My early mornings usually include a phone call either to my mother or from her, and her first question is, “how was your night?” I think she’s been asking me this question every morning since my oldest was born 4 ½ years ago. Initially I shared stories of night feedings, endless crying, confusion about how to care for a newborn while being completely sleep deprived, etc. Then we switched to discussing sleep training, teething, gross motor milestones, talking, you know….the next phase of why I wasn’t getting any sleep. And now, with three kids under the age of 5 (and the dog) I usually simply respond that I was up all night for one torturous reason or another.
Sometimes I look back to when I was a younger lady, say…..in my 20’s, when the question, “how was your night?” took on an entirely different meaning than it does now. It usually meant, “where did you go out”, “did you have fun” or “did you meet anyone???”. Those were the days when I slept like a rock. The days when I actually used an alarm clock to wake up in the morning. Oh yes, and when I woke up to sunshine instead of fumbling around in the dark with flame-less candles still lit to light my path to one of the kid’s rooms.
My oldest went through a phase where he would call me into his room simply to report that he had a dream about the Power Rangers, or Iron Man. I would say, “that’s great” and wonder why I needed to know this at 2am. I think the completely useless wake-ups are the most annoying. When all the kids are asleep but the dog decides to start walking around the bedrooms and make you jump up in a panic that she’ll wake the kids. Or when the wind/rain/thunder wakes you and it’s not even family member related. Or the worst….when the toddler accidentally sets your alarm clock to go off at 12:30am. Please remind me to throw that thing away! Why do we have it anyway!
For some reason if I hear any kind of noise or movement on the baby monitor my first reaction is to stop breathing and stay very still. As if I’m a deer in the woods and if I don’t move a muscle then nothing bad will happen. I have to remind myself that if I breath or move the kids really can’t hear me. And it doesn’t work anyway. I can hold my breath all I want…..I’ll still hear the crying, the calling for mommy, the little footsteps running down the hall towards my room, etc. I feel like I’ve heard it all. “Mommy, I want to sleep with you.” “I had a bad dream.” “I have to go potty.” “I’m soaking wet.” “Is it morning yet?” No, its not….go back to bed!
My boys like to sleep with water in their sippy cups in case they wake up thirsty in the middle of the night. And my older son likes to keep it in his bed wedged between his pillows. So, I thought I was being a good mommy and filling up his cup for him after he fell asleep (I noticed it was empty). I was going to just put it on the nightstand but thought he’d be looking for it in bed. A few hours later I hear him call me to his room (which he rarely does now) and tell me he’s all wet (but hasn’t had an accident in over a year!). Then I realized his shirt is wet, not his pants. The sippy cup leaked all over! His shirt, sheets, pillow, comforter. Ugh.
And them sometimes it’s really bad. Last night my daughter was whimpering, then crying, then screaming bloody murder. Nothing we could do would console her. I’m suspecting an ear infection and already have an appointment set up with the ENT. So, we tried Tylenol, walking her around, rocking, taking her downstairs and turning the TV on, etc etc etc. Watching the clock inch closer and closer to morning and knowing the boys would be up and the day would eventually begin (with or without any additional sleep) is just torture. And hoping I make it through the day without putting the milk away in the pantry or putting dinner in the oven without turning it on. You know….sleepless mommy type stuff.
Does this ever end? I think I’ve heard it ends right around the time you develop insomnia and they begin to oversleep and miss the school bus in the morning.