We usually hear the footsteps approaching from down the hall (having a 1926 Old Spanish style home with wood floors, it’s not uncommon, as small steps sometimes make big noise, especially in the silence of a night’s sleep).
I can usually tell by the sound of the steps, whether the culprit is my 6-year-old daughter or my 3-year-old son that is heading towards our bedroom. They walk past my side of the bed and beeline to Mommy’s side (probably, thinking correctly that my wife is more receptive to the intrusion). Then, I feel them climb into bed.
It seems that several times a week, either my son or daughter end up finding their way into our bed in the early morning hours (occasionally they both do) and interrupting the soundness of our sleep.
Having a queen size mattress, that has seen better days over the past 12 years (we have been meaning to replace it for, at least, the last four), it seems the kids always end up rolling into the “pit” (the noticeable indentation on my side, which, at this point, doesn’t matter how many times we flip the mattress).
Not long after getting into bed, I feel the first smack of an arm in the face, or knee in my side, or my right arm starting to tingle from a loss of blood flow or a foot fight over the bed sheets. Annoyances that would warrant an immediate response of tossing the child off the bed but, in my deep slumber, just try to shove them (towards my wife) and continue sleeping.
It’s funny, my older daughter would always get kicked out of our bed (she was the first and we had a lot more energy to fend her off back then). By our second child, we started getting more lenient and now, by our third, my wife actually helps them up herself (yeah, maybe that’s not what parenting experts will advise but, at this point in our life, it takes too much effort to wake up and force them back to their room. Hopefully, it won't catch up with us in the future!).
Fortunately, they don't sleep in our bed all night. We usually get the little guest sometime between 5:00am and 7:00am, which during weekdays, is not as disruptive. However, on the weekends, it can take a toll, especially on nights that we go out and go to bed late, as we did this past weekend.
Both Friday and Saturday nights, my wife and I had parties to attend and burned the candle at both ends (although, for me, that’s not saying much since anything past 10:00pm, is already past my bedtime).
Friday night, we had a fundraiser for my men’s church group, which was an open bar, roasted pig and karaoke affair for about 100 of our closest friends.
Saturday night, we had our daughters' school's Kindergarten Parents’ Social, which was also a large event with an open bar, food, music, dancing and many Jell-O shots (I'm sure our parish pastor and school principal would de-emphasize the latter at a school parents party but, hey, the purpose of the gathering is to get to know the people we will be socializing with during the next nine years or so. What better way to get to know someone then with Jell-O shots?).
On both nights, we got home at a reasonable time (although way past my bedtime) and on both nights, we had a little visitor come to interrupt our night just when we thought we were going to sleep in a little longer.
To make it worse, on Saturday morning, our daughter apparently came when she was ready to get up and started kicking her leg on the bed and talking. By 4:00pm, I was exhausted and, while my wife worked out (her way of relaxing), I fell asleep (my way of relaxing). Fortunately, my Mother-In-Law came over to take the kids out to an early dinner before babysitting for the night and I was able to get some much-needed beauty sleep before getting ready for the parents’ party.
Sunday, both my daughter and son ended up in our bed and, if that weren’t bad enough, our Rottweiller, Garbo, started barking to be let out shortly after the break of dawn. I had to get up, turn off the security alarm, and go let the dog out. By the time, I got back to bed, my older daughter, who is almost impossible to wake up for school during the week, had also made her way into our bed (in my spot).
We ended up waking up early and were at morning Mass by 9:00am (as most parents know, sleep deprivation is part of the job description, and I've heard, it only gets worse!).
This week, instead of looking forward to the weekend (we have another party Friday night), I'm looking forward to the work week, to hopefully get a little more rest.