The Tale of the “Night Off”


For a number of reasons (extended illnesses, bad parenting, sheer exhaustion and lack of will), my nights are repeatedly interrupted by both of my girls. The 3-year-old joins me each night and the 8-month-old wakes 2 or 3 times (what kills us about the 3-year-old is that this is very recent – for years she did not disturb us in the night at all). For the most part, we have an unspoken agreement that I am on the graveyard shift. On a few occasions my dear hubby has taken pity on his near-crazy wife and sent me to the spare bedroom and taken over night duty. Most recently I was given a 2-night pass before I had to be back to active service.

The first night, I awoke with a start, twice, thinking that my 3-year-old was standing by the bed. The second time I was sure I had heard her breathing. When I fully came to I realized that I had been hearing myself breathing in my sleep and had assumed it was my kid. Clearly, the night off was needed.

The second night of blissful reprieve was punctuated by a fire alarm going off. 3 times. (We live in a boy’s dormitory – my husband is employed as the supervisor of said residence. It is an adventure). The alarm went off at 1:00ish, 3:00ish, 5:00ish (I only remember the hour when I see the clock in the middle of the night. It’s a problem). Add to that an extended scream session from the baby and neither I, nor hubby got much restorative sleep. Yay, nights off.

Sleep is the big-foot of our existence right now. Others swear it exists – but we don’t have enough personal, concrete evidence to be persuaded. There is no immediate solution to the fix we’re in – it is fixable, just not immediately. And with kids this age, there is always the possibility that sleep will be disturbed. On any given night. For any number of hours. It is just one of those things that you know you have to survive, and you know you will, but in the middle of it, it is hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Or the light going off at the end of the day.

My advice? Night nanny.


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