My girlfriend, Jessica, was over one day picking her daughter up from an epic 9th birthday sleepover. We chatted in the kitchen discussing the girls and how late they went to sleep the night before. I casually told her that it didn’t really matter to me because the twins had not yet slept through the night, (FYI they are two) and come to think of it… I really could not remember having a full night’s sleep.
Now her babes are 7 and 9 so she is apparently out of the sleepless woods, but when I told her I had not had a full night’s sleep in years she literally choked on air.
“Whaaaaaa?’” She said. “Like they still get up?”
“Oh yeah, each one a few times a night.” I replied. I then launched into my messy midnights, my nighty-night nightmares, and my bedtime bullshit. The look on her face was priceless.
Friends I present to you…
The McCarthy Musical Beds
Our oldest is about to turn nine. She sleeps like a rock NOW, but that didn’t start until she turned 5. Five years of laying on her floor singing Gordon Lightfoot’s “Pony Man.” My father-in-law would sing it to her as a wee babe and she became hooked…for years. So, when we started singing it to her we tried to fudge it and skip through the verses. Nope – she knew. She knew every word of that horrid song and would call us out on it. We did what any stupid first-time parent would do – we printed the lyrics out and sang them to her by moonlight. Trust me, I want to kick my own ass for that one. We had created a 20-pound nighttime monster, Sam and I.
Once little Carly started snoozing through the night, the middle child decided that she needed to be in the midnight mix too. At age 3, Addy watched Disney’s Brave and became scared shitless of the bear Mordu and would have terrible nightmares about him. I remember asking her what was scaring her so badly and she recalled the whole bear nightmare. I asked her what she said to the bear in her dream.
Her response….”shit bear!”
(Sidenote: my dad and his partner Dan loved the response so much that they named their fishing boat “Shitbear.” It sank or something and they got another. They named it “Shitbear 2.”)
So, Addy has been a frequent flyer in our bed for the past THREE YEARS. Thanks Disney, you evil cash cow. We were doing pretty good at transporting her back to her bed and seemed to be making some progress and then…
WE HAD TWINS!
Now it’s a party kids! Let me tell you about sleepless nights. When you bring a 4-pound baby home you sacrifice a lot of sleep. When you bring TWO 4-pound babies home…well there is zero sleep. ZERO. Each baby ate every two hours, each baby took a half hour to eat…so that is an hour of feeding right there.
Before I could return to my slumber I had to pump. I was a cow. I pumped every two hours around the clock for almost a year. So, this added another half hour to my nightly regiment post twin feeding. Pumping moms out there are nodding…they know. I can feel them shuddering at the memory of their own experiences. So, basically I slept 20 minutes MAYBE before the next feeding cycle began. Go ahead…cry a little for me.
The twins did indeed grow out of nightly feedings, but now they are up for all kinds of other reasons. They are two, and toddlers care nothing about mom’s slumber. They need water, they need their paci, they need a hug, they want me to sing Daddy Finger in the middle of the night. Both of them STILL get up two times a night at least.
Addy is STILL in our bed every night. The girls need me to lie with them every night STILL.
ALL OF THEM.
Every night guys.
Here is what an actual night looks like in our home. Prepare yourselves…
First, read and lie down with the middle child. Listen to her babble about the universe while she strokes my belly and tells me that she loves how squishy my tummy is. Grrrrrr.
Lie with Carly. Listen to her tell me about all that she is curious about, concerned about, thinking about and her daily life goals. Girl is ambitious…this takes a while.
Lie down with Addy again…she forgot to tell me something, she is scared, she is cute. I don’t know.
Tend to the twins. We put them in bed first, but at this point they are sitting at their iron gate like little prisoners. Put them back in their cribs, sing Rock-A-Bye-Baby and Daddy Finger, get water…rock some more…run like hell.
Lay in my king-sized bed side-by-side with Sam staring at the ceiling. We are tired and we know the night has just begun. We are mentally preparing.
The next hour consists of kids running into our room. One more hug, one more thought, one more kiss, one more pee. We also visit the little twins in their prison-like nursery a few million more times.
Finally, they snooze.
Sam snores. I smack him around…a lot. Addy finds her way to our bed. We walk her back. She returns. We give up. I can never fall back asleep so I go sleep in her bed.
BUT WAIT! Carly is in her bed. Awwwww – that’s sweet, she wants to sleep with her sister. Cool with me, I like Carly’s bed better anyways. I sleep in Carly’s bed. The twins wake. I am not in bed with Sam to smack him and tell him to deal with them, so I get up, and get up and get up. He does as well to his credit. (Not as much as I do, but he will be cheesed if I don’t give him some credit.)
The only person who ever sleeps in their OWN bed…is Sam.
Hmmmmmm, ponder THAT one.
I have lost all hope that this will end.
This is my life. A new definition for the 24-hour shift: Musical McCarthy Beds.
Kristin is a regular writer at Suburban Misfit Mom and has been featured on BonBonBreak, Sammiches and PsychMeds, and The Erma Bombeck humorwriters.org site. She is also the satirical, ranty mastermind behind the blog Four Princesses and The Cheese.
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