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Friday, February 12, 2010

Shift work

I heard the sound of the gate being opened and footsteps going down the stairs. I rolled over under the covers and peaked at the window. It was still dark.

I listened for any other sounds of activity. I didn't hear the girl's voice. I didn't hear the boy's yells. Nothing.

Concerned, I opened the door and glanced down the hallway to see that the girl's door was still closed. The boy's was wide open. A stop in the bathroom on the way downstairs revealed that it was 4:15 am. Too early.

In the sun room the boy sat in the red chair, pointing at the television screen. The husband slumped on the couch beside him.

What happened last night? I asked.

He was up at twelve, replied the husband, and then he was really hard to get back to sleep. Eventually I lay him in the crib and he rustled around for about an hour. I lay down on the mattress in his room.

Go back to bed, I told the husband. I'll try to get him back to sleep.

I took the boy back upstairs to his room while the husband shuffled off to the comfort of our bed. I tried all my tricks but the boy clung steadfast to his resolve that it was now morning and he was no longer tired. As we lay beside in each on the mattress on the floor, our heads beside each other on the pillows, I heard the girl calling to her dad from the hallway.

I'm in here, I said, in your brother's room. Still, she called. I opened the door and saw her standing at the top of the open stairs. I ushered her into the boy's room and tried to coax everyone back to sleep. I was the only one who thought it was still nighttime. Five am.

Downstairs we trooped. I fed them snacks and let them watch videos, firm in my new found conviction that you can watch as much video as you want before 6am and no parental guilt can be invoked. They sat and stood and climbed all over me as I worked to stay awake.

She sat on my outstretched legs watching a video. He sat on my lap facing me. Back to back. I watched the clock.

The husband emerged shortly before 7am. We briefed each other and I headed back to bed.

Shift change.


  1. Ouch. Just that ... ouch.

    And I'm with you on the early-morning screen time not counting. Only my cut-off is more like 7am.

  2. Oh man, so not fun. I have been there, thankfully not all that much lately. Once the boys were old enough to tell time I warned them with my "evil voice" that they were not to emerge from their bedroom before 7:00 a.m.


    Hope you guys got some rest today . . .

  3. I used to set the kids up with a video in the afternoon when they both refused to nap. I'd put up the baby gate so they couldn't roam the house and nap on the couch for an hour while they watched their video. Sometimes it was a whole hour and sometimes not but it got me through those tough sleep deprived afternoons.

  4. I can remember a time like this, with both children awake, every. single. night. But now, even though it still happens they can read, so there is lots of lying on the floor of thier room dozing while they are awake from 3 am or 4, after going to sleep at 10 or 11. We are blessed to have these few hours to fit in any conversations we may need to have as grown ups away from little ears, and to shower and to sleep. But I rmember when they were little and niether would accept a shift change, we just had to wait it out - son would only have me or hysteria, daughter would only have Dad.
    Its so exhausting and you've captured it perfectly.

  5. We've done a lot of shift changing here too... it can be so exhausting. Thank God it doesn't last forever!

  6. Oh... I hated days like that. I remember falling asleep on the couch (The Man was away on business or something) and The Boy would try pry open my eyelids. Funny now but at the time if was horrible.

  7. Ugh, that is *brutal*! Wishing you all a week of solid sleep to catch up! I've been waking up a couple of hours early most days for a while now. I'll be your buddy in sleep deprivation!

  8. I'm with before 6 A.M. absolutely does NOT count!

    Hope you had a happy Valentine's Day.

  9. Ah, I know that shift well. DH and I are like ships in the night sometimes, one of us goes back to bed when the other gets up. By the time we're both up and showered and fed it's practically lunchtime. No wonder we find it so hard to get out and about...