Remember when you couldn’t get your toddler down for a nap? The little bug just kept on singing, shouting, crying – doing whatever he could to cajole you into lifting him out of the crib. But you held your ground because hey, we all need sleep – most of all, you.
I used to tell my parent-friends that the two things I’d never compromise for my kids were food and sleep. They had to get enough of both or it was my fault they were driving me mad. The problem was convincing the kid.
“Sleep is beautiful,” I used to coo. “It’s warm and cozy and you get to visit faraway places in your dreams.” I wasn’t just a sleep pusher for my own sake. When you grow up, you realize that dreaming is a drug. It’s like watching a long, free movie, starring you, and all you have to do is lie on pillows, enjoying. What could be better?
Back then, my Energizer Bunnies would have none of it, and as they grew, bedtime became a war zone. Sleep meant missing out on Monopoly or popcorn. So every Labour Day, I’m negotiating new bedtimes like a lawyer just to watch in frustration as those times slide later and later. Somehow, there’s always an excuse to stay up.
And then they were teens. These days, I can force them to bed with weekday logic, aka threats (“You’re getting up at 7, Dummy. I’m pulling the Internet plug!”), but weekends? Forget it.
On Friday night, even though they’ve been up for 17 hours already, the teens are nowhere near tired. It’s a physiological fact: A teen who knows he can sleep the next day can stay up all night, no problem.
By about 2 on Saturday, I can use a nap. I’ve downed three cups of coffee, cheered through a tween hockey game, had lunch, cleaned the basement, walked the dog. And through it all, my teens – and a few vampire friends sprawled like roadkill on the floor – are hopelessly lost in those fantastic dreams I tried to sell them way back when.
I guess they deserve to snooze after a hard week of school. Still, I’ve got recurring fantasies of blowing a trumpet in their ears and laughing while they leap out of bed like cartoon characters with shocked hair. Truth be told, I hate watching a couple of grumpy sloths lazing around the house on a magnificent day – or at least until they text their way into plans – mumbling about why there’s never the right food in the fridge before they start revving up for another night. Just so they can start their (and now MY) hate-love affair with sleep all over again.
For a few years there, I thought I had kids and sleep covered, and I guess I did. Way to go, Mom. Now pass the blanket.