Daddy Is a Softie, or How I Sleep

There are certain things about my kids that I begrudge now but that I’ll miss later on. I realize that, but then there are other activities that I will never ever remember fondly. Sleeping with my children is one of the latter I’m sure. Most nights one of my boys crawls into bed with me, my wife is in their bed with the other (to be fair, my wife has it a lot worse, but this is my story not hers). It’s ridiculous I know but them not sleeping on their own has been going on so long that it seems like it’s going to have to run its natural course.

In the meantime, I have fitful sleeps at least a few times a week. Both boys crowd me, pushing me to the very edge of the bed. Five-year-old B likes to throw his left leg over me. His elbows and knees are usually digging into my side or back. I throw him off only to wake with him attached to my side again. Two-year-old G is not big enough to put his leg over me but he can wrap his arms around and under my head as he did one recent night. I also woke at one point when his tiny fingers were digging into my eyes and nostrils.

Five years ago, we decided not to sleep train because we could not stand the sound of our baby crying. Now it’s come back to haunt us both. Perhaps it’s a small price to pay but at 2:30 am it sure seems like a big deal.

UPDATE: When I originally composed the previous three paragraphs on Thursday, I had no satisfactory ending and was unsure whether I’d publish them. Then came last night. Most every evening Mama lays down with the two boys around 7:30 and they fall asleep around 8. Around 8:30, however, there was still stirring upstairs, and then I heard Mama open the baby gate and trudge downstairs. Then came G: Mama, I wanna come down, followed by insults when she told him “no.”

I came out to the kitchen and whispered to Mama and G heard me. “Daddy, come get me. Daddy, come get me.” All I wanted to do was sit on the couch, eat popcorn, and watch football, so I fought the urge to go up and grab my baby and jumped in the shower instead. When I got out and got dressed he was still upstairs asking to come down and then he deciphered my footsteps. “Daddy, come get me.”

I tried to resist but the little voice was so sad. I knew it would ruin my night and that it’d probably be better for him to just stay up there and eventually go to sleep on his own but I am a softie, always have been, and my two boys know this, that I am a sucker for them. One more plea from G and I looked at my wife who told me I could go get him but that she didn’t want anything to do with it.

So I went upstairs and grabbed him and took him in the TV room. For the next hour-and-a-half, I fetched G water and milk and popcorn, trying to keep him from spilling all three. He never sat still and talked my ear off: how he wanted to watch Power Rangers, what color of popsicle he would eat tomorrow, where was Mama, and on and on until his mother mercifully came in around ten and took him upstairs.

He eventually fell asleep in my bed where I joined him an hour later. After staying up for so long, G was so tired that he was like a dead weight in the middle of the bed with little of the usual harassment of me. I guess that was one upside of bringing him down.

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How Do I Sleep?

I can’t sleep when my kids are gone. I’m on day two or three of a mini-break from the children–they are with Mama visiting their Nana and Papa–and I need them to return so I can get a proper night’s rest. It might seem odd considering that B and G both produce a lot of noise during the wee wee hours–it’s not unusual for one or both to wake up crying at some point–but I can’t doze without the sounds they make.

Part of it is living in an overly quiet suburb. I like being in the city where you can hear car doors slamming or a late night driver whiz by, not the still of the night where the creaks of the house mingle with your own breathing. Part of it is that I’m an extreme chicken and have been ever since my father subjected me to episodes of The Twilight Zone with Talky Tina when I was only four.

I think most of the problem, though, is that I am an incomplete organism without my two little boys. They are like my appendages at this point, I really don’t know what to do without them, and I feel this most acutely in the dead of night, when there are no diversions available. B and G, I need you to come back home.


No Rest for the Weary Mama

I like to talk about how exhausted I am as a result of staying home with toddler B and baby G, and it is tiring, sometimes it even seems like they are little parasites that live to just suck off my life-force, but it is nothing like what their mother goes through. She heads off to work five days a week, then comes home and has to deal with the kids and me (usually beat down and cranky after spending the day with her … Uh, our children) for the next four or five hours until the wee ones go to bed. The next couple hours are hers, usually she just vegetates in front of the TV, and then the real work begins because both boys rely on her throughout the night.

Understandably, Baby G needs to suckle but then B frequently wakes and wants to know where she is and demands that she sleep with him (he wants nothing to do with me). Sometimes that is in our bed, at other times in his tiny IKEA one. This week has already been rough. Monday night, it seemed that B and G were conspiring to keep her from rest as they took turns waking up on the hour every hour. Then Tuesday night, around 2:30, B woke up screaming like he was demon possessed and it took a while for both of us to talk him down. By then, G was fully awake and making baby sounds that would normally be cute but not at that point. Then last night, B woke screeching again but because he’d peed himself she had to help him change. Worse, baby G was congested all night so she had to repeatedly get up to clear his nasal passages so he could eat, or just sleep. Except for my assistance Tuesday night, I usually wake up but then just roll over and drift back to unconsciousness, saving up my energy for the next day. No such luck for Mama.