Rise and Whine!
When you have a baby (or two or three), there are whole volumes devoted to what you can expect out of them. And they all warn you that a newborn isn't good for the ol' sleep patterns. But those books are so deceiving! They make you think that once your baby starts sleeping through the night, your blissfully uninterrupted pre-parenthood sleep returns. What they fail to mention is that once you become a mother, a sound night's sleep - and the indulgence of waking up on your own time, in a nice leisurely manner - are a thing of the past. Even if your kid is five, like my oldest.
It's bad enough that ever since my kids were born, I wake up at the slightest sound. I swear, if my neighbor farted it could rouse me from sleep. If anything remotely resembles a child's whine/whimper/about-to-throw-up noise, I'm up and out of the bed faster than you can say "psych!"*
*Yes, I'm aware that no one has actually said "psych" since probably the early nineties.
Gone are the days when I was gently stirred from slumber by the warm glow of morning sunlight on my face. Now I'm lucky if my kids don't wake before the sun. But it isn't just the kids any more: since he's started his day shift, my husband's alarm - which sounds like a damn banjo - wakes me at 5:15 every morning ... and then continues to wake me over and over as he presses snooze for an hour. It goes something like this: banjo riff, snooze. Banjo riff, snooze. Banjo riff, snooze. Banjo riff, snooze. Banjo riff, snooze. Ad infinitum.
When he finally gets out of bed, I always cling to the hope that I can go back to sleep. And I usually do. But the opening of the garage door as Curtis goes to work almost always wakes Colin up, and inevitably - though he is five now and perfectly capable of entertaining himself for an hour or so - he comes in to talk to me. Here is an actual, real-life sample of the random ways that Colin alone has woken me (after the stupid banjo alarm does, of course) just this week:
"Mommy. ... Mommy. Guess what. I used to say neb-ee-lizer, but now I say nebulizer."
"Mommy. ... Mommy. I had a dream? About the headless horseman? But I didn't get scared because it was just a costume? That somebody knitted? And when I woke up? I was like, 'What? Was it just a costume?'"
"Mommy. ... Mommy. Are you awake? Good, because I'd like a bowl of cereal, please."
It goes on, and on. And if it isn't Colin, it's Coby. And if it isn't Colin or Coby, it's Cameron. And, on the off-chance that it actually isn't one of my kids who wakes me, it's the dog.
But you know something else the books don't tell you, possibly the cruelest thing of all? Once you become accustomed to being woken at the crack of dawn every day, you've got this weird internal alarm that wakes you even if you don't have your kids. It's like it's too quiet, and then you wake up feeling weird. It's why, on the (exceedingly) rare occasion that the boys spend the night with a family member, I never feel free to tie one on and then sleep it off the next morning. Because I can't, and I'll pay for it dearly with a hangover AND a lack of sleep.
Anyway, all this explains why it's eight o'clock in the morning and I've been up for nearly three hours already. This particular morning it was the banjo, but it could have been anything. One-sided conversations about nebulizers or headless horsemen, mysterious messes to clean up ... or just a silence loud enough to open my eyes.