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Dear Sons,

I am writing this letter after my second cup of coffee, and will need to break for my third before I’m done. I am hoping that the third cup of coffee will bring me to the point of feeling half-way awake, and less like a truck ran over me in the night.

To be completely honest, there are only two reasons I need these multiple cups of caffeine. 1. Truman. 2. Grant. That’s right my beautiful little men, you two. Why you feel the need to battle it out with your much needed sleep is beyond me, but I enjoy surrendering to slumber so I need you to knock it off now. You both know that if you are up; I am up. Guess what? I don’t want to be up between the hours of 10:00 pm and 6:00 am. (Grant, you get passes for feeding but not for flailing around in bed and chewing on the sheets.) I feel like there is a communication break down somewhere between us, so I’m setting down some guidelines for you guys. I hope this helps.

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What my children look like at 3:00 am when I am trying to sleep.

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1. If you have a nightmare, you may cry out. I will cuddle you, explain that you are fine and put you back to bed. Then, you go to sleep.

2. If you want to play with a vacuum, open the door, close the door, turn the light on or off, go to the potty without actually going potty, visit relatives seven hours away or bake cookies at any point between 8:00 pm and 6:00 am; the answer is always going to be no. Go to sleep.

3. If your diaper is dry, you have just eaten, and it is 3:00 am; there is no reason to roll all over the bed, wildly kick your legs and grab handfuls of my hair. These are day time activities. Go to sleep.

4. Waking once is fine. Waking twice is tolerable. Waking three or more times in a loud and disruptive manner is not acceptable. Go to sleep.

5. When I graciously allow both of you to sleep next to me in a desperate attempt to get you to just stay quiet for five minutes; try (just make a tiny effort) to leave three inches of space for me to lay next to you. It is a king sized bed for crying out loud, the room is there! I’d also like it if you would refrain from smothering each other and clawing one another’s faces. Spread out a little and just sleep.

6. You have to pick one of three comfortable and soothing sleep places. Crib, Pack and Play or Your Parents’ Bed. They are all clean, soft and safe. You can use any one you want! Notice, I have not offered: Mommy’s Arms While She Stands In The Dark Swaying Just A Little, But Not Too Much AT 4:00am. Choose one of the available options and sleep.

7. I am not picky. I can sleep with your body laying on me, smashed up against me, your finger in my nose, your drool running down my arm or your little chunky butt shoved into my ribcage. All of that is fine as long as you are asleep. Sleep!

8. You are physically capable of calling out for Daddy once in awhile. Really.

9. I know that neither of you have anything to do all day besides eat, play and have fun. You can also nap whenever you want. Mommy does not have this option. I have to communicate with people and I have to do so in an upright position. I have to smile, be patient, listen to others and problem solve. I have to drive and think and work and do adult crap all day. Then I come home to you two and I want to be nice and sweet and loving. Please, please I beg you, let me sleep!

10. When you finally fall asleep at 5:30 and my alarm goes off at 6:00, then you stay asleep until I absolutely have to wake you up so we can leave the house, and then to top it all off you are crabby and mean to me when I wake you up; it makes me want to kick something. Not you because I love you and would never hurt you, but I might want to kick one of your toys or something

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My children at 7:00 am. When it is too late for me to get sleep.

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I want you to know that I am writing this all down so I can pay you back in your teenage years. There will come a time that you’ll stay up late watching TV or playing video games or hanging out with your friends, and all you will want in the world is to sleep in the next morning until your body naturally tells you to rise. You will crave that wonderful well-rested feeling, to feel rejuvenated and clear headed, ready to face your day happily and without the use of stimulants.

Well, I am not going to let you. I will pick that perfect night to burst into your room at 2:00 am screaming for a glass of water, demanding to sleep with my foot in your armpit and cry for two hours about playing outside. I’m going to poke you and prod you and speak gibberish loudly in your bedroom until 5:00. Then I’m going to wake you up at 6:00, make you get dressed and force you to make us pancakes. I’m going to lick them all and feed them to the dog, dump my glass of water on the table and then, I will go back to bed. You’ll still come out ahead because I will be too old and tired to do this more than one time, where as you have the undying energy to do this to me over and over for the next five years at least. You win, ok? Now, please… just go to sleep.

Love you too much,

Your Exhausted Mother

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