In the middle of the night

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…


You too?

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10 years ago

This is real life!

I wish I got 8 to 9 hours of sleep almost every single night! I think I probably should…that might be why I am often so tired!

10 years ago

Confession: Sometimes we disturb each other by our own tossings and turnings. I have NO idea how we’d manage kids yet.

10 years ago

Oh yes, mm-hmm, gotcha! I’m in the stage where nine hours of uninterrupted sleep are a rare treasure. I’ve kinda gotten in the habit of making sure the trail is clear before I lay me down, because, maybe I’ve seen too many Wascally Wabbits skating about on banana peels, but I can just see myself stepping on a forgotten toy and taking a sudden and unexpected side trip enroute to the baby’s room.
I sometimes remind myself how much I’ll miss these days when they’re all grown up…

10 years ago

Arnica Gel, my dear friend, was created for nights such as that. It soothes the pain and brings relief so fast at times that you almost feel faint at the sudden change from searing pain to cessation of pain. And Skullcap sounds like it could be a good friend at your house, as it is at mine. 😉

10 years ago

I have to say, I’m a bit envious of your ability to sleep for such lengths. I think I was able to as well…at some point…I’m just sure of it. As middle age crept up on me (mid-40s), I’ve found that sleep likes to be an occasional friend and apparently A.D.D. takes over from about 2-4 a.m. I work with mostly women and it seems to be a common middle-age problem. Good times! 😛 Plus now my children are at the age when they peek in as we’re dozing off to tell us that they’re going to a friend’s house and will be home “later”. Ugh. Enjoy the sleep, relish it, bask in it. My best nights of sleep are when all are home and tucked in for the night.

10 years ago

Ah, the suitcase on the floor. I’ve stubbed my toes on it too. And one night, I walked into a bottom dresser drawer that I had, for some unknown reason, left open. THAT hurt, and it made me mad too. And there was no one to blame but myself. Yes, I know how you feel. At those times, I find myself saying, “Oh, God, oh, God,” and devoutly hoping that I am in fact speaking to Him and not using His name in vain.
Wishing you restful nights!

Mama Zook
10 years ago

I can so identify with your stubbed toe and the unholy thoughts in the middle of the night…I woke with a coughing fit, and not wanting to wake Daddy, I quickly held my cough in and headed quickly for the bedroom door, forgetting we’d just sold our box springs and mattress at our last garage sale and had a loaner that was sitting on the floor! My baby toe grabbed the plastic that is around the corner of the boxsprings, and instantly I wanted to scream but couldn’t because I had started to cough. Madly hopping for the kitchen for a cough drop for my cough and to the bathroom medicine cabinet for tylenol for the pain in my toe, and to the freezer for an icepack for the same toe. I crashed on the couch for the rest of the night, with my foot propped onto the back of the couch so it’d be above my heart, so it would throb less. About eight days later, the toe was beginning to heal, and I hurried into our bedroom carrying a fan, looking for a plugin on the otherside of the bed and caught the same little baby toe on the other corner of the boxsprings…same little piece of plastic that goes around the corner!! I didn’t mind screaming the second time. I’m still having a hard time wearing dress shoes! Incidentally, this is the same toe I caught on the wooden rocking chair when we still lived on the farm. Cliff’s words of wisdom, when I really wanted sympathy, “you really should slow down, honey”. I wanted to scream again!

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