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Sanity Central > Columns > Stretchmarks on My Sanity

A Hard Day's Night
by Linda Sharp

There is something about lying down at the end of a long hard day. Maybe it's the softness of the down comforter. Maybe it's the silence that envelopes you like a shroud. Perhaps, it's just the simple fact that you are no longer standing up. Whatever it is, it is my favorite part of the day. For under my roof, we have a rule that states: From 9pm - 6am, the children belong to DADDY. Lost your blankey? Want a drink of water? Need a booger man check? The children do not even holler my name. If their problem involves a trip to our bedroom, they go straight to HIS side of the bed.

Handed down by the highest court in the hacienda (ME), this law evolved during my third pregnancy. Exhausted from riding herd on two children during the day and my inability to sleep well at night, thanks to the tiny Rockette I was carrying, something had to give. Any period of sleep I was enjoying would invariably be interrupted by that plaintive wail, known so well by all mothers, "MOMMMMMMYYYYYYYYYYY!" I would get up, actually it was more of a roll out, and go tend to their 2am emergencies, while my husband, the SnoreMeister would burrow further into my side of the covers. Well, they weren't yelling for him were they?

That defense was very similar to the one he used all the nights I would be up every two hours breastfeeding. "Well, I can't breastfeed the baby, can I?" I bought that excuse during our first child's period of nursing. It was with our second child that I wised up. Sitting in bed one night at 1am, watching him continue the love affair with his pillow, the resentment, the fatigue, the inequity finally made me snap. I don't consciously remember doing it, but my foot kicked his butt so hard he almost fell out of bed. "Get me a diaper," I growled. "Huh?" Up again at 3am, I kicked him, he continued to snore. Realizing Rip Van Winkle was in need of a more personal wake-up call, I reached under the covers and yanked his underwear to his shoulderblades. "What the #$@%!!!??" "GET ME A DRINK OF WATER." So it continued from that night forward. ( I think he still has indentations from the night I wore his golf cleats to bed.)

So, there we were, halfway through another pregnancy, and I was still playing parental yo-yo. Up and down, up and down. Finding stuffed animals that had fallen out of bed. Navigating sleepy toddlers to the toilet. My personal favorite was the period my oldest went through with night terrors. For those of you not familiar with the term, imagine a 4 year old, bolt upright in bed, eyes wide open, speaking a language containing no vowels, punctuated by banshee like screams. Sounds horrible doesn't it? Well, it's not . . . for the child. Their eyes might be open, but no one is home. They are actually sound asleep and do not remember a thing in the morning when they are inquiring about the dark circles under your eyes. It was after another of those nights that the edict was handed down. From that night forward, MOMMY would be considered a four letter word. If you needed a drink, a Barney retrieval, or just an audience for your Swahili incantations, DADDY was now your man. The children nodded. Daddy agreed, out of fear of what sporting equipment I would use on him, did he not comply.

My nights have been wonderful ever since. The children no longer shout my name, but his. He has become a much lighter sleeper, and handles the nocturnal problems of all three with aplomb. Don't get me wrong. If they are ill, by all means, Mommy will get up. I will happily hold them while DADDY forks the spew from the carpet at 2am. And if they have a bad dream? They are more than welcome to join us in bed, on HIS side. I deserve this. After years of sleepless nights, I am blessed to live the words of the bard . . . "To sleep, perchance to dream." Wait. Scratch that. "To sleep, perchance . . . . . TO SLEEP!" Zzzzzzzzzz

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