Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Catching Up on Sleep

I am chronically exhausted.  My youngest still wakes up all the time and wants me to snuggle her in the middle of the night.  Instead of sleep training her last year like a sane person, I let her sleep train me and now we're both broken.  I rationalize the fact that I don't let her cry too long because I don't want everyone else in the house to wake up.  It's a selfless and kind act, right?  From a wonderful and caring mother?
Yeah right.

I'm lazy and I suck, that's why I do it.  It's easier for me just to get up and snuggle her quietly than to hear her scream and cry.  The result?  I never, ever sleep.  It's so bad.  My husband recognizes that this is serious and that if I don't start to sleep more, something bad may happen.  Or maybe I'll just continue to be a B all the time. So on weekends, usually on Saturdays, he lets me sleep in.

That's wonderful of him to do and I am very, very grateful.  But there are several reasons why those extra three hours of sleep on Saturday mornings are not always very restful and are sometimes beg the question: is it even worth it to try to catch up on sleep?  

Let's start with the fact that my son is the noisiest child in America.  When Hawk speaks, it's pretty loud.  When he tries to be quiet, it's even louder.  At a whisper, his voice IS IN ALL CAPS.  He can't help it.  Even when his mouth isn't moving, he's still noisy.  When he walks, his bare feet go SLAPPY SLAPPY SLAPPY down the hall.  Here's my son trying to be quiet at 6:45am on Saturday morning:

Lydia: Mmm hmm. Please be quiet, honey.
Off he goes down the hallway - SLAPPY SLAPPY SLAPPY.  Into the bathroom, SLAM goes the toilet seat up.  HEE HEEE HEEEE, he giggles as he pees long and unnaturally loud, Austin Powers-style (hopefully) into the potty. SLAM goes the toilet seat back down. Flush. SLAM goes the bathroom door closed. Then SLAPPY SLAPPY SLAPPY down the hall to the TV and the big chair.
Lydia: Honey, please wash your hands.
Hawk: (annoyed sigh) FINE.
Followed by SLAPPY SLAPPY SLAPPY into the bathroom, SLAM of the door being flung open.  Sound of the water running for approximately 6 seconds.  CRASH as he yanks the hand towel down and accidentally sends all the crap on the sink flying to the tile floor.

At this point, we are all wide awake and he wonders why everyone is giving him the stink eye since he was obviously being so quiet. So now all the kids are awake and I plead with the Cap'n to please just let me sleep.  He is tired, too but he glares at me and says you owe me a BIG one for this, Momma and then gets up and starts his day.

Then comes the periodic sibling skirmishes between Hawk (age 5) and his sister Thumbelina (age 7).  Every few minutes there is some kind of whining, shrieking, banging, or need for judicial intervention.  If Daddy doesn't mediate the dispute to the satisfaction of those involved, they appeal to a higher power.  Namely, me. 

Thumbelina: Mommy!  Hawk burped right on my cereal and now I can't eat it because of his disgusting germs.  What's the point of even having a brother who burps on your food all the time?
Hawk: I didn't do it!  I didn't burp ON her food!  But Daddy made me say sorry and I'M NOT.
Thumbelina: Daddy said I have to finish my cereal. (starts crying) And if I eat that with Hawk's burp in it I'm going to throw up.  I guess Daddy just wants me to throw up.
Hawk: (laughing) You're crying and you're gonna throw up.  Awesome.
Thumbelina: (abruptly stops crying and starts yelling) I'm going to throw up all over you! Gaahhh!
Hawk: AAHHHHH! MOOOOMMMM! (starts running around trying to avoid being wailed on by his sister.  So there's lots of yelling and running and also SLAPPY SLAPPY SLAPPY)
Lydia: (using meanest Mommy Dearest voice ever) Get. Out. And. Shut. The. Door. Behind. You.

In spite of the fact that I have to bust out my mean mommy voice, I suddenly seem to become very loveable when I am trying to sleep and everyone else is awake.  The Cap'n comes in every once in a while to grab something from the bedroom and gives my rump a little thump and kisses my forehead.  Normally, I would enjoy this but when it occurs during my special sleepy times, it makes me want to go upside his head with a sock full of quarters. 

