The here and now and a bit of way back then

I relived my journey to 40 and found there's so much more to say

Sleep……..that precious commodity most wasted

on May 22, 2015

Yes I know that sleep, or lack of, is very topical amongst people with small children. It’s talked about right from pregnancy, to the sleepless nights of having a new born and from there on afterwards until new born is a teenager and how they then sleep all day and all night. How then we shall laugh and seek revenge and wake them up at 6am. But that’s not going to work. They’ll just ignore us and carry on sleeping. They’re not fine tuned to wake up at every snuffle or non snuffle to check why they’re not snufffling like all parents of small people are programmed to do.    

The reason why I’m talking about this right now is because at 10pm I have a lurker to the left of me. I know she’s there, she knows I know that she’s there. This has been going on for the last five nights.  

 It just started out of nowhere. One minute #3 is enjoying a daily two hour nap after the exertion of Part One of her day, waking up refreshed for Part Two and then going to bed after bath time, milk, story time, getting into sleeping bag, put her in cot, kiss Goodnight twice and walk off for Happy Hour. Though actually Happy Hour starts after #1 and 2 are in bed which is often trickier after delaying tactics such as ‘Just one more story please Mummy’, ‘I need a wee’, ‘I need a poo’, ‘I’m thirsty’, ‘Turn the lamp off’, ‘Turn the lamp on’ and so on.
I don’t know why I’m surprised when I’ve been through this twice before.  

Yes, the newborn days and early months are blackholes of sleep deprived nights and bleary incoherent days. But they pass sooner than you think. You have a surprisingly large amount of Grown Up time in the evenings again. You pride yourself on having one of those babies who ‘self soothe’ as the Generic Parenting Guides term it. Who don’t need hours of patting or rocking to sleep. Who go to bed and you can guarantee they won’t wake you up until the morning light arrives.  

Some people say they have good sleepers and some say they don’t. Either way, this day will come to all parents when they have a lurker hanging around silently in the hallway or just outside the living room door. When you thought they were safely tucked up in bed fast asleep after years of following a stable and comforting bedtime routine as prescribed by the Generic Parenting Guides.  

What they do not tell you is that this is by no means going to last forever. No. It doesn’t. One day, all of a sudden, they let you think they’re going to bed like normal. You in your naivety go off and enjoy your two hours of ME time, Happy Hour, watch crap tv and all other kinds of time wasting activity that you are free to do.  

Until you feel a presence. Like a Darth Vader/Luke Skywalker parental intuition thing.  

So I suspect it’s one of the three lurking around. Usually #1 and 2 are more blatant and vocal about their lurking but #3 is rather a rookie at this. I go off tentatively in search of the out of bed activist and sure enough #3 is just stood there looking very cute and innocent in her pyjamas. I take her back to bed and she complies willingly. But it’s too late. She has figured out that one can get out of bed before the morning light arrives.  

We continue this dance for two and a half hours. There is no longer any ME time, Happy Hour, watch crap tv and all other kinds of time wasting activity that you are free to do. I miss it already. 


Emboldened by Night One of lurking activity and no admonishment from Husband or myself (because we misguidedly thought it was a one off), the lurking continues into Night Two. And I know it’s happening and yet as I go and investigate the rustling and snuffling going on in the hallway, I still manage to yelp in alarm at finding a small child lurking in the semi dark. She then starts crying out in fright, quite naturally as you would if your own Mum screams at the sight of you.  

By Night Three, #3 has advanced in her nocturnal wanderings and with ninja stealth traverses from her room to ours and uses this opportunity of no watchful eyes to do as she pleases. She then just casually walks into the living room with almost full make up on and asks us ‘What are you doing Mummy?’.  

What am I doing? What are you doing? It’s 9.50pm and you’re wearing lipstick #3! Then she decides she needs to poo. And this always flummoxes me. How any of #1, 2 and 3 can just do a poo in the middle of the night if they’re awake and yet won’t have the need to do so if they’re asleep like they ought to be. I just don’t get it. I really don’t. 

