Thursday, September 2, 2010

Do You Rememer That Thing Known As "Sleep"?

sleep n. A natural periodic state of rest for the mind and body, in which the eyes usually close and consciousness is completely or partially lost, so that there is a decrease in bodily movement and responsiveness to external stimuli. -

I faintly recall a time in my life when I could sleep for 12 hour stretches, without so much as a drink of water or a bathroom break. Sometimes I wonder: Did that really happen or did I just dream that I once slept for 12 hours?  It is true, though that at the ripe, old age of 16 I felt the need to stay in bed long after the rooster crowed, was plucked and baked in a pie. Wow. That seems like such a long time ago. I'll let you in on a little secret: As I type it is now 9:40 pm and I really should be in bed. Not a creature is stirring, not even the husband. The kids are asleep by 8(ish) and the baby can snooze for about seven hours at a time. If I were smart I would, too but, given a bit of spare time, I can accomplish a lot. The idea that doing dishes, laundry, checking e-mails or blogging could be accomplished kid-free is all too tempting.

Crap. It's 9:49 already. Soon it will be 10 o'clock and 1.5 hours past my "bedtime". Don't get me wrong-I love to sleep but motherhood changes everything. Day-to-day, minute-by-minute my priorities shift according to what is best, not only for the children, but for the household as a whole. Many times I have griped to my husband (a.k.a.The Innocent Bystander), "You don't understand. I would go and take a nap if this house weren't a total disaster area!! If I don't reorganize the Ziploc container drawer, who will?" Just let it go, he tells me. That is sound advice but easier said than done. Every evening I do as much as I can before bedtime to prepare for the day ahead. The diaper bags are stocked, bottles made, sippy cups filled, coffee maker set, clothing chosen and laid out, the cat's bowl filled. Did I forget anything? Oh--I can shower and wash my hair tonight to save time in the morning and my toenails have been neglected for way too long... Forget it. No time for that now. I feel too tired and overwhelmed at the moment.
It's 10:30 and I wonder where the time went. The muscles that control my eyelids are failing me. Time to shut the P.C. down and finish my story some other time. I must sleep now. Until tomorrow...

Okay! I'M BACK, bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and ready for another day. Seven hours of sleep can do wonders for my spirit. Just like the definition for sleep, I spent quality time resting during which I'm relatively certain my eyes were closed, my body movement decreased (when I wasn't tossing and turning), and I showed little response to external stimuli. The latter I know because my husband tended to our toddler when he woke up fussing and I miraculously slept right through it all. I have been falsely accused of routinely feigning sleep so that he will get up instead of me, which I adamantly deny. Just because I did that once, doesn't mean I do it all the time. So today, with new-found energy, enthusiasm and (hopeless) optimism I create my daily "To-Do" list. Included in the top five after "laundry" and before "vacuuming" I write: TAKE A NAP in all caps and underline it. Twice.
People who say they sleep like a baby usually don't have one.  ~Leo J. Burke