The 'Who's Had More Sleep' Game
I love my sleep; I come from a long line of people who like to snooze their alarm many, many times.
My ideal sleep times would be a solid 12 hours from 2am till 2pm which was only ever achievable during my school holidays and gaps in my CV. My Mam is an enabler and would shoo astonished friends away who dared to knock on our door in the early afternoon stating “Aisling is sleeping”.
My early diaries document my sleep rather than my life. Directly pre-kids I worked as a rep in Turkey and would have the Winter off during which time myself and my now husband would go into a state of near hibernation, emerging only for food or a night out.
When pregnant on our first, we were faced with a lot of realities; a move home, finding somewhere to rent, getting a job - but we were young-ish and resilient and would laugh off insinuations of future sleep-loss with “he’s our kid… he'll love his sleep!”
I had a 20 hour labour with Conall and that’s what it was… hard bloody work. I walked endless lengths of the corridor to move him before the real fun began in the labour ward. I was doped to my eyeballs and thrilled when it was all over and I was wire free in a bed and then a sound I was to become very accustomed to in the next few months pierced my ear… Conall started howling. This went on all day and night until I picked him up and brought him to the nurse’s station and begged them to let me sleep... I may have been sobbing on my knees channelling my inner Meryl Streep.
I managed a few hours before he was brought back for some boob and on day one of being a mother I realised I may not get a solid 12 hours anymore.
Conall did not like to sleep... I blamed the Moses basket (sure who’d want those pointy edges anyway?); the cot (very lonely) and he ended up co-sleeping, snacking endlessly on my poor cracked nipples. I adopted the mammy sleep. asleep but hyper-aware to my child’s movements and cries. If one of my kids stir in a different room, my feet are on the floor involuntarily... it’s superhuman.
This is where the sleep currency originated between me and my husband. I didn’t have many cards to play in the beginning being the primary feeder, but when he weaned I began to play the Who’s Had More Sleep Game? This involves proving the other person has slept more that night thus earning them an early morning rise with kids and a lie on for you. The person accused of having slept the most needs to quickly assert they were actually awake but this is countered with I heard you snoring. It’s an intricate game and can be fraught with emotion and often anger… similar to Ross’s Bamboozled in friends.
We have gone on to have two more sons and the game continues… just this morning I woke at 7am and couldn’t face the prospect of getting them all up for school and I kicked himself and said time to get up…. “hmmppffff not my turn” was his reply. I countered with “I was up with Rian twice last night, plus I don’t feel well and had to get up for nurofen cold and flu during the night”. This was watertight, sickness and an awakening… also good to have specific times of when you’ve been disturbed to back up your story. If you feel like he’s not budging, throw in a groan and something about your period. I’m not proud of my actions but extra sleep is my priority. I do have to get up at 8am at the very latest to dress them and do lunches so all that pleading is for an hour… actually a half hour as I lose most of the time begging.
We are at a stage now where all three sleep through the night unless someone is sick or has had a bad dream; I have survived many years where a straight 4 hours sleep was the norm and actually quite good. I’d still like a lie on but that doesn’t happen as I work weekends but I fantasise about retirement and envy my parents who are not in the least bit ashamed to tell people not to call them before 1pm. As far as I’m concerned “morning people” are freaks of nature to be avoided for their own safety and I am agog at weekends driving to work inhaling a coffee as I see these monsters jogging or walking voluntarily... it upsets me greatly to think they’ve given up the comfort of their duvets for their health.
The world’s gone mad.
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