Right now I’m so tired that I’m not sure I can even write anything coherent, let alone anything that would be interesting to read. But I guess that’s parenthood for you.
I remember not being very good at sleeping when I was younger. I often slept in my parents bed. Or floor. Or the little couch in their room. And when my dad left for work a o’dark thirty I’d climb in bed with my mom and then I’d ask her questions and things like that and she’d say, “Nancy, just go to sleep.”
And for the life of me I couldn’t figure out why.
Tonight when I was rocking and singing to Rachel she kept trying to ask me questions and I said,
“Rachel, just go to sleep.”
But she didn’t. She wanted me to hold her. To stop the screaming, I gave in and climbed into bed with her and fell asleep, despite her constant wiggling. When a blanket hit me in the face an hour later and she whispered, “Whoops! Sorry mom!” I left. I got out of her warm comfortable bed and I left. She was mad.
“Rachel, just go to sleep!”
When I was older I still had trouble falling asleep. I shared a room with my brothers for a while. They slept on the bottom bunk, a double bed, and I slept on the top bunk, a twin bed. I’d lie awake for hours. Often I was still awake when my parents went to bed, whatever that time was, and I would hear them chatting in their room, saying their prayers, and so forth. Not really hearing what they were saying, necessarily, just knowing that they were talking.
But I was awesome at pretending to be asleep. I had mastered the peaceful look, the heavy and rhythmic breathing, the occasionally groan and whimper of a sleeping child.
When my parents would come in to check on us, I would silently giggle to myself while they chastised my brothers to “just go to sleep!”
Perhaps I wasn’t as good at pretending as I thought. Perhaps my parents simply didn’t care that I was faking—they knew I was faking but didn’t care because I was quiet and they knew that if I pretended to be asleep long enough I’d actually fall asleep. That could have been it.
Maybe I should teach Rachel to pretend to be asleep. We could make a game of it.
“Yeah, just pretend to be sleeping every time I come to check on you and if you trick me every time, you win!”
Sounds fun, right?
Perhaps not very alluring to a two-year-old mind, though. I wonder what she thinks about sleeping. Sometimes when I think about it it seems like a very strange thing.
At a particular time of night we all decide to lie down and close our eyes until we fall asleep. Why? Isn’t that weird?
And falling asleep is a little scary—have you ever tried to recover after a hypnic jerk? I usually go from half-asleep to fully-awake after “catching” myself from “falling,” literally, asleep. Scares the snot out of me every time. And when I’m really tired and trying to fall asleep I feel really dizzy when I’m half-asleep and sometimes have to wake up just so that I can stop feeling dizzy. I have to physically push through the half-sleep stage until I’m fully asleep.
Sometimes I hate sleeping.
Maybe Rachel does, too…