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What Having Kids Who Don't Sleep Looks Like

This Is What "Sleeping" in a House With Kids Really Looks Like

To know me well is to know two things: one, I love to sleep; two, my children do not. Since my first baby was born six and a half years ago, I've often been reminded of a line from one of my favourite books, The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (I might be a Midwestern girl, but I have a thing for the South). In reference to her own mother, main character Sidda says, "she used to say she could taste sleep, and that it was as delicious as a BLT on fresh French bread." It's a feeling any sleep-deprived mum, even one who hasn't had a newborn in years, can relate to no matter how much you like bacon. Wonder why I'm so tired? Here's a typical night in my house.

  • 7:30 p.m.: Start telling kids, ages 3 and 6, that they need to park their freshly washed selves in their rooms to pick bedtime books. They proceed to ignore me and continue to wrestle like puppies. Dad gets in on the act, riling them up even more. Does he not share my end goal of them both being unconscious as soon as possible?
  • 7:40 p.m. Start picking books with daughter while husband deals with son's bedtime routine. She has just learned to read and insists on picking books that are just slightly beyond her capabilities, meaning story time takes about three times as long.
  • 7:55 p.m.: Books are done, now she begs to watch one Katy Perry video on my phone before bed. Too tired to fight her, I say "OK," and "Hot N Cold" it is.
  • 8 p.m.: Now she remembers she forgot to brush her teeth and go potty. To the bathroom we go.
  • 8:07 p.m.: It's finally lights out; she asks me to do a "cloud journey," a meditation/relaxation exercise I learned years ago at camp. Knowing it usually puts her out in about three minutes, I agree.
  • 8:10 p.m.: She starts snoring, and I pull out my phone to check email and Instagram while she gets into a deep sleep. After about 10 minutes, I remember there's a new This Is Us on, and I sneak out of her bed and head toward mine.
  • 9:15 p.m.: Husband, who has obviously fallen asleep in son's room yet again, finally makes his way to our bed. We debate whether we should watch an episode of Flipping Out or just go to sleep. Jeff Lewis wins.
  • 10 p.m.: TV's off and we're both about to fall asleep when we hear the cries of "Mummy! Daddy!" from our son's room. My husband goes to check on him, and yep, he's wet the bed. He still wears a nighttime diaper but somehow manages to pee around it regularly. We change his pajamas and sheets, and hubby lies back down with him while I go back to our bed and fall asleep.
  • 12 a.m.: Husband finds his way back to our bed after falling asleep with son yet again.
  • 1 a.m.: Son has woken up and discovered daddy is gone. He's obviously not happy about this situation. Back to his room husband goes.
  • 2 a.m.: I am woken up by the unmistakable sound of my daughter slamming her door open and running down the hall, a sign that she's just woken up from a bad dream. I open my eyes to find her standing next to me and debate whether I have enough energy to get up and take her back to bed, or should I be lazy and let her crawl in with me? Since hubby is still in son's bed, I chose the latter.
  • 2:30 a.m.: Daughter wakes me with a unconscious slap to the face. Move her to other side of bed.
  • 3:30 a.m.: Daughter wakes me by kicking me square in the back. Move her to other side of bed.
  • 4:30 a.m.: Daughter wakes me because she's digging the top of her head into my shoulder blade. Move her to other side of bed.
  • 5:45 a.m.: Hear husband gathering his clothes to go get ready for work in a guest bathroom. When he ends up in our son's bed, he always wakes up super early and can't get back to sleep.
  • 6 a.m.: Son walks his sleepy self into our room looking for daddy. I tell him he's gone to work and convince him to get back in bed with me, even though I know that we all should be up in 30 minutes to get ready for school. By some miracle (or is it pure exhaustion?), we all fall back asleep until husband comes in at 6:45 a.m. to wake us so that daughter won't miss her 7:30 a.m. school bus. He gives me a kiss goodbye and tells us all to "have a good day." I pull on my robe and plot ways to fit in an afternoon nap.
Image Source: iStock
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