Monday, July 22, 2013

Sleep Talk

I think I have an abnormal affection for sleep.  For as long as I can remember, I've been a huge fan of long nights, sleeping in late and mid-afternoon naps.  I'm sure there was probably a time in my life where I was up at 2am, refused to nap and didn't sleep in past 6am, but I personally have no recollection of those days. 

In high school, when all the kids were staying up late watching....whatever it was kids watched at 10pm in the late '80's, I really have no clue....I was in bed by 8pm. Even when I was old enough to have a bedtime that nobody really enforced, I was in bed by 8pm.  I was growing.  I needed my beauty sleep. 

It's odd.  I know.  What kind of teenager does that?!

One year, my mom used this bit of trivia to plan a surprise party for 8am on a Saturday morning.  There was NO CHANCE I would have been out of bed early enough to ruin that surprise.

In college, I thought I had died and gone to heaven where I could pick the days and times for my classes.  10am classes?  Yes, please!   I never pulled an all-nighter.  Ever.  If I hadn't learned what I needed to know by 10pm the night before a test, so be it.  I very nearly completed my Bachelor's degree without ever taking an 8am class.  Mineralology broke the trend.  It was a four-hour lab class (8am-noon) that I had to take to complete my minor in Geology.  I kept putting it off, hoping it would be offered as an afternoon class.  As my final semester approached, I realized I was going to have to drop the minor or bite the bullet and take this stupid morning class.  So, I put on my big girl panties and did it. (Because Lord knows what sort of disaster my life would be without that Geology minor noted on my diploma....) I took one 8am class my entire college career. 

I got a D.  It was the first and last D I ever received my whole life.  Coincidence?  I think not. 

I just hate being tired. That's really the bottom line.  I enjoy sleep but I absolutely loathe trying to function when I'm tired.  I can't stand the physical exertion it takes to keep my eyes open when I haven't had enough sleep.  When I don't get a good 8 hours in, I have a hard time being happy.  Or polite.  Or human. 

I have come to the harsh realization that this love affair with sleep is essentially incompatible with motherhood.  When I was pregnant with my daughter and people told me that infants generally feed every 2-3 hours, around the clock, I flat out did not believe them.  No way. It's physically impossible.  I thought "other" babies were probably not gifted (like my children clearly would be).  I convinced myself that every other parent, magazine article and baby how-to book was trying to scare me and it was all a big scam.

And then my newborn was nursing at 10pm, and then midnight, 2am, 4am, and 6am.  I thought I would die.  No joke.  I really thought I would drop dead from the sheer exhaustion that comes with parenting an infant. After surviving childbirth (Natural childbirth!!), the aftermath of sleep deprivation almost did me in. I had no noble ambitions of making it look easy and no energy to pep-talk myself with the reminder that parents have survived these long days and nights for thousands of years.  I was spent.  Heck, I am still tired just thinking about it.

The kids are older now, and thankfully sleep through the night for about 11 hours.  It's a beautiful thing.  Except for the fact that those 11 hours usually come to a screeching halt around 6am. We've tried a later bedtime, feeding them more, earlier bedtimes, you name it.  They are just determined to be early birds.  Which, you may notice, doesn't really jive with my lust for sleep.  These days, the first thing I see every morning is this little face:

And the first thing I hear is, "Mommy.  Breakfast." 

There's no cuddling. No, "Pssst.  Mommy.  Good  morning.  I love you."

Just my title.  And his list of demands.

Alright.  I admit he is pretty cute.  And when he's not acting his age he can be quite charming. His big sister wore me out and broke me in on this getting-up-early-every-single-morning gig. So much so that it's become almost habit.  My internal alarm appears to be broken and goes off by 6am even if there is no little person breathing in my face demanding his first meal of the day.  I won't say I'm actually happy to be awake.  But I am able to get out of bed in the early hours of the morning and not curse like a sailor when I see the clock. 

It's progress. 

I figure I'll be transitioned to a real morning person just about the time my kids hit puberty, stop talking to me, and start sleeping until noon.  Since I won't be busy cooking anyone breakfast, I'll have plenty of time to plan the perfect Saturday morning surprise party.

What kind of mother does that?!

Only the good ones. 

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