The baby stares at me sleeping and cries heart-brokenly in her baby duck voice that she can't squirm around under the covers with me and drink a bottle while pulling at my hair and poking me in the stomach with her toes.  The cat enjoys waiting until I have entered an REM sleep cycle and then sticks his ice cold nose into my eye socket.  And then sneezes.  It's like every small, woodland creature wants to share this time with me.  The birds sing louder outside my window. The squirrels (those fat, grey bastards) tap on the window as if to say: "Top 'o' the morning, to you!" 

What am I, Snow White?  GO AWAY.  I AM SLEEPING.

By 10am, the time for sleeping is over.  I wish I could go back in time and sleep the way I used to in college.  Ahhhh...  The Sleep of Irresponsible F*cks.  I would sleep until like 2pm.  There could be a fire alarm going off in my dorm and I would roll over and put the pillow over my head and keep right on sawing logs.  Now, if the cat yawns too loud in the next room, I'm all: "What's that noise?  Do the kids need me? Is everyone all right? Is someone breaking in?"  Sigh... It's not fair. 

So, I get up.  And I stumble into the living room to find total chaos.  Toys, books and shoes everywhere.  Crayons crunching underfoot.  TV blaring.  Oy friggin vay.  I smell coffee - or maybe burning? - but I think coffee so I head into the kitchen, which is now totally disgusting. 

Every Saturday morning I swear I will never blow off doing the dishes on Friday night again.  Then the next Friday night, I'm all exhausted and brain dead and the glass of wine and big chair seem too nice and I just figure I'll deal with it tomorrow and that's why every Saturday morning my kitchen is nastier than a frat house after a three-kegger.  Because in addition to last night's dinner mess, there's three hours of debris from the kids self-serving.  Making their own Nutella and banana sandwiches, pouring juice all over the counter, leaving the fridge door wide open...


Then there's the baby.  At least she's happy to see me.  When she's been under Daddy's care for several hours there are three things you can count on:

1) She's happy as a pig in schmidt because she's been indulged and played with and fed treats and tossed in the air to her little heart's content.
2) She smells like a damn milkshake because she's breakfasted on a combination of vanilla soymilk, waffles with syrup, and the yellow version of Oreos (which the Cap'n buys because after feeding them to the kids "it's easier to hide the evidence").  Also, she's hyper in the manner of someone who habitually snorts cocaine.  And when she gets hyper she lets loose with an ear-splitting SQUAWK like a seagull.
3) She is dressed like she's about to go play Mahjong with Mrs. Seinfeld in Boca Raton.  Imagine a large baby/small toddler in a pink velour track suit, collared blouse, and orthopedic shoes.  There you have my child.  All she needs is a pair of Blublockers and a medic-alert necklace and she can join my Grandmom Joyce at the dollar slots in Atlantic City.  Why the Cap'n invariably dresses her this way, when she has a million adorable outfits and sundresses, I have no bloody idea.  But he always does, commenting on how completely awesome she looks.   

Maybe you are wondering if I think it's worth it, just to get a little extra sleep.  To which I gently and sweetly reply: You bet your sweet Aunt Fanny it's worth it.  The mess?  Who the hell cares about that?  No matter how hard I work to clean the stupid house the kids crap it up again within minutes.  The noise?  The fighting?  Please.  I learned to tune that out years ago.   We're talking about sleep.  Beautiful, glorious, golden slumber.  I love sleep the way John Mayer loves porn.  I want sleep more than food or wine or alone time or anything

So yes, it's all a pain in my arse but it's worth it.  And fortunately, I have a pretty big arse and it's not that big a pain. 

xo, Lydia

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2010


  1. This is totally my life! Well, minus the third kid...but otherwise: I hear ya! On Saturday mornings my husband is at work and I *try* to get a little extra sleep by letting the kids go quietly (yes, go ahead and laugh) downstairs to watch TV. But it's exactly like you said: they argue over everything, at the top of their lungs. I wish they had a mute button!

