The night before last was rough. Although Olivia starts each night in her own bed, she inevitably ends up making her way to my bed anytime between midnight and 2am. This is not usually a big deal. When she arrives at my bedside, I pulled her into bed, kiss her and whisper that it’s still sleepy time and we both go back to sleep. We’ve even managed to figure out how to comfortably share the space.
Except the night before last, O seemed to have forgotten how to share space nicely. She tossed and turned and kicked and wiggled and dug her toes into my thighs and basically drove me nuts.
By the time the blankets were in a big tangle and pulled out from beneath the mattress, I’d had enough. I said, loudly for a middle of the night lecture, “Knock it off, Olivia. Stop moving around, you’re driving me crazy.”
Not my proudest moment. But damn it, I was tired. I just wanted to sleep in peace rather than with a thrashing six year old.
She settled a little and I managed to get another hour or so of fitful sleep.
Which means that last night I was tired before we even sat down to read and scratch back/legs/arms/hands/arm pits, you name it, Olivia wants it scratched.
I was tired and irritable. It was not a nice, gentle evening. At one time, I wished desperately that I’d set up a bedtime long ago that involved me taking the girls to their room, tucking them in, kissing them goodnight and leaving the room.
I didn’t do that, though. And more often than not, I love the closeness of the three of us sitting on the couch, me rubbing/scratching Olivia’s back and Alyssa sharing her day, her thoughts, her ideas.
But there are nights like last night when I’m so tired. I’m tired of being touched, of being instructed on where to scratch, how hard to scratch, of being given advice on how to parent Olivia from Alyssa. I’m just tired.
I was less patient with both girls than usual. I apologized over and over again only to be sighing and rolling my eyes thirty seconds after the last apology. It was ugly. I tried to assure them that I wasn’t angry with either of them, that I was just so tired.
Olivia asked me, “Are you being mean because you’re tired?”
Yes. Yes, I was so tired I was being mean. And I hated myself for it. But I couldn’t stop the bad mood from leaking from my every pore, from every sound I made, from every expression that crossed my face. I had to pee and yet Olivia kept turning to give me more places on her body to scratch. I was hot with her laying across my lap.
The complaints were numerous and I should have taken myself out of the situation. I should have walked away for a few minutes but I desperately wanted her to go to sleep. And I knew that any interruption in the scratching process would just prolong her awake time. I wanted her to sleep so I could rest too.
It’s all so stupid and I know it. I know that I need to change up our routine because no one gets any comfort at all from nights like last night. No one enjoyed our evening because Mom was being mean.
I hope to start making small changes that will eventually lead to everyone getting more, better sleep. I hope.