Oh sleep........thou art everything to me! Whatever happens in between, only assists in the passing of time from one sleep unit to the next. Some mornings I feel a great magnetism pulling me back to my cozy duvet and plush pillow, and there is only so much I can do in my humble strength to resist it. And when I do, it's with the single ambition of being reunited with both, that I go through my waking hours. My sacred sleep. It's one of the first things I taught my twin babies to do - to fall asleep and stay asleep until daylight was well underway. They cooperated - well, mostly.
They aren't babies anymore, and you know kids and putting to bed routines! It always includes any number of stalling tactics, sometimes old and unimaginatively lame, often creative clever ones that warrant bonus stay-awake minutes - no, you can't do away with those, it's what good parenting calls for. Though be on your guard parents, pay close attention. These negotiations are prescient warnings of things to come. The little sneaky tykes are way ahead of us in the game of dodging bedtime! I'm not yet ruling out the possibility of a secret bedtime-terrorist outfit of little brats thinking up new sabotaging strategies for their bratty followers to implement. Ha! But I am on top of this. There will be no dinosaurian approach here, careful balance will be struck between setting fair limits and authoritarianism. Nothing happens by chance - I've read 'How to raise resilient children' cover to cover. Also, I happen to have a knowledge bank that cunningly files away every trick up every sleeve I have ever seen - I don't fall for the same things twice! Seriously, how many can they have? So let it be known, I am the adult here!
'Wait Mummy! STOP! Don't put down the blinds!!' he shouted, his eyes sparkling with excitement. Bored me goes, 'Why not?'
'Didn't you see it?', eyes still sparking. Still bored me 'See what?'
'A shooting star! I saw a shooting star!! quickly pull the blinds back up again, Hurry!" he urged. My daughter runs into the room 'Did he see a shooting star? I want to see the shooting star too! How come I never see shooting stars?'
'I'm sure you were mistaken, it couldn't have been a shooting star' I said patiently, but ever increasingly more bored. 'Off with you Aurelia, back to your room and into bed. And you Ewan, into bed!'
'Why not?' he persists, 'Don't shooting stars exist? You said shooting stars exist!' his sparkle turning to disappointment.
'Yes, of course shooting stars exist. You couldn't have seen one though.' I said as kindly as I could.
'If they exist, why couldn't I have seen one? ' sparkle turning to disappointment and hurt. Remind me to chuck that lousy book!
'Because honey,....... Oh well, it would be gone by now anyway. Shooting stars shoot away you know. Why don't we just roll the blinds back down and crawl into bed ' I said in a weird friendly stern tone.
'Well, I saw the shooting star and you didn't' he said resiliently (perhaps the book isn't all crap). Aurelia's back again, 'I'm sure you just imagined it' she says huffily.
'Good for you Ewan, I'm happy for you if you saw a shooting star. Now lets get to bed, both of you' I said, reassured about my parenting skills.
'I made a wish you know, I made a wish upon a shooting star. It's going to come true' he said smiling, and I smiled a fake smile back. 'Don't you want to know what I wished for?' he asked.
I've got this one! I reply 'They say if you tell me, it won't come true. Lets say our prayers......Good night honey.'
Lights out, in bed, at last! Clear up dinner, check! Tidy up kitchen, check! Should be catching up on work...ah, what the hell, no check. The laundry is pouring out and ready to crawl......nah, tomorrow's as good a day as any. Will just call it a day and crash.
I hear a soft whine. I'm sleep drugged and trying to place it. I look at the clock. It's 12:33 a.m. I hear it again, I'm trying to move. It's that magnetic force again keeping me in bed. The whine gets more distinct, now he's calling for me. Heroically, I break through the force, bringing up my protesting body, moving my legs of lead. I trudge over to his room, he's sitting up in bed and crying. Wide awake. 'What's wrong honey? Did you have a bad dream? Why don't you try going back to sleep?'
Between sniffs and snorts, what I can decipher is, 'I'm gonna eat you all, carnivores eat....gonna eat you all, my whole family and......and everyone else'
I'm blank. 'What? What're you......why...come, come, go back to sleep honey, no one's eating anyone.'
Quite frantic now he says 'No you don't understand, I wished upon the shooting star to turn into a Giganotosaurus when I wake up tomorrow. They're carnivores, MEAT EATING dinosaurs. I don't want to be a Giganotosaurus!'
I'm waking up. He goes on 'Now I can't go to sleep! If I do, I'll wake up as a Giganotosaurus tomorrow.'
Oh, for the love of God!!!!
'Don't worry honey, that won't happen. It'll be fine. You won't..um...er.. turn into a Trex. I don't think you saw a shooting star.....' I'm trying here.
As if it would matter, he says even more agitatedly, 'Not a Trex mummy, a Giganotosaurus.' Then he draws a long breath, and bellows, 'AND I DID SEE A SHOOTING STAR!!!'
'Ok, Ok, you saw a shooting star alright! You saw a ***$%&!!#@ shooting star!'
Seriously, I'm going to burn that book!
I tried again, 'But...um..... wishes on shooting stars don't always come true.'
'They don't? I thought wishes on shooting stars come true? You said so.'
Focus on the greater cause here my child!
'Well, think about it' I said, 'you couldn't hurt us even if you were a.. um.. a.. T.. Giganotosaurus. Dinosaurs didn't live alongside humans.'
I'm awake now, good and proper and I can see him thinking 'Then when I wake up tomorrow I'll be alone, a lone Giganotosaurus. I won't have you or daddy or Aurelia, I'll be alone in the Cretaceous period making a meal of everything that's slower than I am.' Waaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!
Well MAYBE you should have thought about that before ??!!
Aurelia is awake now and wants to know why Ewan is yelling about a shooting star he didn't see in the first place.
I'm outdone, I give up!