  2. I... have SO been there. I lock the door to the bedroom though. If one of them knocks I just don't answer. Eventually they go find their father. :-D

  3. YES YES YES!!!!!! You just described my Saturday morning "sleep-ins"! It's not good sleep, but it's sleep and I'll take it! Of course, I haven't even had one of those in weeks. I can't wait to get some of that sleep again sometime soon. Even if it involves lots of visits from kids who my husband doesn't realize have come back to visit me.

  4. I could have written this post, except for the catching up on sleep part. I have to wake up with the kids EVERY.FRICKIN.DAY. And hubby still sleeps like a college student. In fact, he LIVES like a college student. *sigh* (Oh, and this is written at 6am... I've been up 90 minutes with 2 little girls... gonna be a loooooong day).

  5. Dying laughing over here. As I chug coffee like a frat boy emptying a keg. Because I don't sleep. Ever. Not on the weekends. Not ever. And this post made me laugh. A LOT.

  6. I never get sleep either, 11 PM to 6:30 AM on the weekdays. The weekends we do a little bit better, but only because we've threatened my daughter about not coming our of her room until the 9 comes out and the baby is still young enough that he's in the super sleep so everyone loves him stage. However, my sister in law is living with us for the summer. She sleeps until 9, teaches a few hours of swim lessons, comes home exhausted, has to take a nap, teaches a few more hours of swim lessons, then complains all dinner about how tired she is, then goes to bed by 10. Really, I have gotten to the point of yelling at her. Stop complaining, you sleep through friggin everything going on here! UGH, now I'm all worked up before my energy drink.

  7. I just love when my hubby "lets" me sleep in, but then doesn't remember to take the baby monitor with him. Jackhole.

  8. Why do men think that track suits are cute on little girls?

  9. And let me tell you - even when they are older it doesn't get any better because then they have all these damn activities that start at 8 or 9 so you can't sleep because you know you need to get up early, yell at them to get up, get everyone ready and out the door, etc, etc. My kids are 14 and 10 and I haven't enough sleep in 14 years. I've given up and just told myself that the bags and dark circles under my eyes are fashionable in a "heroin chic" kind of way.

  10. Are you stalking me, because you just described my situation like we were separated at birth. My inability to sleep because I hear crickets farting outside, my two year old whom I have to snuggle so I can at least think I am gonna sleep, the whole time I am SCREAMING for the other sweathogs to STOP SCREAMING...makes perfect sense, right? We have it all, the whole toilet trip and all its loudness, I thought that was just me, and the slappity slap, Lord have mercy! I have one of those smurf kids too whose voices never get below 80 decibels, who makes my spine shoot up and my dog's head go sideways. My kids completely burp/cough/clear throats within 50 yards of each others cereal and don't understand when I tell them they have to eat it anyway. Meanwhile, I'm having to eat my breakfast after the baby has drooled and God-knows-what-else in it. And if I lie to myself thinking they'll watch tv and behave, I pay for it too because my kids cannot watch tv without having a debate on everything from who gets the best chair to what some animated dog's name is. Knowing I am sane, I'm off to drink some coffee that was made so long ago it resembles motor oil.

  11. Oh. My. God. HILARIOUS!!!! That is seriously what happens when I try to sleep late. My hubby takes my son for DONUTS, yes, donuts, he shoves two donuts down his throat and then comes running back in "Me Daddy got doduts! doduts! Mommy! You want doduts? They yummy doduts!!" And of course, his clothes don't match, which is hard b/c all of his shorts are either black, dark blue or gray, so one would think it would be easy to make sure the poor kid's clothes match... oy.

  12. Earplugs baby. Saturday morning earplugs. Get the good ones that block out the bomb getting set off next to your bed. You are preaching to the choir - 3 kids, mess of a house (no matter what you try to do) and chaos at all times. Loud kids? Got that too.

    Good luck getting a little shut eye:)

  13. Some advice - ear plugs! They work wonders!

  14. At least you get one day to try and sleep. Whenever I try to sleep in I get attitude and guilt for the rest of the day. I basically get "your job entails working 24/7, no sick days, and no vacation, mine does not. Since I am the one who pays the bills I get to sleep in on my DAYS OFF."

  15. I'll third the earplugs and add a locked bedroom door. Not that I ever remember those two things - this post sounds exactly true and it is a damn shame.

