March 09, 2012

Never Wake a Sleeping Mother

I am not a morning person. I never have been and I never will be. My parents know this. My siblings know this. My university room-mates know this. My friends know this. My husband knows this.
You would think that my children would know this by now.
I have discovered that to function at peak levels, I require a full 9 hours of undisturbed sleep. I know it’s a bit extreme. But left alone to sleep without interruption I will guarantee you that after 9 hours I will wake on my own, refreshed and ready to tackle the day with a smile on my face. Many people function well on less, some on as little as 5 or 6 hours a night. This person is not me.
This 9 hour block of time is my holy grail, forever out of reach ever since I conceived my son almost 10 years ago. Any pregnant woman will tell you that the hormones and body changes combined with the little person practicing soccer moves in utero is not conducive to catching decent winks. Once that baby is born you can forget about sleep for the next few years. 
But then these little creatures trick you. They lead you to believe that they have mastered the art of falling asleep and staying asleep for up to 13 hours at a time...until around the age of 6 1/2 years when they reach the developmental stage of the dreaded nightmare. And fear of the dark. 
For over a month now, my darling daughter K has been waking up at some point between 1:30 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. calling my name like a foghorn: Mooo-ooommm! Moooooo-oooooom! MOOOOO-OOOOM! I stumble out of bed like something undead to discover that she’s scared of...something. I’ve tried reasoning with her, comforting her, negotiating, threatening, shouting. These are not my proud mommy moments. As I mentioned, I am not a morning (or middle of the night) person. If you want to live, Do. Not. Wake. Me. Up.
I have tried putting her in my bed, an obvious solution for both of us you would think. Except for the fact that she insists on sleeping snuggled right up against me and the minute her twin sister finds herself in her room...alone... all hell breaks loose. Then I have two cranky girls, one refusing the leave my bed, the other refusing to sleep alone. And an extremely cranky mother to boot. So for now I’ve decided that she should stay in her own bed, full-stop. This means that I am up and down the hallway a hundred times, rubbing her back, trying desperately to persuade her to go back to sleep. And if it’s after 5am, there’s nothing doing. She will wake up her sister, there will be words exchanged, perhaps items thrown at each other, they will wake up their brother- and likely the poor neighbours on the other half of our semi-detached home. Everyone starts the day miserably. Except for K who can metamorphose into sweet chipper little thing the moment the sun rises. This morning (after at 4am wake-up), I came to the breakfast table to find my seat reserved by this:

She had made me a breakfast of toast with No Nuts pea butter and a glass of water chilled by a cooler pack from the freezer. How can I stay upset at that?
For now, I will continue to search for a solution and nap whenever I can to catch up on my elusive 9 hours. I will trust (and pray) that this phase will be short-lived. And I will thank the heavens for little girls- and coffee.

Lion Image © David Crippen |

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