This post is all about how my kids collaborate and connive to hijack my sleep time.  It’s a rant.  So, all you moms who have kids that have been sleeping through the night since you got home from the hospital can stop reading now.

In the three plus years that I have been farming kids, I’d estimate that I’ve slept through the night a total of 10 months worth.  The bulk of those 10 months were between when Carina turned 9 months old and finally slept all night and when I got so hugely pregnant with Callen that I couldn’t stay in one position all night. I spent the last month of that pregnancy sleeping upright on the love seat with a top-secret concoction of throw pillows arranged just so underneath me.  Now, the kids are one and a half and three, and I still don’t get a good night’s sleep on a regular basis.

I know that this is partly my fault.  I am a night owl by nature, and it seems I am raising a little bumper crop of night owls to keep me company.  The problem is, my little hooters like to sleep through the evening hours (bedtime is 7:30) and party down in the wee hours of the morning.  In addition, their father calls himself a morning person, and they want to follow in his footsteps too, so no matter what time they go to bed, or how many times they are up in the night, the absolute latest they are going to sleep in is 7am.

We are to the point now where on most nights, one hoodlum sleeps through the night while the other dutifully wakes at 2am and screams until I appear.  You know, just to make sure mommy is still around.  Carina, being a typical precocious three year old, has an entire laundry list of stall tactics to ensure that I lose the optimum amount of sleep to put me over the edge of sanity.  These needs include: drinks of water, sleeping in a different bed (mine or the guest room), using the potty, blowing her nose, a specific book or animal to sleep with, and me to sleep with her for “two minutes” (which non-coincidentally is the exact amount of time needed for me to fall asleep in her bed in an uncomfortable position and wake up three hours later, angry for falling asleep and unable to walk because my feet are both numb).

Callen, on the other hand, is actually the good sleeper of the moment.  He didn’t sleep through the night consistently until well after his first birthday.  Now, most nights, he is cozy and quiet, leaving the rowdiness to his sister.  However, he has two plans of attack. One is what I call the stealth-scream.  From his crib across the hall, Callen will scream a single, shrill, blood-freezing scream.  He never actually moves or wakes up.  But, being one of those mommies who hears her kids cry at night even when they’re staying over at Grandma’s, that one scream is enough to bring me to full wakefulness with a physical jolt of my body, after which I lay awake, first trying to discern whether Callen is actually awake, and then trying to get my brains to turn off so I can go back to sleep.  His second approach is to whine pitifully until I come in and pick him up out of his crib.  As soon as his feet leave that mattress, he’s ready to party.  3am?  No worries.  Why not get up for the day?  Let’s turn on all the toys that make noise and dig that plastic hammer set out of the closet!

I should also mention here that hubby is oblivious to all of this. This is not part of his job description since he has to get up and go to “work” in the morning. The one thing I worry about when I travel and leave hubs and the kids at home is that one of the kids will have some sort of crisis in the middle of the night, and he will sleep right through it.

I’ve been feeling kind of sickly the past few days, and was really looking forward to catching up a little on my eternal sleep deficit while the kids took a nap today. I should have not even had the thought.  When Callen started nodding off into his lunch plate, I put him to bed.  He was quiet until Carina finished her lunch and I got her into bed.  Then he yelled until I came and got him.  Thus started an hour long cycle of rock-lay down-scream that ended in me finally feeding him lunch and getting him into bed nearly asleep (again).  Before I could finish an over-due writing assignment, Carina was awake, and my prospective nap was a no-go.

Now, it is nearly 10pm, and both kids have been sleeping for about 2 hours.  I should be sleeping myself, but being a night owl makes it very difficult for me to get into bed much earlier than 10:30.  I’ve had the thought of trying to match their schedule – going to bed around 9 and getting up at 6.  I don’t think that I could function that way though.  Apparently I need my midnight oil a little more than I need sleep these days.  I sometimes wonder who I would be if I was still getting 9 to 10 hours of sleep every night like I did pre-baby.  But then, what would I have to write about?