Sleep Interrupted

“Are you going to sleep the whole day away?” I smile thinking about those words my late grandfather once uttered. I’d just rollover and put the pillow over my head and go back to sleep.  As a teenager and college, I could sleep for hours on end. It was nothing to stay out until one o’clock in the morning and sleep in until noon. These days I had to fight to stay awake just to ring in the New Year and sleeping in is 8 AM.

After becoming a mother, I now treasure and savor the precious commodity called sleep. Eight hours of uninterrupted Z’s? Pure bliss.  An afternoon nap? A slice of heaven. So when given the choice: Sleep or sex? Sex or sleep? I choose, sleep. Yes, most definitely sleep (sorry hubby, don’t take it personally; and I’m sure any male readers who might be reading this are glad they aren’t married to me).  In fact, I’d wager a lot of mother’s out there would concur that sleep wins over sex, diamonds or maybe even chocolate.  And it’s not that I don’t like those to other things, I do. I don’t want to sleep my life away by any means. It’s just that I get cranky when I don’t get my eight hours in.

I’d guess it’s been more than ten years since I’ve actually slept eight hours straight more than one night in a row (my oldest is nine and half and the sleep interruptions began when I was pregnant).  Chronic tiredness gets, well, tiring.  I hear the words “you look tired today” (AKA “you look like crap today”) more often than “you look smoking hot today” (not that I’d actually hear those words even if I weren’t tired, but a girl can dream). Yes, I know I look tired; I am tired. No amount of makeup can cover up the dark circles under my eyes.

Some of you may remember my quest to become a morning person. In doing so, I make sure I’m in bed by ten every night and I get up at five every morning. I know that’s only seven hours, but still better than before. In fact, after a few weeks, I actually felt less tired during the day; I was getting more done during my two hours of morning quiet and feeling pretty proud of myself.  Unfortunately my oldest put a kink in my morning-person quest. She’s developed a fear of sleeping alone. Having her sister in the room is not enough. It has to be an adult. It has to be me. Daddy isn’t good enough.

While most would think, her tactics a ploy, I can truly empathize with her fears. She recently saw a scary movie (at a church activity no less). I’m sure most kids wouldn’t find this particular movie that scary, but my nine-year old is sensitive. She sees a show on tornadoes; she can’t sleep.  She sees a show about a fire; she can’t sleep. We had to leave many a G movies because it was too scary for her. About an hour before bed she starts to feel sick to her stomach, anticipating being alone in the dark.  By the time its time to turn the lights off, she’s in full-blown panic mode; racing heart, hysterical crying, nausea, cold sweats.

I know what that feels like all too well. I’d do must anything to avoid those feelings myself. So when what alleviates her fears and gives me the opportunity to sleep myself (as opposed to fighting with her all night about sleeping alone), is to sleep with her, I do. I know she should be able to sleep by herself. I’ve tried leaving a light on (she can’t sleep with a light on) or checking on her every ten minutes, but the nights drag on and on and neither of us get any sleep. So now the compromise is, I lay with her until she falls asleep and then I move to my bed. Of course this shoots my whole in bed asleep by ten all to hell as she takes forever to actually fall asleep. When I try to sneak out, she immediately sits up and begs me to stay.

So my sleep-deprived self just wants to say what difference does it make if I sleep with her all night? Why does she have to sleep alone? Is there really a point to forcing her to sleep alone? She’ll outgrow the need for me to sleep with her eventually. Right? Is it wrong to just want to get some sleep anyway I can?

Of course my husband wants her sleep alone, by herself, in her own room as soon as possible. He wants me to sleep with him for some odd reason. So, I’ve come up with the perfect solution…we get a bigger bed and we all sleep together!  Sigh. Somehow I don’t think he’ll go for that. Back to the drawing board and dark circles…

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