Sleep. A beautiful and rare commodity in houses with children, it is highly sought after and greatly prized.
Jac, once horizontal, can fall asleep nearly instantly. His brain must surely have a shut off switch for he rarely tosses and turns or grasps at slumber. Upon lying down, his breathing is regular and deep. It’s rather awe inspiring when I’m not resenting him for it. But it is troublesome when we attempt to watch a movie or read after the kids are in bed. Countless times he has fallen asleep mid-sentence while reading to me and, in the morning, have no memory of it happening.
I, on the other hand, take some time to wind down. Even on the most exhausting of days (save first trimester narcolepsy), I must file and sort through all of the items in my mind before even attempting slumber. It takes a good deal of packing for me to get ready for a trip to the land of nod.
Our children, fall all over the map. They have all – save Gemma – been easy to get to sleep. From the youngest of ages they requested naps and bed. As they have grown, they show their own personalities and relationships with sleep. Max, like me, requires some wind down and can read hours into the night. He sleeps lightly and long into the morning if allowed. Philip, with his blankie, can go into holding patterns and then swiftly into sleep if left undisturbed. Tess, well Tess is a different story all-together. She fights off sleep, runs from rest and goes down kicking and scratching. But once there? Good luck rousing her because she does nothing by halves. Come first light, however, she is alert and awake. Gemma, it has been noted, has been difficult to teach good sleeping skills. Knock on wood, she is in a good place. When left alone, she will take 2+ hour naps and has a firm clock-out time between 8 and 8:30. Gone are the days of screaming, thanks be to God, to be replaced by grateful cheeks pressed to cool sheets and sleepy-eyed waves ‘Nigh-night!’ when we lay her down. It is blessedly sweet.
And Ellie? Most like her father of the entire bunch, she craves the shut eye. Even at 4 she takes long drawn out naps without a whisper of revolt. At night, her sister can whip her into a frenzy but once the noise is removed, she is out. (This, I write, after several nights of very difficult bedtimes for Ellie between feeling crummy and, I realized, being alone in a bed. She doesn’t have memories of sleeping solo so this has been a new experience and a little rough.)
Most days, at nap, she requests to take some books with her and often, for a story to be read aloud. Who knows how often it has happened, but the fact we have recorded time and again the following scene says something for frequency.
My little tiger, like her dad, soon finds her purr and gives into it’s irresistible lure, no matter what she is doing. I pray, for her sake, that it’s life long. And for my sake? Well, I can’t imagine it ever not being cute.