Friday, September 14, 2007

Wake Up! It’s the Weekend!

My boys have sleep issues. This is hard for me to deal with because I can generally fall asleep anytime, anywhere in a matter of minutes (sometimes seconds) given the right conditions. Where it gets tricky for me is when I am sharing a bed with my boys, which is rare, or with my husband, which is always.

Let me start with Jack and Luke. They both typically fall asleep beautifully. With the exception of occasional nightmares about spiders or vampires and Luke getting up every night in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, once they are asleep I don’t hear a peep. It’s the morning time that kills me. If there is no reason for any of us to be up early, for example no one has to work or go to school, the boys dive from their beds before the newspaper has hit the lawn. No matter how late they stayed up the night before, if it is a weekend they are up at the crack of dawn. Sometimes, even before then. We attended a wedding last weekend in Iowa and stayed up until after 11:00 pm, which is very late for boys used to being asleep by 8:30. At some point before I would officially call it morning, I heard shuffling around in the corner. Jack had woken up and crawled over to get his Gameboy that was charging in a corner. It was 5:45 am. Luke would have slept longer – he does a little better than Jack – but would not want to miss out on any potential fun that Jack may have by waking up so early. Thank goodness the hotel room carried Nickelodeon.

Then, there are the middle of the night issues. On special nights when my husband is traveling, I sometimes let one or both of the boys sleep with me. Even in rest, my running, jumping, climbing, chasing, wrestling boys do not rest. I have been kicked, slapped, punched, clawed and had my hair pulled out. I have to sleep with a pillow on either side of me just to protect myself from harm. With Jack, I’m convinced that there is a cat in the bed. He pokes his little toenails into whatever body part of mine his feet happen to be touching and curls them. If anyone has ever seen a cat claw a pillow or blanket before getting comfortable, you'll know what I'm talking about. With Luke, I always have my guard up. He tosses and turns and flips and talks in his sleep. My sister used to do this when we were little, right before she dreamed whatever dream made her think I was the enemy and required her to pummel me. I have been woken up too many times in my life under attack to not tense up and take cover when Luke starts showing the same impending assault signs that my sister used to show right before beating me to a pulp in her sleep. These middle of the night crazies even impact John. When he lets the boys sleep with him when I am traveling, they banish him to the bottom of the bed and he is forced to sleep sideways.

And speaking of John, he snores. And he has sleep apnea. Neither of these things are his fault, but they make it hard on a person like me who needs almost complete darkness and silence to sleep. We’ve handled the light issue pretty well. My mom bought me pajamas for Christmas and they came with an eye mask. I never knew what I was missing until that eye mask came into my life. Now, John can read in bed and I won’t be bothered by the light. The noise is another issue. When the snoring starts, I tap him lightly and he rolls over. When he quits breathing because of the sleep apnea, I give him a little shake. When he starts snoring again, I kick him a little harder. When he quits breathing again, I punch him ever so lightly. These events continue to escalate until morning when we both drag ourselves out of bed exhausted. I usually feel bad about the kicking and punching the next day, because I know he can’t help the snoring or sleep apnea, but I tend to forget those things at 3:00 in the morning. And, I can at times be a bit irrational when I’m tired. I once yelled at him to stop being so loud when he was reading a magazine in bed. The crinkling sound every time he turned a page was too much for me to handle. Sometimes John takes pity on me and falls asleep on the couch downstairs. When the boys wake up before any human being has a right to be awake, I send them down the stairs to pester him and I roll back over.

Can I call my sleep deprivation a male-dominated household ailment (MDHA)? Technically, I guess I could. I would sleep soundly and peacefully every night and deep into the morning, if not for the continuous wake up calls I receive from my boys. This MDHA would be easy to fix. I would just have to sleep alone every night in a locked room with ear plugs in. I can't do that, though. I would miss my boys too much. Maybe I could get away with doing this one night a week.

Because the weekend begins tomorrow ensuring that my boys will wake up before the roosters each day, I will most likely not post on my blog over the weekend since I do that early in the morning on school days before I have to drag everyone out of bed kicking and screaming. I hope your weekend is pleasant and that you return on Monday well rested.

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