Sleep: Before and After Children

Today's survival method

Today’s survival method

I had one of those nights last night. Actually, who am I kidding? This is what it’s like most nights.

In amidst the weird dreams and the random wakings of a small child I tried to remember as much of it as possible so I could write it down.

It went something like this.

9pm: Both children finally asleep.

10pm: Can’t keep my eyes open any longer. Time for bed.

10.15pm: Read for ten minutes but the words keep merging into bizarre sentences. Lights out.

12am: Husband comes to bed. Trips over something and smashes into the radiator. I’m awake now. But actually that’s okay because I was dreaming I was in the middle of the Syrian conflict. Damn you HONY for humanising it so I can imagine all the stories of the poor people trapped by war.

12.30am: Finally get back to sleep, although husband’s snoring sounds like a frenzied horse. Think about putting the ear plugs in, but my ears are sore from wearing them so much.

3am: Son gets up for a wee, leaves the bathroom light on and comes in to say he can’t sleep. Send him back to bed, but the bathroom light is shining like a searchlight onto my face.

3.15am: Find the energy to get up: son is out cold. Turn out the bathroom light, but the damage is done. I’m wide awake.

3.30am: My brain starts writing this blog post. It has a ‘blogging’ voice that takes over and all I can do is listen. I want it to shut up. Try the meditation breathing techniques I learned from this video, which I discovered through Helen Yendall’s blog post, but it’s not working.

3.45am: Husband’s snoring sounds like an asthmatic bear. It’s ruining my concentration on my own breathing. Meditation isn’t working anyway. The blogging voice won’t be quiet. I’d get up and write some notes but my body seems to be full of cement.

5am: Think I must have slept because son wakes me from a strange dream about being in a supermarket. He doesn’t ask this time, just crawls into bed. I’m too tired to send him away and, after my odd dream, a cuddle is nice.

6am: Son has been stroking my arms and hands for an hour. I feel like ants in running spikes are crawling all over my skin. I keep telling him to stop but I don’t have the energy to send him back to bed.

6.15am: Finally roll over so son can’t reach any bare skin. He finds my feet, which is the worst feeling in the world. I curl up in a ball and eventually he says, “can I have the iPad, Mummy?” Send him away to watch programmes.

6.45am: Daughter comes in to say she needs a poo.

6.50am: Wipe daughter’s bottom. Go back to bed.

7.15am: Son asks if he can go downstairs. I mutter something unintelligible and he goes away.

8am: Son yells that he’s finished. I go and wipe his bottom. Try going back to bed, but it’s too late, I’m up. The in-laws are coming for lunch and I have to tidy the house and make crumble. I feel like I’ve had twenty minutes sleep and half a bottle of vodka. The night seemed a hundred hours long.

I remember what it was like before children. It went something like this:

10pm: TV show is boring, go upstairs to read.

12am: Tear myself away from the book because I have work in the morning and need to sleep.

7am: Alarm goes off. Is it morning already?

3 thoughts on “Sleep: Before and After Children

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