So this is how my evenings have rolled this week. It is exhausting. You can get through the days adhering to the needs and demands of small people so long as you get a couple of hours to recharge and do all sorts of rubbish stuff. I need that time. Like we all do. To retreat into a cave and be by myself for a short while. 

So it gets to 11pm and #3 is finally asleep. She’s sleeping in our bed which most likely will be frowned upon by the authors of the Generic Parenting Guides but I don’t care. She’s asleep. And I am drinking beer, eating the Easter egg haul still remaining and working my way through a jumbo bag of crisps. My Dad, Mr Li always said I could only have one bag of crisps a day but he didn’t specify what size. 


Just a few days of this has really thrown me off kilter. Last night, I truly was so tired I could barely keep my eyes open at 10.30pm. I should have gone to bed. I know that. 

Except I’m not very good at that. I’m very much a night owl from my early years development training in late nights whilst waiting for family to finish work in the restaurants and takeaways they worked in. And I imagine like most parents of small people, you just can’t go to bed an hour or so after your small people have. So I tend to stay up later than I should.  

Sometimes my sleep deprived status is from my own doing. You know, when you just feel like rebelling a little and being a bit daring and staying up that hour or two later. Consider the consequences tomorrow. And tomorrow sometimes can be rather painful as a result. It’s worthwhile if you’ve spent this time not sleeping wisely, like hanging out with friends and drinking beer on a school night. That is rather risque. But what if you just spent it doing crap stuff? Was that worth it?  

We all need good quality sleep. It’s very easy to obtain and it’s free. People say Youth is wasted on the Young but actually it’s sleep. You just don’t know how good you have it being able to sleep whenever you like and sleep in whenever you like. Like what Students do. It’s rather cruel to give Students the gift of sleep with no one badgering them to get up and not waste the day like what parents do. Then to suddenly never be able to regain this level of sleep freedom again. I mourn the loss of those days. 

I didn’t gain enough sleep credit in those days to offset the sleep deficit I’m currently in. My sleep poker face is obviously rubbish as #1, 2 and 3 have won all my sleep poker chips.

And yet, I am not helpng myself am I? #3 is finally asleep, after with further Ninja stealth having raided my jewellery box and putting on my bracelets. Instead of sleeping, or at best being in bed, I’m writing this to tell you how and why I’m not getting any sleep.  

Same like how last night, I really wanted to sleep. I was so tired my eyes were closing and my brain couldn’t function. The sensible part said ‘Go to bed! You’re tired!’. Like what I am always saying to #1, 2 and 3. And yet I wasted more than half an hour lying on my bed fully clothed telling myself I need to get ready for bed. What is wrong with me? 

So what’s the solution to regaining my evenings and doing crap stuff for a reasonable amount of time to then give myself permission to go to bed? 

Well, it’s sad when it happens but #3 needs to drop that nap. We all grow accustomed to that break in the day when you can sit down for an hour or so day time quiet time. It is a luxury as precious as sleep even.  But alas it must be traded in for those evening hours back again.



And it’s not pretty. Oh no. An attempt to keep #3 awake all day only succeeded in creating an irrational bundle of fury that fell asleep in the car at 5pm. Putting us right back to Night One. 

But like with all things, this stage will pass and I will soon regain my evenings to waste on doing crap things and not going to bed whilst #1, 2 and 3 sleep soundly until the arrival of the morning light. 

On that note, it’s really time for Goodnight.

2 responses to “Sleep……..that precious commodity most wasted

  1. sanity4mummy says:

    By coincidence, I’m half way thought a post about how our bedtime routines are being screwed up at the moment! By the older two in my case though. I get sooooo cross about ruined evenings!


    • I am so with you there. Tonight I had M up five times before she finally fell asleep. The first two times was when I was still reading stories to the older two and she was making loads of noise taking herself off to do a poo. The first night was cute. It no longer is.


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