Have babies? Forget sleep

  • Saturday, July 13, 2013

They say once you become a parent, you never sleep again. So far, “they” have been right. We’ve spent the last week logging so many hours in the pool that my two youngest, Emma and Sadie, who normally have white blonde hair, have turned a nice shade of Oompa Loompa green. They have had diving contests with their friends, seen who could hold their breath the longest under water, raced across the pool, done flips under water and basically burned more energy in a few hours than I burn in a full week of being their mother.

A few nights ago, Sadie, my 4-year-old, passed out in front of the television while watching a movie with her sisters. It was nearly 7:30 p.m. so I scooped her up and put her in the bed for the night. The stomping of an unnamed smart-mouthed sister being sent to bed early for disrespect woke her less than an hour later. I was more than a little annoyed, because now Sadie had just enough rest to fight sleep.

My husband and my visiting mother helped to get all three girls settled for the night and after putting Sadie back in the bed three or four times, my husband fell asleep while the house fell silent and I read a book.

I love that time of night. My house is full but quiet. Crickets and frogs are singing outside my windows and I’m usually the only one awake. I read for a few hours, then put in my ear plugs that became a habit when Aubrey, my 8-year-old, was a baby. I could still hear her cry, but every snort or shifting of covers didn’t send me sitting upright in bed.

I was just beginning to drift off to sleep when I heard a crash.

Heck, I even felt it. I wasn’t sure if it was thunder or if someone had fallen out of the bed, so I removed an earplug and listened for someone to cry. Silence. I slipped the earplug back in my ear and laid down as my bedroom door opened and little feet shuffled in.

In the darkness of my room I couldn’t see who it was, so I whispered, “Sadie? Emma? Who is that?”

No one answered but slowly Emma, my 7-year-old, stumbled to my bed. I turned my cellphone on to see her as she tried to climb in my bed.

“What’s wrong? Did you have a nightmare?” I whispered.

Emma looked at me, confused and shrugged.

“Why are you up?” I asked.

She shrugged again.

“Do you want me to go put you back in your bed or sleep on the little bed?” I asked. My children are no longer allowed to sleep in the bed with Zeb and me after the last few occasions left him getting head butted all night while I was kicked in the head, back and stomach, repeatedly. We have a small mattress under our bed that can be whipped out in a second for distressed children.

Emma shrugged and nodded.

I got out of the bed to take her back to her bed and as I got to the hallway, I felt around me in the dark for her head.

Not feeling her or hearing her nearby, I turned on the hall light just in time to see her climbing into my spot in the bed and pulling the covers over her head.

“What are you doing?” I hissed, coming back in the room, “I thought you wanted me to take you back to your room?”

She nodded and shrugged for the hundredth time and I giggled as she reached her arms up for me to pick her up. I lifted her out of the bed and she promptly passed out on my shoulder.

She barely weighs enough to matter, but her long arms and legs flailed and got caught on every single doorway between my bedroom and hers.

When I finally maneuvered into her bedroom I saw that Sadie, still sleeping, was wrapped like a burrito in her comforter on the floor beside her bed. She had fallen off her bed in a thud so loud, it had shaken the whole house and woken up her sister, but she was oblivious.

As I tucked Emma into bed, I convinced her to take off the fleece pajama pants she was wearing.

It was making me sweat just looking at them. She rolled over and was instantly asleep - I’m not sure she was ever awake.

I picked Sadie up, unraveled her blankets and tucked her back in without her eyes ever opening, I made my way back to my bed.

In the morning, I walked into the kitchen to find my mother making breakfast for the two sleeping wonders of the world.

“Good Grief. Y’all were wild last night,” I said.

“What happened?” My mother asked, “Emma said she fell out of her pants last night and she doesn’t know how!”

“That’s all you remember?” I asked.

Emma nodded then giggled hysterically as I told her everything that happened the night before while Sadie yelled at me, “I did not fall out of my bed.”

Next time, I think I’m just going to leave her there.


Sleepy in the Delta

Robin O’Bryant is an author, humorist and speaker. Her latest book is “Ketchup is a Vegetable and Other Lies Moms Tell Themselves.” Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter and visit her blog at www.robinschicks.com.

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