i don't always sleep as i should. meaning, i should sleep solidly, for long stretches of time without interruption from any other living thing. i should sleep until my body eases awake with stretches and yawns. i should sleep until i am done sleeping.
this stopped happening over 10 years ago now.
i wake up for strange unknown reasons. i wake up for obvious annoying reasons. i wake up when children wake up or when i think they wake up. i wake up to make sure they are sleeping. i wake up. i wake up. i wake up.
but they don't. they sleep like logs fallen into a mossy green bed of lush fairy dust. they sleep like a boat on calm waves. they sleep like the biggest concern they had in the past 12 hours was that their mother didn't let them eat ketchup for dinner. they sleep like they are sandwiched between the two biggest, strongest hearts they know. they sleep until they wake up.
most of the time their sleeping and my sleeping are mostly in sync. sometimes they are a few hours off- i get up at 6 am. or i go to sleep at 10 pm. they nap while i blog. i nap while they....what are they doing while i nap?
and that's the thing. who knows what they do while i sleep and they do not. because this does happen sometimes. sometimes the sleep patterns are so crazy confused because i am up taking care of them and their fevers, their nightmares, their bed wetting, their mindless demands to nurse at 2:48 am....that by the time they are fully awake i am dead asleep.
case in point: monday morn.
papa is leaving town at 5:15 am on monday morn, so the big son decides he must sleep in the bedroom. two boys in bed with two grown ups has proven to be tortuous- so he pulls in the futon chair cushion- dragging it along the unfinished oak floors- dusting a path through legos, laundry and cat hair- and plops it at the end of the bed. small son decides immediately this is his bed and refuses to let big son do anything to this bed. all pillows and blankets are banished. it's 10 pm and i am repeating my mantra "it's time to go to sleep" as i myself drift toward drooling.
however, small son took an epic nap and all his cells are screaming "disco!" everyone else is asleep- well, i am as asleep as a mama can be whose 3 year old is not yet asleep, and small son is collecting books on the small bed- as big son rests right where he wants to be, next to departing papa.
several times, the light that i am not allowed to turn off is eclipsed by a large head and a soft voice saying "mama" while he thrusts something toward me. i mumble. i turn over. i try very hard to ignore him. but even as i begin to dream i hear him commenting on the book he is studying "dat bug gots big claws. he'll pinch you. he's eyes are big. he's scary."
i'm surprised i didn't dream kafka.
at 4 am papa awakes. and so do i. i sit on the couch like a mushroom, swollen and slow. he talks at me- i cannot comprehend. i have wild fantasies of making muffins to send him to the airport with but i don't even have the energy to imagine this. and then suddenly big son is awake. then papa is leaving, whisked away by a co-workers car and it's piercing headlines cutting through our dark kitchen. then big son is crying- that irrational and untouchable fear we get when parents leave. then small son awakes on the floor- frightened by the view of eye level rocking chair and the deep, dark, depths of the belly of the bed. it's not even 7 am yet.
by 7 am- i am back in bed. small son joins me at some point- his small chilled body curls into mine- and even tho i worry big son is looking up lego wars on youtube, i fall asleep.
strange words filter into my dreams but i push them away. i dream that i wake up as a big wind blows through the bedroom and presses the boys against the southern wall. but the wind is cooling and spirited so we all just laugh at her.
from a corner of the my mind comes a repetitive "hey!" it's from the left corner of my mind to be exact. from the left corner of the house- i realize as i wake more fully. somewhere near the back porch. the "hey!" is not hurried or worried, but persistent. a bit annoyed.
like i was, stumbling out of bed at 7:28. i walk less than 10 steps from the bed to the sun room- the back room of our home that faces east that is often flooded with morning sun- to find small son on the back porch. he is wearing a green striped t-shirt and nothing else. well, there is strange yellow smears on various parts of his chub. i stumble forward 10 more steps to the sliding glass door that separates him from me to find it locked.
from the inside- because that's the only way this slider can be locked.
i unlatch it clumsily and am greeted by a cheery kid holding a bright yellow bottle of mustard sans lid. his finger tips are also bright yellow i notice as he says "hi mom!" like it's nothing new to be locked out on the back porch, half naked with a bottle of mustard.
big son is below the deck in the yard, looking up at me sheepishly.
"did you lock him out here?" i croak out in my morning pre-coffee voice.
he replies with his eyes looking up at me "yeah. he was trying to hit me with a hammer."
and my parting thought as i trudge toward the bathroom, not at all surprised by the morning's sense of humor- although completely still sleep-deprived and mostly numb is "how come i never can find the hammer when i need it?"