  16. OMG...I am crying over here! Stop it, that post was not only gut-bustingly hilarious...but it literally sent me into a state of something akin to PTSD. I VIVIDLY remember those horrible mornings of 1/2 sleep and everybody coming in to stand inches from your face and breathe (loudly) to check and see if you were awake. And my husband thinking that I should be all grateful, well-rested and perky for the rest of the day...ah *shudder* memories...
    Mine are 10 and 7 now, and thankfully sleep later and can actually get downstairs without assistance, so there is light at the end of the tunnel...

  17. I've come to the conclusion that I will never ever sleep well again.

  18. Lol, sleep? what's that? I have been pregnant, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, sleep-trainig, night-terror I'm scared mommy coaxing back to sleep for 6 years straight. Just when I think I can *finally* get back to sleeping 6 hours straight, I get knocked up again. *sigh*. Back to my 3rd cup of coffee.

  19. I don't know what I love more, the description of the the baby's Saturday leisure wear or the cat sneezing in your eye. Both are Awesome.

  20. This is so good! When were you last at my house because it's so hauntingly familiar. The messy house upon waking up, especially. Sometimes I'm also greeted by the sight of my husband sleeping more soundly on the couch than I was able to in bed. I don't have the leisure suit wearing baby to greet me and I'm kind of jealous of that; between her and Hawk's attempts to be quiet, I'm not which is my favourite part!

  21. I continually am woken up by either a 6 year old(who also has volume control), "mom, scoot over" "mom wake up" etc. or dogs either whining, barking or standing on me licking my face. My husband can sleep through anything, alarm clock(which he sets and it only wakes me up), kids, dogs, smoke alarm! The 13 year old has his fathers genes and sleeps until Im sure his stomach has started to devour itself because wen he finally does roll out of bed at noon he eats half a box of cereal. My little one could go play slots with yours since he has it in his head that his shirt should be tucked in(straight smooth tuck), a track suit jacket and that socks and sandals actually go together....and on some days a golf hat....totally looks like he cae straight out of a retirement community in Florida. They've trained me so well that even if no one wakes me up or even on vacation I wake up at the exact same time everyday. The only time I catch up on sleep is through naps....I can't wait for school to start.

  22. Awesome! I swear this is my Saturday mornings exactly! Why do men dress little girls that way? My 2 year old looks like she is completely homeless by the time I get up on Saturday mornings and the house looks like a tornado went through it.

  23. Amen Lydia, Amen. Sunday mornings are my mornings to sleep in and I usually woke up to my house looking like a tornado ripped through it. But I dont care because I got to sleep in until 10am which beats 6am.

  24. Yeah, I have a 2 month old and 3 year old and they tag team me all night long, one falls asleep and the other one needs me. Daddy can't help, my 3 year old screams and cries hysterically if anyone who is Not Mommy comes to him in the night and my 2 month old just knows that Daddy is not the chuck wagon. I haven't gotten a good night's sleep in 3 years, I'm very very grouchy.

  25. I'm a fourth on the earplugs, add white noise if you have to, lock the door from the inside (put in a hook and eye if your door doesn't lock), boot out all pets (I lock the cat in the basement if he annoys me- I can't hear him yowling from there), and turn the baby monitor off. Oh, and tell the Cap'n to stay the hell out (the locked door might act as a friendly reminder). You need some sleep!

  26. i haven't slept well since my oldest was born 8 loooong yrs ago. i currently work nights to avoid paying a babysitter (a plan that has failed spectacularly since my husband works doubles on the days of the nights that i work so i STILL have to pay someone to watch the kids 2x a week so i can try to sleep.) i have literally come home @ 7am after working 10 hours to the asshat saying (after a solid 10 hours of sleep) "i am sooooo tired, i simply must go back to sleep for a while." 6 hours later he's rolling out of bed wondering why i haven't cleaned the house, since i was up anyway. some days i hate my life...

