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A Night Time Circus

Posted Nov 05 2008 9:12am
What's the night time routine at your house look like?

You know what I'm talking about, because we've all been there at some point in time. What do you find yourself doing in the wee hours when your mind is racing a mile a minute, your adrenaline pumping, you can't sleep, yet the rest of the world is in quiet slumber?

I thought you might like to live vicariously through my night-time 'normal', one for which I know is wrong on MANY LEVELS, but one that is mine, nonetheless.

Let me set the scene for you: I wake up each morning at 5am and for the first 30 minutes or so, I don't know my own name, know where I am, or what I'm supposed to be doing, other than shuffling my body toward the waiting coffee maker. After my one and only cup of coffee, I am finally awake, alert, and coherent. And my day begins...

But I am a creature that requires at least 8 full hours of sleep a night. Can't function on less, my body will physically ache and I'll be sick all day long. I need 8 but 10 is ideal. How on EARTH am I supposed to get 10 hours of sleep when I wake up at 5? Answer: I go to bed extremely early.

Most nights I don't get 10 hours, but somewhere between 8 and 10. But they aren't solid sleeping hours, mind you. There is TOTAL CHAOS going on in my bedroom most nights, and thats what I'm about to share with you.

The first culprit that robs me of my much-needed rest is my beloved 5 year old son that began sleeping in our bed at the ripe young age of 5 months. To quiet his cries and keep Hubby from waking up all night (he wakes up at 5 or so too, and works 13+ hour days and goes to bed LATE), I brought our son to sleep with us. In the middle of our king-sized bed.

When he was 5 months old, this wasn't a problem as he was an infant and didn't take up much room. I knew it was a bad idea at the time but silently told myself that I'd eventually take him back to his room to sleep somewhere down the line.

Fast forward 5 years and I'd say that half of the week, my son sleeps in his own bed, but the other half? He finds a way to wiggle his LARGE LITTLE BOY BODY into the middle of our bed. This is problem #1. We are all big people. My husband is 6'1, I am 5'10 and my growing baby is already 4' tall. Three people this large cannot share a king sized bed and do so comfortably.

Problem #2 is Hubby. Hubby has something wrong with his understanding of light and dark. Day=Light. Night=Dark, right? Well, I get reminded almost on a daily basis to keep the lights off in the house in rooms I'm not in, to save on electric. Well, then explain to me why he leaves the hallway light on, all the bathroom lights on, and the kitchen light on while we are all fast asleep? No one is using those rooms, and its night time. Turn the lights off!

You know how your eyes are closed but you can still 'see' light behind your eyes? Bingo! This is why I can't sleep. I need darkness. I need space. I need to sleep. I cannot sleep with the hallway light glaring through the doorway, nor can I sleep with the bathroom light glaring at me from the other side of the room!

Problem #3 is White-Noise. Hubby swears he can't sleep without the buzz of the television. I have read him study after study about his subsonscious mind listening to all of those infomercials even as he sleeps, and THAT is probably why none of us ever feel rested, we're up all night doing Mari Winsor Pilates, or Juicing everything in sight, or doing Bo Flex! No joke, the TV + lights + extra large child shoving me to the corner of the bed is just about enough to make me.... ABSOLUTELY NUTS!

But wait, there's more...

Our 90 lbs German Shepherd sleeps in our room. At the door. She was trained to protect us with her life, which she does each and every night as she curls into her doggie bed at our door and sleeps with one-eye open. I know she does this because each time I roll over or make any movement or noise, she is up and panting in my ear as if to say, "Is it time to go outside? Can I go outside? Please, please, PLEASE get up and take me outside! Or Play! Wanna Play?... " and this continues until I shush her and she actually holds her breath (!) desperately trying to please her owner.

However, just imagine: I've got the tv flashing before my eyes, the hallway lit up like an airport runway (it has 4 bulbs in it down the length of the hall), the bathroom light coming from the opposite direction, the kicking kid, the panting dog... all while I'm just trying to get some rest.

And then there's Lucy. My beloved cat.

My poor Lucy has been with me since before I even met my husband. Back when we were just two single gals, she would sleep on her very own pillow next to mine, staring at me face to face as we slept each night away. When I married my husband, she didn't like it much that she got shoved to the end of the bed. She didn't like him much at all, in fact. Over the years, she has tried several ways of getting herself back on top of the bed, but none have worked. So she's resorted to sleeping under the bed, directly under me where my head is placed.

Which makes her immensely happy. How do I know? She purrs all night long.

So there's the kid who's pushing me to the very edge of the bed, from which I have to teeter with my ass hanging off the edge most nights... the television flashing with just enough sound to be annonying... the hallways lights... the bathroom lights... the dog panting.... and the cat purring...

Its not quiet time at night, its a 3 ring circus!

On the nights that our son has crawled into our bed, I've allowed him to get comfy and fall back to sleep, and now I get out of bed and make a bed on the couch in the living room, far from the action. I tried to just sleep in his bed, but its right next door to mine and the lights and noise are still a distraction. The couch suits me just fine.
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