It’s Friday night, just before 10pm.
The children have been in bed, asleep, for about two hours during which time we have tidied up the various toy explosions and dinner debris, eaten our own dinner and basically tried to squeeze in our entire adult life (watching TV, mainly).
Knowing that the odds of being awoken at any point after 6am are not in our favour, we should really decide to call it a day and head up to bed. It is usually suggested at least three or four times until someone makes the move to get off of the sofa and let the dog out. It usually isn’t me.
Tonight, before we get that far, the big one wakes up and she’s crying from a bad dream. This is most unexpected and uncharacteristic; the other one wakes up, she doesn’t. It must be bad. She comes downstairs with us and we put a cartoon on to cheer her up. Once cheered, we head upstairs.
She’s decided she’s coming in with us. Yes it’s a kingsize bed, but no, it isn’t comfortable. She is a hot, sweaty octopus. This just isn’t happening. No one will sleep like this.
I’m going into her bed.
The light from the gro-clock is too bright, the hum from the monitor is irritating. The small whimpers from the small one in the lower bunk are too much; after forty minutes of getting increasingly irritated I return to my bed and demand that the big one, who is fine, actually, and now fast asleep is returned to her own bed.
It is done. She’s still asleep. I get into bed, and try and drift off.
It’s not happening. My husband is lying on his back, snoring. I push him over and he goes quiet… And then rolls back and starts again. I start thinking semi-murderous thoughts. I decide to treat myself to some new earplugs, so I tiptoe into the bathroom.
The small child is awake, and screaming. He does that.
I go and retrieve him from his room and bring him in with us. Repeat annoying octopus scenario from above, with intermittent wailing.
I switch off the baby monitor, and the gro clock, and climb into his bed; the lower bunk. As I lie my head on the pillow, I hear an insane humming noise. The fish tank downstairs; the pump is on its last legs and giving a death rattle. Now is not the time to sort this; but I can’t sleep with it. I try. I can’t.
It’s closing in on two am. Two-o-clock in the sodding morning. I try. A fox outside is screeching. A dog is barking. The fishtank is humming. I give up.
At this point that I re-enter the bedroom and demand that everyone get the hell out of my bed, and they oblige.
Peace at last.
At least, for about three hours. But it’ll have to do.
No rest for the wicked, or indeed knackered stay at home parents.