By stephbernaba on January 17, 2012
I used to be a lingerer. In bed. I was a window-darkening-hotel-room-shade type of person, generally disgruntled by the sight of sunshine before I was prepared to see it. When I could get away with it, I'd slide out of bed at nine-thirty, ten-thirty, and if I was feeling particularly indulgent, eleven o'clock.
This did not win me many fans, my family particularly, for having to deal with my second-shift body clock, the trips to the grocery store at seven or eight at night, and working until eleven or midnight several days a week.
When I met my soon-to-be husband, we were both working rotating shifts. Consequently, there were no conflicts with respect to availability. We understood and respected one another's schedules.
And, boy, did we like to sleep.
Fast forward to this morning...
It was about five.
I awoke groggily to a rhythmic pushing on my lower back. I thought it might be a cat settling onto the bed. I dozed back off.
Shortly thereafter, I awoke to another nudge. "What the hell?" I thought as I rolled over, my contacts sticking to my eyelids. Over my hip, I spied a little head. A little curly-haired, toddler-sized head, resting on my back, hammock-style, with his feet up on his father, asleep. Dammit. Here he is again.
Every night we've been waking to my darling toddler, sometimes tucked neatly between us under the blankets, sometimes with his feet on our throats, sometimes splayed out on top of us like this morning, sleeping soundly.
If we're conscious enough, one of us returns him from whence he came. More often, we don't. Have I mentioned the twins still aren't sleeping through the night?
Waking up with a toddler in your bed, oddly enough, doesn't take much getting used to, especially with three entitled, fourteen-pound cats all up in your Kool-Aid every night.
What I can't get used to is what happens after he's decided he's slept enough, and that you have, too.
Stage 1 of Operation Wakeup consists of light-to-moderate tapping on the head and face accompanied by, "Mom! Mom! Mommy! Mom!" When that doesn't work, he moves onto Dad. "Daddy Daddy!" Tap, tap, tap. "Dadeeeee!" Sometimes we stir, other times we pretend we're asleep, hoping he'll get the hint and do the same. If he does manage to get an answer from one of us, he asks, "Eggies? Juice? Ki-kul? (Michael?) Maggie? Juice?" to which we respond that we'll be making breakfast shortly, and to let Momma and Dada finish sleeping.
It's at this point he considers his circumstances, lies down for a bit, swirls his arms in the air, then subsequently pole vaults himself over one of us and off the bed.
This reprieve is short-lived, however.
Operation Wakeup Stage 2 consists of finding various household objects and placing them on and around us. One morning last week, I woke up with a smoke detector we had taken down under my pillow.
Here's the general order of things: TV remote and cell phone go on my face, slippers on my shoulder, and my glasses on the pillow, plus or minus a few Chuck & Friends Tonka trucks.
Occasionally he lines his trucks up down my husband's body. The current record is five.
Despite all this, we manage to continue sleeping, or trying to at least.
When these efforts fail, he moves onto Stage 3, Complete and Utter Destruction. Stage 3 usually begins with my son turning the glass of water we keep on the nightstand over onto the rug while yelling, "Uh oh!" and pointing at the spot. When I sit up, he cackles and flies out of the room, returning with my wallet, the Realemon from the fridge, or the broom. (FYI: those fridge locks don't work.)
"Matthew!" I shriek. He cackles again and runs away.
And then we get up.
So, it's working.
At this point, we consider six hours of sleep a victory.
By that calculation, I'd consider us total losers.
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