I often wonder what it would be like to have a camera recording the antics in our household at nighttime, when the rest of the hemisphere sleeps. In fact, if it were a night vision, movement activated camera, it would be working overtime most nights. My children very rarely sleep through the night without waking. I, on the other hand, believe I have got the art of responding to child requests without actually waking completely down to a fine art. Except, in cases of extreme exhaustion. At which point I am not responsible for the default mode I slip into.
What I am amazed about is the endless energy my children seem to have, despite their disturbed sleep. Last night was a particularly bad night, with my son waking almost every hour. He was not content with just me being awake with him. At 4am he decided it was time for his sister to wake up as well. So in an effort to have at least one child sleeping slightly longer, I climbed into bed with my son to settle him and buy a few more precious moments of sleep. However, the moment my head reunited with my own pillow an hour later, the sound of tiny footsteps down the hallway brought about a change in my usually calm, reasonable demeanour. My logic and knowledge around how I should respond to what was amounting to a 3 year old exerting his will at a ridiculous hour, could not compete with my utter exhaustion. When it was clear his argument for waking was to check on the location of his bubble mixture, I went into default mode. There was no text book response to this. Instead, he was ordered to return to his room. His protests and tears no longer had effect. He was told how cross Mummy was and that it was in his best (safety) interests to find his way back asap. For added effect, the default single finger-wagging also ensued. This, upon reflection, should be a warning sign to any members of my family. Hand on hip and finger wagging means Mum has reached the point of no return.
Of course it was at this point that my husband came to, and heard my less-than-censored rhetoric following our sons departure from the room. It was perhaps when I suggested what my son could do with the bubble mixture, my husband realised it may be important for family safety to get up and let me sleep.
Which brings me to my original amazement. After managing to sleep following the shift-change with my husband, I was woken to the sounds of squeals of delight and laughter in our living area. The same children who had utterly exhausted me in the night with their disturbed sleep and illogical requests about bubble mixture were happily playing as if they had slept like angels. I, on the other hand, emerged from the bedroom with visible bags under my eyes, feeling like a train wreck. I could not fathom how the children sustained these levels of energy. It just simply was unbelievable. What I did know was the the day about to begin would be a long one. My energy levels were exhausted and my ability to respond to the children in a positive and responsive manner would be seriously stretched for that day.