Less sleep, more often


You wouldn’t know it by looking at me, but I’ve been up awake since 3:45 this morning. Combine an overstimulating weekend with no exercise, a too early bedtime, and a kid dumping the dog on my bed in the middle of the night, and it’s like a no-sleep potion designed especially with me in mind.

It’s OK, though. I’m usually good on the first day after an iffy night. I’m giddy, I’m kidding around, I’m making my shots at tennis, I’m shopping at three stores in one morning and not even breaking a sweat. This sleep-deprived, get-it-done version of me is the one that makes my husband say, “Mom should get less sleep more often!” Two days from now, though? I’m wondering whether make-up and clever tailoring will conceal my freshly sprouted horns and tail.

My own sleep situation is making me think better of my children, whose less than ideal behavior I often label as “willful disobedience” even though it’s probably caused by something more like “radical exhaustion.” Let’s add up the facts: I didn’t want to get up on Saturday morning, and 11-year-old Jake didn’t either, but he didn’t just get up—he got up and played a regulation-length soccer game in a 40 degree nor’easter at eight-freaking-thirty in the morning! Add to that a junior cotillion ice breaker on Saturday afternoon, a sit up and be charming social engagement with family friends in the evening, church on Sunday morning, and a 2-hour classical music concert on Sunday afternoon, and you tell me how we’re doing on the exhaust-o-meter.

Babies, thankfully, rub their eyes when they’re tired. They nuzzle a parent’s neck. They get cranky and cry. Older kids, I have a feeling, just keep going wherever their parents tell them to, complaining or not, until they hit a steel-reinforced brick wall that will grow poison tipped spikes if watered with enough caffeine, sugar, and sit-still time.

So today I’ll give my kids a break. Not an “I’ll let you do whatever you want no matter how you behave” kind of break. More like an “I’m going to chuckle at your otherwise irritating antics like you’re trying to be funny and get you to bed at a reasonable hour so you can sleep it the heck off” kind of break.

Come to think of it, maybe I should take a dose of that medicine myself.



  1. Monica said,

    October 19, 2009 at 2:27 pm

    Ah sleep….what is that? I hear you, Cheryl. I’ve been sleep deprived now for about 3 years and 6 months or more and I still manage to get things done…albeit not that spectacularly. I’m hoping that Santa will grant me a few Christmas wishes and one of them being a full night’s sleep.

  2. Cheryl said,

    October 19, 2009 at 3:37 pm

    Spectacularly? Yes, this is happy day one. Wait until Wednesday when everything I say will come out as “Grrrrr.”

    I guess for insomniacs like me there’s always Nyquil, right?

  3. Lorraine said,

    October 21, 2009 at 5:42 am

    I often wake in the middle of the night, especially the night before school goes back from a holiday break and regularly Monday morning at around 2a, in a panic about what’s not done/ready. Then the brain won’t switch off and by the time I drift off into REM the rotten alarm goes off. Unfortunately unlike you I am tired and growly all day!
    PS Alonzo is behaving well and is quite popular with the class!

    • scheirmad said,

      October 21, 2009 at 9:57 am

      Well, now it’s 2 days out, and I am a little groggy, but true confessions to the online public are keeping me in line! So nice that Craig walked with Jake to the bus stop this morning (across from the State St. Inn) while I was still in bed with my electric blanket cranked comfortably up to 10.

      PS We received Alonzo’s postcard! Thanks!

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