our early-riser household.
The rest of the day was enjoyable, but not relaxing.
Thank God tomorrow is Monday.