The Thrill Of (walking up in the middle of) The NightAllana Harkin
As soon as you become a parent you immediately become accustomed to three things:
1. Bouncing up and down (and continuing to bounce up and down even when alone).
2. Bodily fluids that are not your own.
3. And, the ability to bolt out of bed at 3 a.m. like an Olympic sprinter as soon as you hear the littlest cry.
Admittedly, I was never great at getting up in the middle of the night. Mostly due to the fact that I’m wearing ear plugs … and an eye mask … and a mouth guard. Don’t worry, if I start wearing oven mitts, I’ll get help.
I became addicted to ear plugs out of sheer necessity and while working out of town living in a hotel whose front entrance seemed to be the meeting place for drunk university students to momentarily pause and scream out things out like:
“I LOVE YOU. You are the shittiest boyfriend ever! I hate you! Come home with me!”
and my favourite:
“I’m so drunk. Let’s go to McDonald’s!”
The ear plugs saved me, but have now become somewhat of an addiction. But the downside to wearing ear plugs for years is that they no longer work as I now possess bionic hearing and would essentially need to wear noise canceling headphones to truly sleep through the night. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried sleeping on your side while wearing large headphones but it hurts. My only option is layering pillows on my head and potentially smothering myself. All-in-all, I’m a blast to sleep next to!
My husband, of course, has no issues what-so-ever and can wake up with the kids one minute and be fast asleep the next. I can do this as well, but I first need to make myself a snack, pay the gas bill, check out Facebook, look through pictures of my children that I haven’t developed, feel bad that I haven’t developed any pictures, go back into my children’s room to hug them because I feel bad that I haven’t developed any recent photos, wake up toddler by accident, try and sneak out of room, bang shin into “kitty house,” wake up my 5-year-old, say things like “go back to sleep” even though it’s entirely my fault that they are awake again, go back downstairs, considering eating peanut butter straight off a banana, play mind games with myself that other people wake up at 4:30 a.m. and start working — why not me?! Hear husband flush toilet, realize I’ve woken up the entire house, creep back into bed, insert pointless ear plugs, put on eye mask, spoon husband, which seems more like smothering, and then slowly drift off to sleep after 55 minutes of thinking about who I need to email in the morning.
So who wants to share a hotel room?!
It’s not always so dramatic. Just a few days ago I could hear my 2-year-old shuffling around in her bed (you suck earplugs) and then a little cough. I knew she was still sleeping, but I thought it may be worth putting the vaporizer on in her room because the whole house had been dealing with a chest cough. So I slowly opened her door and peaked into the pitch black room. She seemed to be asleep but I couldn’t tell so I moved closer until I was about a hands width away from her face. Was she asleep?
Ah! She was staring at me with full round eyes and her hands behind her head.
“Is it wake-up time?”
“No love, it’s the middle of the night. You need to go sleepies. Momma is going to sleep now, too (yeah right).”
“I want to get up now with you.”
And suddenly I was struck by a couple of things. First, holy crap, she was seriously awake. And secondly, when did she start communicating so clearly? Obviously, I talk with my children constantly, but in the middle of the night with the city so silent and her hands crossed behind her head I had this moment of … when did you grow up so fast? Did I miss something? Is it because she’s the second child that I haven’t noticed time moving so quickly? And then I did the only thing that made sense …
I climbed into bed with her. Stroked her hair, told her how much I loved her and rubbed her back until she fell back to sleep while I just stared at her.
Because sometimes sleeping isn’t so important and life can be so short.
And then magically, I fell fast asleep.
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