Last night, let me tell you, last night was a bad night. It wasn’t good. Wasn’t fun. Not so great. It was tough.
Lets not pretend I think it was the toughest night, believe me there are millions of people who had a worse night than we did. No one here died, no one was shot, no one lost a loved one, no one got a VD or anything… but it was tough.
This is where I go into parenting stuff… so if you want to duck out now you’re forgiven (except you, sit the hell down and listen, you may need to know this).
Ours is a family of odd sleepers.
Mr. Kaos for example, he thinks there’s always something more important to do than sleep. Whether it’s doing the bills, writing music, getting it on (oh yeah), working, planning, talking or watching The Daily Show, some round table forum where old cranky people talk about politics or some round table where young cranky people talk about technology. He always goes into the sweet embrace of sleep with some resent (though he could fall asleep almost anywhere if he tried).
Me on the other hand, I think sleep is a wonderful beautiful thing. I love sleep. I want to go to sleep. I would nap if I could. I love the warm cozy feel of being beneath the blanket, the soft touch of the sheets woven around my limbs, the way the pillow embraces the side of my face and the warm soft pressure on my ear as if all of my weight rested just there. When I wake up my head is full of fluff for the first hour or so and I must be left to my own devices. But I don’t use sleep to escape life, actually I couldn’t if I wanted to. When things are bad I don’t sleep. When I am stressed I don’t sleep. When Mr. Kaos is out of town I don’t sleep. If someone in my family is ill I don’t sleep. If I am worried about something I don’t sleep. If the cats are fighting I don’t sleep. If you don’t comment on my blog I don’t sleep. I’m fragile.
Then there is K. Oh my dear sweet K. K embraces the worst of my sleep traits with the worst of Mr. Kaos’. She hates sleep. Sleep is the evil embrace of stagnation. No good can come of it in her eyes. I can count easily count the number of times K has wanted to go to sleep. They all fall into one of 2 categories. Either she was sick or we took her to an amusement park. Amusement parks wear her out. Since we strive to keep her healthy, happy and sane and we don’t want to go to an amusement park every day, or even every month (once or twice in the summer will do it) she doesn’t want to sleep much. She rallies against it. I expect her to film a documentary any day now about why sleep kills.
Any deviation to the weather, light, season or situation results in K’s inability to go to sleep. You might say that in the war on sleepless nights summer is my enemy and K’s ally.
So it should come as no surprise that I had a hard time getting K to sleep last night. At 8 we settled into bed and we watched a calm little preschool cartoon that K wanted to share with Mr. Kaos. Then it was off to storybook land. Mr. Kaos kissed her good night and left the room and I hugged and kissed her and lay down.
She does not go to sleep by herself. She never has. Despite everything we did from infancy through toddler hood, following carefully her amazing pediatricians advice, nothing. I don’t want to go into methods or anything, I don’t care to discuss what worked for anyone because it didn’t work with K.
But after an hour of her quiet refusal to try to go to sleep I’d had it and I stormed out of the room. Mr. Kaos, who can’t get her to go to sleep at all, put his foot somewhere it didn’t belong when he told me that getting frustrated wasn’t going to help her get to sleep (duh). I replied that he could let me do it my way or put her to bed himself.
All the while K is in the other room crying and screaming so loudly that aliens could have been invading our house and we wouldn’t have heard them….
So I went upstairs, I took a hot steamy shower and sat. and sobbed. and thought. and questioned. and washed. and sobbed some more.
All the while Mr. Kaos tried to get her to sleep.
Then I came downstairs.
K was still awake so I threw on some pants and went to sit on the front porch.
At this point I am pretty sure Mr. Kaos thought I had given up and was heading down to the local bar because he came running to the front door and I almost laughed as he pulled it open and asked oh so sweetly what I was doing.
“Oh” he said and then closed the door and went back to get K to sleep.
After about 15 minutes I came back in and he was laying there half asleep making a shushing noise for K as he heard me do a hundred times when she was little and she was laying there with her back to him with an impish smile on her little face. She peeled one eye open and quietly mouthed “hi mommy” and smiled broader. With that I lay down resigned to get her to sleep by herself one night, but knowing that right then wasn’t the time.
I sent Mr. Kaos off to finish his plethora of things to do and K fell asleep about 2 minutes later.
What sticks with me isn’t that evil little “I’m not sleeping” smile. Her sweet little face, her even breath when she finally did fall asleep. What sticks is my inability to handle her not going to sleep last night.
I hate knowing that I can fail her.