The inhumanity of it all

There’s a saying out there in the ether that ‘the best laid schemes of mice and men go oft awry’. At least, if Wikipedia is to be believed, because the only part I seem to remember is ‘man’s best laid plans….’

The ‘dot dot dot’ representing the sentiment that said plans tend to fall apart, I guess. Because I can never remember the actual words.

This statement seems to ring true for me most in matters of parenting. Specifically in trying to manipulate situations for purposes of sleeping (or getting work done.)

Take, for example, last night. I turned down the offer of a coffee prepared by the professor at 8.30pm in favor of a decaffeinated rooibos chai. Because I did not, under any circumstances, want to be wide awake past the midnight hour. So I sipped my spicy, herby drink, while smelling the sweet nectar that is Stumptown’s Kenya Gatomboya; a trial I willingly endured because I was so bound and determined to get seven hours of sleep.

A feat that had eluded me for well over a week, most memorably on Sunday (or was it Monday night) when a young person barfed upon my head at 4am. After which I squinted at the alarm clock, begging it to be near-civilized-hour territory so I could just get up and away from the misery. But, ’twas not. And when I tried to sneak downstairs to catch a catnap in the office, a very loud thunk on the floor summoned me back upstairs: said boy-child had mysteriously rolled off our very large king-sized bed. After which he refused to let me out of his smelly clutches.

But this was supposed to be about last night. And the excellent sleep I was going to get. And I how I’d set it up just perfectly.

And then the Hen appeared at my bedside at 3am. Quiet at first, but increasingly distressed as the minutes – hours – wore on. He lay beside me, making the ‘pppft, pppft’ sounds, like a Hollywood special effects guru; his latest habit. A particularly annoying one when you, person within earshot, are trying to sleep. Or even think. I whispered, gently, to him to be quiet. But once he starts special-effecting, he can’t stop. And then he complained it was too dark in my room. The curtains too scary. So I carried him back to his bed.

And then, just as I was ensconced in my warm bed. I heard quiet sobbing coming from the other room. And I realized this was not going to be a quick-fix situation. He wanted music. At – now – 3.30am. And while the prospect of trying to fall asleep to the sounds of loud vegetables singing about bogeymen was enticing, I could not bring myself to turn the music up past a whisper. Which made him more upset. And then the sobbing grew louder and I sent in the professor. Who removed ‘scary’ objects from the room (a painting, a lamp) and rummaged through the medicine cabinet at – now – 4.15am looking for Pepto Bismol because the boy had started complaining about a stomachache.

By 4.30am, I decided to make tea, in the off chance some chamomile might ease his fears. But by the time I finally got it cooled down sufficiently so as to be palatable, the boy-cherub was asleep. And so I began the arduous task of going from fully awake to fully asleep.

At 5.30am, just as my eyelids began to feel heavy, Percy woke up.

4 thoughts on “The inhumanity of it all

  1. Urgh. I was just lamenting this morning that it was yet another night of being woken up. Its not like we have newborns… People say we’ll miss these years. Do people with 4+ kids just never, ever sleep??

  2. Maybe an iPod and earphones next to the Hen’s bed so he can lull himself to sleep. Or for the parents so they can’t hear special effects.

  3. Personally, I think I’m just going to start sleeping in my office downstairs. And let everyone else fall out of bed or spend the majority of the night kicking the covers while yelling ‘no, no, no!’ Steph, maybe people with a lot of kids have the special ability to tune out small children weeping in their beds?


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