Confession: I love to sleep.
At this stage of our family, I spend eight or nine hours nearly every night in deep, blissful unconsciousness. My feet never hit the floor from the time I lay me down until I wake in morning light. I love this.
But once in a great while on an off night, what I can only describe as a spirit of wakefulness moves in and takes possession of my family. This is the night when Child X is sure he sees something scary in the hallway. Four times. And Child Y is convinced beyond doubt that there are bugs in her bed. Actually in her bed. And will not be persuaded otherwise. In between runs to the kids’ room, I toss and turn, unable to settle back into sleep.
I remember the newborn days, when getting up three or four times a night was par for the course, and I could fall asleep at any time of the day in ten seconds flat, jolting awake with a hammering heart and the certainty that I had overslept something important. I know why I moved my babies out of that stage as quickly as possible. Oh yes.
One night last week we had a wakeful ‘un, a killer night of drama—of three consecutive nightmares, of shrill cries of fear, of multiple trips to the restroom (“You don’t have to pee again, do you? Already?”), of a small person tossing and turning in her parents’ bed, of lying wakeful between relays, of stubbing my toes on the heavy suitcase lying on our floor packed for the weekend. Stubbing my toes not once, not twice, but three times.
It wasn’t supposed to be there, and I couldn’t get accustomed to it.
The first time hurt and I whimpered.
The second time was more of a token stub, and I took it like a Stoic.
The third time caught two of my baby toes, and sent me straight up in the air like a rocket. I am sorry to say that I hung on the edge of the bed and damned the suitcase in a furious whisper, and finding that still inadequate expression of my feelings, howled a frustrated-angry growl of no words, Aragorn style—you know, the time when he’s trying to make you think he’s that upset about Merry and Pippin’s death but is actually suffering some pretty serious toe pain from kicking the orc helmet? Like that. Well maybe like half that.
Then I lay in bed with pain shooting up my leg, waiting for sleep and mulling holiness, how it flies out the window when encountering heavy objects in the middle of the night…