Thursday, June 26, 2008

Sleeping Anytime

When our oldest son was a baby, he was difficult to say the least. He wanted to eat every other hour during the night. Often I'd doze off nursing him. When I woke up, I'd put him back to bed and crawl back in my bed, only to wake up half an hour later when he was crying and wanted to eat again. I was twenty-two and had no idea what I was doing, but that's a subject for another post. Part of my problem at that time was that after I got him settled down, I couldn't go back to sleep. I'd lay there wide awake, wishing for sleep to come. I got so little sleep anyway that I was almost desperate when I finally got the chance. I remember watching the sun come up for the twenty-first day in a row. I was convinced that my life was over. I would never again sleep at night when other people slept. I would never have a normal life. Somehow I couldn't see to the fact that eventually this tiny baby would grow and learn to sleep on his own. I read in one of those numerous parenting books that when a baby sleeps, the mother needs to sleep no matter what else needs to be done. I took the advice literally. I ignored the dirty bottles on the counter, the dirty clothes piled up outside the washing machine and the general baby clutter and mess strewn from one end of our apartment to the other. When he slept, I slept.
I got so good at sleeping that I could fall asleep anywhere. The only problem was, sometimes I wasn't supposed to be asleep. And I no longer have little babies in the house!
I have fallen asleep once in a while at church. Not because the sermon wasn't good (I love you, honey!) but because I didn't get the sleep I needed the night before. In most cases, I take notes or chew on mints and stay awake and alert through the sermon. But once in a while I've blinked and my eyes stayed shut. That's embarrassing when you're the pastor's wife and you sit on the second row where everyone can see you.
I've also done the blink-thing when driving. I know. It's incredibly dangerous. If I have to drive, I usually try to drink something with caffeine so that I stay awake. It's never a good idea to nod off behind the wheel!
I've even managed to fall asleep during a Rook game. My partner had to wake me up when it was my turn, then I'd go back to sleep again. Those weren't usually my best games!
I think my youngest has picked up on this sleep anytime habit. When we lived in Uganda, we would occasionally find him lying in the yard, sound asleep, with his bottle nearby. He would literally play and run until he dropped to sleep. Here in the States, he's even gone to sleep during a basketball game. While he was in the bleachers. Lying on the steps to the bleachers, with his upper body on one stair, and his lower body propped up on the stair above him. People walked around and over him to get to their seats, and he slept through it all.
My oldest son fell asleep in the living room floor. He'd only been asleep a few minutes, so I woke him up and told him to go to bed. His response was that he had to take a shower so he'd just sleep here. I said skip the shower and go to bed. It took some time to convince him that, while he was comfortable at the moment, he would regret sleeping fully clothed, with his shoes on, in the living room floor all night.
At this point I'm beginning to wonder why we bothered putting beds in their rooms. As for me, I like my bed. And I'll head there just as soon as I finish this nap on the couch!

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