Category Archives: sleep

A Pretty Good Tradeoff

I have a confession to make.  Another one.  A while back, I wrote about how I secretly enjoy bringing Riley into my bed after his 4:00 a.m. nightmares about stickers and cookies and other frightening things [insert sarcasm].  In that post, I also wrote about how Dylan never comes in my bed, but I’d jump at the chance to do it now that I realize how quickly he’s growing up.

Well, I take it back.  Dylan is a horrible bed mate.  He doesn’t revel in the wonder and mystery of Mommy and Daddy’s king-sized bed like his younger brother, he doesn’t appreciate the mountain of soft pillows and fuzzy blankets, and he doesn’t cherish the chance to curl up safely next to the belly in which he once grew.

This morning, he also didn’t understand how utterly and completely exhausted he was (and I was) after our zoo adventure yesterday.  At 5:30 a.m. (which still feels like 4:30 a.m., thank you very much), I gave Dylan the choice to (a) play in his bed or (b) come with me to mine.  Going to the family room to watch the Power Rangers was not an option.

Staying in his bed would have been the smart decision.  Currently in his bed are: 50 or so squinkies, a dozen books, a lamp, a portable DVD player with Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (don’t get judgy…the DVD player is only allowed on non-school nights) and a cup of water.  If he had a few snacks, he could probably survive a week there.

He chose (b).  I knew there would be little sleep for me no matter what he chose, but I naively welcomed the chance to snuggle with my little boy.  Fast forward forty-five minutes and we were in the family room watching Power Rangers with Riley, who also woke up too early.  Rewind a bit and this was the scene in my bed:

Dylan (in an astonishingly loud whisper as only a five-year-old kid can do): “Mommy, is it time to watch the Power Rangers?”

Me (in a whisper yell as only a Tired Mama can do): “No.”

Dylan:  “Mommy, look outside. It’s morning time.”

Me:  “No, that’s the glow of the moon.  Close your eyes. You need to sleep a little bit longer.”

Dylan:  “Is two minutes a little bit longer?”

Me:  “No.”

Dylan:  “Mommy, is it time yet?”

(Cue Riley’s crying.)

Me:  “Yes, it’s time.”

The truth is, unlike Riley, Dylan is no fun at all to bring into my bed in the wee hours of the morning.  He does, however, give great hugs on demand, you can (almost) always trust his pinky promises, and his dance moves are fierce.  That’s a pretty good tradeoff.


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Filed under bad dreams, sleep, Tired Mama

Completely, Beautifully, Thankfully

At 4:45 a.m. this morning, when I discovered three men in my bed, I realized just how different things are when Mike goes out of town.

Let me explain the men.  One of them was Harry.  No surprise there.  The second man, Riley, wasn’t much of a shocker either.  He always starts the night in his bed, but habitually finishes it in mine.  The third guy, Dylan, was the bombshell.  He has a penchant for nightmares when Mike is away.  This morning, Harry and Riley climbed under my covers and went right to sleep like they’re trained to do, but Dylan had a different agenda, which is why I stared writing this post at 5:03 a.m. in my kitchen…with lots of coffee…and “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel” playing in the next room.

What else is different when Mike’s away?

Harry likes to play in the backyard…in the middle of the night. I’ve written before about Harry’s occasional middle-of-the-night romps outside, but when Mike is away, he does it every night.   I think it’s his way of expressing to me his stern disapproval of Mike’s business trips.  Message received, Harry, loud and clear.

I take out the trash.  Mike and I have a pretty traditional household when it comes to chores. In general, I take care of the inside of the house and he takes care of the outside.  When he’s away,though, I handle the trash, literally. On Sunday afternoon, I discovered that an animal had gotten into the trash can overnight.  I would rather have changed Riley’s stinkiest poopiest diaper than clean that mess.  Oh wait, I did that, too.

I do less laundry.  It’s not that Mike produces an enormous amount of laundry.  In fact, most of his socks end up scattered on the family room floor (next to Dylan and Riley’s…it must be a guy thing), and his other clothes usually end up in a heapon the back of his desk chair in the bedroom.  I guess it’s just simple math: laundry for three is less than laundry for four.

I get more sleep (except for today).  When Mike is home, the quality time we spend together each day is generally after the kids go to sleep when we eat a late dinner and watch something on the DVR. I almost always fall asleep on the couch around 10 p.m. (and miss the last five minutes of whatever show we’re watching), and then Mike wakes me and sends me to bed.  When he’s away, I crawl into bed as soon as the kids are down, so even if I’m woken up at, say, 4:45 a.m., at least I went to sleep early.

I do less cooking.  When Mike is out of town, I eat early and light.  On Monday, I made vegetarian lentil soup in my crock-pot, and it’s been my dinner every night this week.  You know the old adage, marriage makes you fat and happy?  I don’t know if it’s true, but I know if I didn’t have a husband, I’d be fine eating a bowl of soup (or cereal) for dinner every night.  Then again, if I didn’t have a husband (or children), I’d probably be at a bar enjoying two-for-one drinks with friends.

I go shopping.  This doesn’t really have anything to do with Mike being away as I often have a desire – a need, actually – for retail therapy.   On Tuesday, though, when I had one cranky kid home from school with a cold and a long day and evening ahead with no relief in sight, a trip to The Container Store seemed like a really good idea.  I bought some really important organizational products for the house, including two acrylic Lazy Susans for my bathroom, ajewelry stand, this really cool spiky plastic thing that holds whatever theheck I want, a pack of gift tags, a storage unit for Dylan’s Legos, and – because Dylan was with me – a yellow toy box shaped like a giant Lego.  I heart The Container Store (and Dylan does, too).

Mike’s business trips always remind me of how heroic single parenthood is, but they also give me perspective on and gratitude for my marriage.   When we’re apart and everything is different, I’m keenly aware of how completely, beautifully and thankfully our lives are intertwined when we’re together.

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Filed under bad dreams, business travel, chores, cooking, gratitude, Harry, marriage, shopaholism, shopping, sleep