Just. Sleep. Will Ya?

Our kids are early risers; their waking times range from 0545 to 0700hrs. Yup, they are usually up by 0630hrs even on weekends. Then again, kids their age have no notion of the difference between weekday and weekends, right?

Matthew is almost always the one who wakes up the earliest in the family. And the moment he wakes up, he is not content to lie quietly in his bed just because everyone else is still sleeping.

The routine is the same; it always starts with Matthew shuffling into our room to use the toilet. After washing his hands noisily, he proceeds to stand beside me. “MaMa,” he says in a loud whisper while tapping me, “Can I (switch) on my light now?”

It doesn’t matter if it is 0545hrs or 0600hrs, the question is always the same. If I say no, it’s not 6am yet or it’s too early, he will shuffle back into his room only to be back 5 minutes later to repeat the tapping, stage whisper and question. And if I say yes, he will jog back to his room and switch on his room light with a tap loud enough to wake his sister in the room opposite. Now, Megan is starting to adopt the same routine like the brother.

Then mayhem starts. The siblings will either be shrieking with joy playing together, or shrieking with anger playing together. The bottomline is, I am thereby denied my sleep.

Granted, it will be time for me to wake up in 10 to 15 minutes later anyway. But the truth is, the ‘extra’ 10 to 15 minutes are precious to me. They decide how my day will start, and make the difference to the functionality of my day. The lost 15 minutes cannot be made up by any amount of caffeine for the rest of the day.

At night, the same I-don’t-want-to-sleep stuff happens. After the story-telling, tucking into bed with hugs, kisses, and simple massages, I heave half a sigh of relief while I go about my own business, knowing and expecting what is to come next.

If it is not the request for extra hugs, kisses and goodnight wishes, it will be “I scared scared” (think imaginery I-don’t-know-what-monsters), or imagined / real pains in the legs or hands that need extra tender loving care. And the instigator will almost always be Matthew. The less frequent bedtime-delaying excuses include weather too warm, fan is not blowing properly, need water because I’m thirsty, skin is itchy needs more moisturiser. As long as it offers a reason to get out of his bed. And the latest addition to his slew of delay tactics – I have a bad dream.

Is he the only kid who can have a bad dream before he even falls asleep?

And I have not even come to the exchange of banter with his sister across the room.

After a long day, I get riled up very easily with these frequent disruptions of peace. I shout and threaten, standing with my hands on my hips in the corridor separating their rooms, like a shrew every night. And I am beginning to get really tired of this routine.

Why didn’t anyone wave the crystal ball in my face, before I signed up for this, this thing called parenthood? That I will age before my time; hairs greyer by the day and the dark circles around my eyes spreading their territory merrily.

I’m advised to hug this bad deal dear to my heart, to suck it all up and count my blessings, for there will come a day when the kids will stop seeking my attention, even stop calling for me. And that day is supposedly not far away now.

I know all these are part and parcel of parenthood; but right now all I wish for is some peace, planned like a well-timed alarm clock. Not a minute less, not a minute more…

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