Sunday, March 3, 2013

Past Deadline: Losing Sleep Over It

Here’s the latest Past Deadline, published Feb. 28/13 in The Perth Courier.

Losing sleep over it

Sleep, or the potential lack of it, was on my mind last weekend.

See, both children had sleepovers on the weekend. My hairdresser calls them “stay overs,” since not much sleeping takes place.

Boychild was off at a friend’s house for his late-night adventure and came home a little bleary eyed.

Girlchild’s event was at our house. It was the first time a friend has stayed over, and it was the first non-family sleepover for Girlchild’s friend, so it was a Momentous Occasion™.

Since the girls amassed more than eight solid hours’ sleep, which is several hours more than I’d counted on, I am going to call it a success.

As usual, I got less. I think I subconsciously anticipated being awakened at all hours, so I stayed up later than I should have reading a good book. Staying up late didn’t stop my silly busy brain from waking me up too early in order to toss and turn.

What is UP with that? I mean, as parents we survive the sleepless years of feedings and diaper changes and bad dreams and barfies and cats doing stupid things (Buster, may he rest in peace, was famous for yowling around the house, while MacGregor loves to rattle metal window blinds) – and for what?

Just when the kids can find the bathroom on their own in the night and no one needs to be fed at 3 a.m., the adult brain decides to start goofing around and preventing sleep. Frustrating!

I have always preferred to get things done before going to bed rather than getting up early to finish a task. I always figured my alarm wouldn’t go off or I would hit snooze too many times. Now it seems I have finally developed an internal alarm clock that I kind of wish I didn’t have.

It appears I am turning into my parents. I could never understand why, even when my brother and I were teenagers and slept in on weekends, my parents would be up at the crack of dawn as usual – like any other regular work day.

It’s not that I want to sleep in until all hours. Sleeping too long feels like a waste of the day and then I have trouble sleeping the next night. But waking up two hours before the alarm goes off is just…well…annoying, especially when I already stay up too late. I shudder to think of what time I would be up if I went to bed earlier.

Sure, as a “grown up” there are lots of things to “lose sleep over.” I mean, we probably all think about money and work and kids and volunteering and things that could go wrong and falling pianos and committee meetings and the elderly cat and that thing you did when you were 17 and genetic mutations and funny sounds and where the lost things went and so on. Right?

(Have you seen that TV commercial for the nighttime pain reliever? “What if the hokey pokey really IS what it’s all about?” Hehehe.)

Most of the topics that wake me up seem so much worse before the sun rises and the first coffee is had, but sometimes it’s just too darned early to get up despite the fact tossing and turning is unproductive.

Once I am upright, mobile and caffeinated, however, the world seems much more manageable. Well mostly. At least I can start doing something about it instead of lying around fretting.

For now I will gladly take whatever sleep comes and will seek inspiration from peeking at the kids and the elderly cat when they are blissfully snoozing. Some herbal tea probably wouldn’t hurt….

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