Two nights ago I failed to sleep all night. I tossed and I turned. The sandman just refused to make an appearance. By 4 in the morning I was looking forward to having all the kids at school so that I could lay down and take a long nap. Soon after 5 am that plan was thwarted. One of the kids woke up screaming. He had slept in a weird position and couldn’t move his neck and was in great agony. I tended to him, gave him Advil, and a heating pad, tucked him up comfortably on the sofa, and padded into the kitchen to get myself caffeinated. It was an early start to what promised to be a long day.
I got the rest of the kids off to school, tended to my son who was really uncomfortable, ran out to the pharmacy to buy some Tiger Balm. It stinks, but it really works. By the end of the day his pain and discomfort were a lot less and I was totally exhausted. I had tried to nap a couple of times during the day but the phone rang, or my son needed something. So I just gave up. I couldn’t wait to have them all in bed, tucked in for the night, so I could go to sleep.
By 8 pm my walking wounded had put himself to bed and was fast asleep. By 10 they were all snoozing. I had spoken to the KoD earlier, and I was headed to bed. 7 hours of pure uninterrupted blissful sleep awaited me. It took me a while to decompress but by 10.45 I was sleeping. At 1.30 am I was jolted awake. There was a knock on my bedroom door. My heart was crashing into my chest wall, thundering like a run away freight train. I hate that! It was my early sleeper. He had woken up and couldn’t get back to sleep. His neck hurt. I dosed him up with Advil and sent him back to bed. 2 am he was back. He still couldn’t sleep. I told him whether he sleeps or not he needs to rest. The only way his body is going to heal is if he sleeps. I sent him on his way, back to bed and stay there. Every freaking half hour he was back. After the second time I didn’t even bother going back to sleep. Every creak, every sigh, every sound in the apartment building seemed magnified.
Finally I lost it with him, in a very calm way. I told him I understood he cannot sleep. He is a teenager, he doesn’t need me to hold his hand all night long. He knows how to self soothe. I have a right to get some sleep too, especially as I didn’t sleep the night before. If I, as sole parent under this roof, don’t get enough sleep they all suffer. I cannot look after any of them if I am a zombie. One thing you really want to hear at 3.32 in the morning (NOT) is “but you never sleep anyway, so what’s the big deal?” I told him that I didn’t need him waking me up again just to tell me he isn’t sleeping. It’s not that I don’t care, it just doesn’t serve any purpose after the eleventeenth time. The first time, well, I may be nurturing. By the seventh, how does my growling help?
I felt bad, but really, there was nothing he needed from me. I gave him reassurance that I love him, made sure his pain was taken care of, what else could I possibly do for him?
I tucked him in again, which the big boys only tolerate when they are sick or exhausted, and went back to my bed. Of course sleep now eluded me. This kid, he’s my early riser, sometimes he walks the halls at 5 am. I was convinced that the minute I closed my eyes he would be up. After another half hour I went to check on him. He was in bed reading. At least he wasn’t disturbing anyone. But there was no more sleep for me.
I went to get the boys up at 6, and guess who was sleeping peacefully? I was thrilled he had fallen back to sleep, jealous as heck, but could not for the life of me bear to wake him. I got everyone else up and showered and dressed a little faster than usual, so that I could wake him at 6.45 and still give him a chance to get ready for school without being late.
For the second day in a row I cannot wait till they are all in school so that I can climb back into bed and sleep. It’s obvious I am sleep deprived, I keep calling the kids by the wrong names this morning. Sigh, pass the caffeine.