  27. Oh good god.
    There's the "honey?" (whispered at the door, like that's better) "honey? where's the pancake syrup?"
    7.2 minutes later
    "Honey? Um. Do we have any clean plates?"
    5.35 minutes later
    "Uh... babe? What's up with the sink in the bathroom?"
    8.63 minutes later
    "mama? Mama. Daddy said you're sleeping. Are you sleeping?"
    4.2 minutes later
    "MAMA! I mean (whipered) 'mama!' Do you like strawberries or blueberries?"
    8.45 minutes later, the entire group troops triumphantly into the bedroom, bearing a tray with breakfast. And sits there and watches me eat it. Then they all troop back downstairs, telling me airily, "See you soon, mama!"
    And when I go downstairs it's just too horrible.

  28. Hmmmmm, I have a hubs who cannot for the life of him multitask. He has been known to wake me on my sleep in morning because he needed to poop and wasn't sure what to do with the baby (who at that time was not mobile). Um, wtf do you think I do every day? Surely you know I don't hold it in till I have someone to watch the kids? If I hadn't been so groggy I may have killed him......I also get woken up when both kids are up (they are 3 and 10 months) because he hasn't figured out how to manage both kids. So my sleep in lasts till 8:30 tops....oh well. Still better than 6.

  29. i just recently discovered this blog and i am SO happy i did. i have three boys- ages 4, 2, and 3 months. my life is insane. but you make me feel better about it. or at least like i can laugh about it. a lot. thank you!

  30. okay, you are not lazy and you don't suck and you need to stop beating up on yourself! Seriously, I love this blog but have you noticed how often you swipe at yourselves? You are both great! And you're doing your best, on any given day. Peace to you, and I will pray you get some sleep.

  31. I walk around like a zombie all.the.time with a 2 year old & a 10 month old who think 6 am is the new 9 am.

    Told my husband that the only thing I want for my birthday is to get a hotel room. Alone. So I can sleep. Slightly pathetic, no?

  32. At this point my boys are 7 and 9, so the sleep situation is a little better. They still call for mom in the night when they have a bad dream and come "whisper in my ear" early in the morning, before they go down to watch cartoons. Right now I have to deal with my dogs who will come (always to me, not my husband) and lay their noses on my side of the bed. Inches from my face and their long tails thumping on the ground...why am I the only person in the house that can let the dogs out to go potty in the morning? However, it does get easier! I hope you know that! All of you moms with preschoolers, hang in there. It's going to get better.

  33. I only have one child, 2 yrs old, but on my sleep in days I get woken up by my daughter screaming "mommy" from the bottom of the stairs! Seriously, what makes my husband think that I can sleep through that?

  34. My two daugthers are calling my name often, I wake up and it's not a problem for me.

  35. *shakes fist* i totally just woke the baby with my belly laughs. hehe. <3

  36. LOL. My son is a morning person and I am SO not. He used to put his face right up in mine and tap my forehead with his index finger at 6:00 am until I would wake up and get him some cereal. It was a little disconcerting to wake up that way every day. I'm glad he's old enough to get his own cereal now.

    xo -E

  37. Man I don't remember doing this to my parents, I remember getting up and turning the t.v. on so quiet I had to sit close to hear it, I don't think I walked into their bedroom and woke them up, their door was two little wooden screen things that you could lock from the inside and down several stairs, an odd situation for sure. I wonder how I will handle all this sleeping in when it's my turn, waking up at 4am for the last 4 years has made it difficult to sleep in to begin with but I bet with the sleep dep I'll crave it like I did in college

  38. Ahhhh, "extra" sleep. My kind husband lets me get "extra" sleep. Today is Saturday. Early Friday morning I was kindly awoken to the sound of my daughter wretching everywhere. At 3 AM. And it lasted until 10:30 AM. And I had to work 4PM-12:30AM that evening. So my kind husband let me sleep in this morning. Only, he didn't monitor our daughter, and he left our bedroom door open so she came scampering in, climbed in bed with me, and proceeded to smother me with her tiny body. It happens EVERY TIME he lets me sleep in. And if she should fail to awaken me with her deadly love, then he comes in asking me what time I am going to get up that he has been up since 3 because he went running and he wants to wash the dishes but doesn't want our lovely two year old to help him because she just makes a bigger mess but she wants to play the Cupcake Game and when am I going to get up why did I get home so late from work blah blah blah...




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