Monday, June 28, 2010

Knock out of a World Cup night

I have been in a state akin to suspended animation all day. I look back to the days of small babies and what seemed like years of permanent sleep deprivation and wonder how I, and indeed the entire family, survived. I used to define my physical and mental state at that point in my life where I had three children under five, by the fact that if anyone had offered me a bed, or even a flat surface, in a darkened room, I would have been asleep in less than a minute. I remember the moment of falling asleep as a blissful sensation where I could feel myself hovering on the edge of a deep well shaft and then just spiralling into blackness.

The reason for the all the sleep deprivation reminiscences is because last night was like a scene from a horror movie that could have been entitled “Carry On Family Life”

We had had a relaxed Sunday complete with a walk along one of the paths that wend their way round the many indentations of Sydney Harbour, through a bush setting dominated by gums and sandstone outcrops, so I went to bed comparatively early relaxed in mind and and body – and then the evening programme kicked off.

9.30 -10p.m. Visits from various Drama Queens demanding I make sure their father wake them for the England/Germany world cup match that was due to start at midnight Sydney time. The sad demise of Australia as a contender has meant a swift switch in football allegiances in the household.

12.01 a.m. Eruption of household to watch match. I cravenly stuff my head under pillow having limited interest in football, but major interest in sleep.

12.30 a.m. The DQs retreat back to bed but husband kindly provides a shouted running commentary to ensure they don’t miss a moment of excitement.

1.00 a.m. Husband gives up on game and comes to bed.

2.30 a.m. Drama Queen throws up – fortunately into sick bowl she has thoughtfully provided herself with – one of my major child rearing milestones is when your children are old enough to anticipate need for a sick bowl and even more importantly, to actually be sick into it, rather than all over the bed/carpet/you.

4.00 a.m. Drama Queen no 1. appears in parental bedroom to say someone is tapping at her bedroom window. At this stage in the morning I am no mood for the Cathy/Heathcliff type of mysterious rapping at windows and indeed there is less of a “Cathy, come home” type note in my voice and a more of a “Nonsense, go back to bed” groan.

5.00 a.m. Door flung open yet again and a Drama Queen enters and settles herself down for the remainder of the night. This manoeuvre causes a fair amount of din, owing to the fact she mistakenly flings her duvet over the pile of approximately 100 metal coat hangers that I have been hoarding in a pile under my dressing table.

6.00 a.m. Crawl out of bed in Pavlovian response to the alarm clock, only to stand on a metal coat hanger and then subsequently hop onto sleeping Drama Queen. I exit the bedroom at a rapid hop, still cursing and examining flesh wound on foot, the thuds of my progress up the wooden hall floor echoed by the squawks of rudely awakened child.

However the good news story that emerges from all this is;
a) the occasional sleepless night reminds me there are major benefits to being a parent of teenagers rather than toddlers
b) I have survived today – despite meeting a friend this evening who looked at me with some concern and enquired if I was feeling all right – by which I deduce I must be looking wild eyed and woolly – damn, knew I should have kept those dark glasses on, but would I fear have looked somewhat strange in brightly lit supermarket. How did Jackie Onassis manage to get away with it full time?
c) Best of all – term finished for me as a teacher today and I now have glorious three weeks of holiday. I am making a mental note to schedule in some gratuitous, indulgent lying in bath or on bed with a book, to recalibrate the sleep scales.

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