Monday, March 26, 2007

In the Still of the Night

It started around 6:00 a.m. I had gone to bed quite late last Saturday night, around 1:30 a.m. Jason was with some friends out of town and wouldn't be home until around 3:30, so I stayed up and watched Peyton Manning on SNL before going to bed. Once in bed I tossed and turned; I remember the clock striking at 2:00. I drifted off to a restless sleep until Jason came in somewhere between 3:30-4:00, and then I finally settled into a deep, comfortable sleep...that is until the beeping started. It was one shrill beep, every 30 seconds. I know it was every 30 seconds because after hearing it the first 10 times, I decided to pass the time listening to it by counting the seconds between the beeps. My body was too tired to do anything about the beeps, but too awake now to ignore them and fall back asleep. After 10 minutes of the beeps I couldn't take it anymore. "Jason, wake up. You need to do something about the smoke alarm." I had heard the beeps earlier in the day and after 5 minutes of standing in my bedroom trying to figure out the source, I discovered that it was the smoke alarm signaling that the batteries were dead. Noone is going to call me Sherlock Holmes anytime soon. The smoke alarm must quit beeping after awhile because after the kids and I got home in the evening after being at my parents' house, it was no longer beeping and I had forgotten about it. Making a smoke alarm stop beating at 6:00 a.m. in the morning when we've only been asleep 2 hours is the man's role in our household (at least it is now.) I wish someone would have been filming Jason trying to stumble across our bed and reach up at our 10 foot ceiling to knock down a smoke alarm after being asleep for 2 hours. It wasn't a pretty site. He finally had to go downstairs, get the step stool, climb on the dresser, and take the smoke alarm apart. Ahh, silence...until the alarm went off 45 minutes later to get up for church.

There aren't too many more frustrating moments than when sleep is interrupted in the middle of the night (or early morning.) With so many possible interruptions, it's a wonder we EVER get a full night's sleep. Here are some examples.

1. The very loud thunderstorm. When I was a kid, during a loud thunderstorm I would crawl into my parents' bed and sleep in the middle. My kids sleep very soundly; in fact, I can't even remember one time that either one have awakened during a storm. However, I still wake up, and with the anticipation of the loud boom after the lightning, I keep the covers pulled over my head and can't go back to sleep until the thunder (at least the very loud thunder) has stopped.

2. The sick kid. Anna is the one we have to tend to in the night sometimes. With her breathing issues, when she gets a cold she can really hack through the night, and we've had to give some middle of the night breathing treatments. Elizabeth never wakes us up - in fact one morning when she got out of bed she had vomited in the night and didn't even know it. That was almost worse because of the dried stuff in her hair and, well, you get the point.

3. The sick adult. This happened to me last Thursday night. I went to bed feeling 100% fine, but at 1:00 a.m., the pineapple banana orange juice I had before bed was not sitting well. I tossed and turned for around 10 minutes until I headed to the bathroom for the inevitable. Trips at 2:00, 4:00, and 6:00 followed.

4. The bed wetter. While vomit will not wake up Elizabeth, a wet bed did when she was younger, and it wakes up Anna. This is a double whammy because not only do I wake up, but I have to work, too. Strip the kid, put new clothes on the kid, strip the bed, pull out the pull out couch and get blankets for a new bed.

5. The mysterious noise. What was that? Did I dream the noise or did it wake me up? Is someone trying to break in? Is one of the kids sleepwalking? My body tenses up as I anticipate hearing the next noise. "Jason, did you hear that?" One night quite a few years ago I woke up to a mysterious noise and had Jason go all through the house (and even check the closets) to make sure there wasn't a robber in the house (another man job in our house.) When these types of noises happen, my body breaks out into a cold sweat and I can almost work myself into a panic. I start planning escape routes. First I'll hit the burglar over the head, then I will head to the kids' room. Irrational, I know, but it's 3:00 in the morning.

6. The bad dream. I am a very vivid dreamer, and many of the scenarios in my dreams involve bad things happening (this was actually a former post of mine.) I often times am jolted awake and then lie there thinking about what just happened.

7. Squirrels in the wall. We live in a very old house, and sometimes creatures can be heard running in our walls. One summer we had a squirrel visiting, and in the middle of the night we could hear him feasting on nuts inside a wall in our bedroom. Jason got out of bed and figured out the squirrel's exact wall location and was ready to pound on the wall when he all of a sudden turned and leaped onto our bed. "The squirrel gnawed a hole in the wall." Great, I thought, we're going to have a squirrel in our bedroom tonight." We stuffed a pile of clothes in front of the "hole" and went back to sleep. The next morning we checked the "hole," only to see it was a shadow.

