headache

I know the same-old story — of course we’re not going to sleep with little kids in the house.

Babies will wake up and want to be fed and changed. Toddlers will have nightmares. Someone wants a sip of water.

Believe me, I get it.

I also get that my future will have sleepless nights when they are able to drive and have a social life in high school. Let’s put a pin in that for now.

But right now, let’s talk about the bedroom hustle.

Some nights start out real promising. The little kids are in bed. No one is crying. We watched a show together! A full show!

Post-midnight, the bedroom hustle starts with one cry — the baby. We get him changed and lay him back down. Done. Back to bed.

Then the toddler cries; she's inconsolable. I remind her that every thing is OK and if she stays in her bed until morning, the sleep fairy will come!

No dice. 

The toddler officially moves into our bed.

The baby cries again. But it's the husband’s turn! The baby has a full-blown night terror and must be bounced around the house to settle him down.

When the husband returns to bed, the toddler taking up his side whines if he attempts to move her towards the middle.

So he takes up residence on the couch.

Suddenly, the alarm goes off. It's time to start the day — and that was considered a good night.

I call it the "bedroom hustle" since we’re working so hard to just try to lay back down in our warm bed and get a little bit of uninterrupted sleep before the start of a new day.

Some nights I don’t even fight it. I hear the baby cry, hand the husband a bottle for him to soothe our youngest and immediately grab the toddler (who is still sleeping) and place her in our bed. Let's just cut out the climax of our nightly play.

Thank goodness for mom friends. I get to hear about their own bedroom hustles.

One bought a larger bed for her youngest so she can just sleep in there most nights to guarantee at least a few hours of sleep. One mother just leaves the bedroom door open, and in the morning can count on having one or both of her boys in her bed. She keeps a loud bedside fan for this very reason. One mother has reached the sleep nirvana with her children; she puts them to bed and they stay in there and sleep all night. However, she can’t rest and continues to check on them periodically through the night.

I have faith in coffee and under-eye concealer. I have faith that I’ll still encounter those glorious evenings where everyone sleeps and I wake up waiting for cartoon bluebirds to help bathe and dress me for the day. I have faith in overnights with grandma and grandpa (hint, hint).

Finally, I have faith that one day the night will not seem so scary to such small people.

I will miss an elbow (attached to a small arm) to the temple. I will miss crocodile tears, blankies and sippy cups of water. Maybe someday I’ll even miss a complete and utter dependency on caffeine.

However, today, I’m at work hoping, wishing and dreaming that for just this one night, I'll get some freaking sleep.

***

Kristine Rohwer resides in Omaha, Nebraska, with her husband, step-son, daughter, son and two neurotic dogs.

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