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The long farce of the night hours

Thanks to hanging around playgroups all day and then going walkabout every few hours in the night, my eldest has not only infused my household with all manner of vile germs but also trashed our immune systems so much that we have all been felled like dominos.

Thus I believe he has conclusively won the first battles of the Sleep Wars, on account of having made the opposition too ill and tired to care.

Night-times feature more comings and goings than a sitcom, and continue to be ridiculous, like so:

It is 11pm. Matei has been sleeping for two hours while the rest of us are gathered in the living room watching a subtitle-resistant version of MicMacs in French which is terrific but presenting some logistical difficulties on account of my mother's inability to make out the actors' low voices and Z's inability to speak French. Nevertheless the atmosphere is highly convivial. I am providing translations and the cats and babies are stretching langurously amongst us.

Matei stumbles in, squinting, dragging an entourage of teddy bear, car and motorbike. His confusion is transformed into delight the instant he sees all of us. A party! he beams. Then we proceed to confirm pretty much all his suspicions about the fact that his bedtime is just an excuse for the rest of us to do wonderful things without him by marching him back to his own room.

It is 1am. I am so congested that I literally cannot sleep, so I go to the bathroom to have a bath and inhale some eucalyptus oil fumes and steam. I reflect as I do so, on all the Ridiculous Bathtimes Past (essentially the Dark Ages, known as Raising Matei months 0-3*).

Finding myself clean and relaxed and much better able to breathe I don warm nightwear and head back towards the bedroom, but find my progress arrested that on account of his own impressive congestion Z is snoring so loudly that I can literally hear him from the hallway.

A quick survey reveals that the living room is featuring sub-zero temperatures, Matei is sleeping with my mum and Z is making the windowpanes rattle. Therefore I hole up in my son's vacant bed and wake two hours later stiff and contorted into interesting foetal shapes on account of exceeding the size of the mattress.

I decide to chance the snoring, creep back into my own bed and promptly find myself between the Scylla and Charybdis of Z and Helena. While the former's snore has lost much of its clout, the latter is alternating between emitting a series of snorts, snuffles,grunts, hacking coughs, whimpers and farts. It is as restful as sleeping in a herd of buffalo.

No sooner has some divine intervention helped me to drift off to sleep when First Cat starts to hurl himself bodily against the bedroom door and whine and scratch at the glass.

Cough cough cough, goes the baby.
Whine whine whine, goes the cat.

It is unknown time am. I get up to let in the cat. Outside there are birds chirping. I decide that I hate birds. Back in bed the cat is affectionately prodding my face with its icy paws. I begin to hate cats.

The baby grunts. The house creaks. My brain explodes undetected. And then it is unspecified time in the morning. Z has gone to work. The baby is talking to the mobile in her crib. The cat is wrapped around me like an affectionate shawl.

My body is in an interesting pretzel shape. Everything hurts but nothing seems in actual spasm. I shake off cats and embrace cautious optimism and family members. My bones and joints creak and snap as I unbend them and just like we did yesterday and just like we will do tomorrow we stumble into the arms of another new day.

*Nadir of parenting and bathing experiences belongs to that onetime that I took him to have a bath with me at 4am in the hopes that it would make him relaxed, hence drowsy, hence sleepy. It did not.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 26th, 2010 01:27 pm (UTC)
Children are dreadful engines of bio-warfare.
I don't remember getting sick before Thomas went to nursery school.

Daniel's worse, he brings home nits as well. It'd be healthier if he just sat in a corner and didn't touch/hug/lick/headbutt anything (or anyone), but he insists on being sociable.
Nov. 27th, 2010 01:37 pm (UTC)
Damn secure attachment making children feel like it's all right to just up and have interactions and conversations with us.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


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