8. The telephone ring. Most people who know us know we like to sleep in late on the weekends. People who don't know us will call very early in the morning, and the ring of the telephone can be very startling. Phone calls very late at night when we've already gone to bed are also startling. My first thought is, "What's wrong?" Why else would anyone be calling at this hour unless something is wrong.

9. The startling thought. Maybe I forgot to e-mail something to my boss. Maybe I forgot to tell Jason that I have to work late the following day and he needs to run the kids. Maybe I forgot an appointment earlier that day. When I was in 5th grade, it was the realization after I had gone to bed that a six week project was due the next day and I hadn't even started it.

10. The house alarm going off. When I was a kid, we had a house alarm, and my brother, the very early riser, would forget to turn off the alarm when he would get the newspaper. As a child, I already had fears of the dark and of people breaking in our house. When the house alarm would go off while everyone was in bed, I would hide under the covers until I knew everything was okay.

For those of you reading with babies, I know sleep interruptions for you can be a nightly experience. I think that is one of the most frustrating parts of parenting a baby because being well rested is so important to feeling good the rest of the day. Fortunately, that time is short lived, and sleep interruptions become more the rarity instead of the norm.

In our house, when it comes to kid related sleep interruptions, Jason and I have unwritten rules as to who takes care of what. I'm in charge of bed wetting and nosebleeds, he's in charge of breathing treatments and random crying. As to who puts the child back to bed when it is a random visit to our bedroom, that varies. I guess whoever gets to sleep later the next morning has to get up.

I am pleased to say, though, that after a short restless night of sleep on Saturday night, last night we had a nice, long, peaceful sleep. We are on Spring Break this week, so the girls and I celebrated by sleeping in until 10:00. Jason, however, is not on Spring Break, so he had to get up to go to work. Thankfully we had no random visitors to our bedroom last night - I would have had to get up.


Blogger Hummel Family said...

Deb---I about fell over laughing when I read #7! I think I remember hearing you talk about the "squirrel hole".

Sorry to hear you were sick...I was too! I'm still not 100%. I hope you are enjoying your Spring Break. Are you having All-Day Pajama parties? ;)

March 27, 2007 12:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hahhahahahahhahaha...I'm laughing about the squirrel episode, too!

Teryn ;)

March 27, 2007 12:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Deb,
I'm a friend of your sister-in-law, JoEllen. I actually live on her street, just two doors down and we go to the same church. Anyway, I just have to tell you that I've been a faithful blog follower of you for quite a while now. I just love your posts. They crack me up, but yet are so "normal" too. It's great.
Keep up the posting! All of us in blog world love to hear what you have to say!!

March 27, 2007 7:59 AM  
Blogger Kelley said...

Sounds in the still of the night is why this girl sleeps with some time of fan or noise maker running year round! :) Had fun today!

March 29, 2007 10:42 PM  
Blogger Bekah said...

Deb - I completely sympathize with the "what was that noise?" waking up. That's one of the main reasons I got the cats. I decided that if I heard a mysterious noise, I'd just blame it on the cats. Of course the other night I heard some strange sound that made me sit up and sweat for a second - and then I thought, "oh it's just the cats." Then I looked down at the end of the bed and they were both sound asleep in front of me. Sadly, I was so pooped, I just said to myself, "Well it must be someone else's cats" and went back to sleep anyway. What has happened to my mental safety level???

March 31, 2007 3:47 PM  
Blogger Toevs Family said...

I can totally relate to so many of your sleep interruptions... the bedwetting (& the work involved!), the "what's that noise?", the sick stomach (I hate that feeling! I lay there thinking it will go away until... I know it's not going anywhere!), the random crying (Anna does that a lot!), the thunder (& Emma crawling in bed with us - doesn't seem to phase Anna though). Never had a squirrel in the wall though. :-)

April 01, 2007 1:59 PM  
Blogger Anon said... the still of the night, i usually hear...."Deb, Deb, where's your head?"


April 10, 2007 10:46 PM  
Blogger Keetha said...

A little "birdie" at school told me about the current triathlon training - - - - gonna be any posts about it?

April 11, 2007 4:38 AM  
Blogger Keetha said...

Your "still night" has been WAY too LONG, blogging buddy!!!! Miss you on here!

April 20, 2007 5:36 PM  
Blogger Toevs Family said...

Where'd you go? It's almost May! :-)

April 27, 2007 8:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is May--way too long!
You have lots to blog about :)

May 03, 2007 3:29 PM  
Blogger Keetha said...

Poker Schmoker - - - POST!!!

May 04, 2007 4:39 AM  
Blogger Kelley said...

Come on,DEB!!! You're killing us here! We need you! Please post!!!

May 04, 2007 10:01 PM  

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