24 November 2012

Sleeping Away

As a parent of a preschooler and a toddler, I've found that routines and schedules make life so much easier for everyone concerned. The kids have a set bedtime and a nighttime routine, although that's kept flexible, and a routine for getting up and pretty much for the whole rest of the day. What can I say - my kids are most definitely creatures of habit. And that's not a bad thing. Not by a long shot. It makes things around the homes run somewhat smoothly through most days.

And then we go somewhere. And it bites us on the backside. Hard!

We're  visiting Grandma and Granddad for Thanksgiving. We've been having a fun time, laughing, talking, playing and enjoying too much good food. And dealing with kids who won't eat or sleep regularly.

Hence me being up figuring out a foreign coffee maker at oh dark thirty. Little Man kept us awake most of the night refusing to sleep in his bed. After my sleepy Sweetheart put him back to sleep - oh, I don't know, probably for the fourth time - he figured out he could just climb out of the doggone thing. Apparently it's not escape proof enough. For Little Man, it has to have vertical bars that are really tall and be solid enough that he can't shake it apart. Hmm, I wonder if we can move to Alcatraz?

Sorry, the coffee's not ready yet. It's hard to stay on track with a brain starved of caffeine.

So anyway, the little fellow figured out how easily he could get out of bed, so he just decided not to stay in bed. Of course, he did this after I had fallen back to sleep. Suddenly, I found myself jerked out of my sweet dreams by a tiny, and cold, hand reaching out from the darkness to beat me on the throat! Scared the living daylights out of me! I'm afraid to look in the mirror - I just know my hair is probably doing some freaky Elvira thing. I don't think I'm going to look good with a shock of white hair.

But, like the wonderful father I am, I restarted my heart, took the little boogie man back to bed, rocked him, shushed him and got him back to peaceful slumber.

Or so I thought.

I couldn't have been asleep more than five minutes when I was once again woken abruptly. This time it was a loud thump. I had my suspicions. I was pretty sure the boy was once again roaming on the loose - probably stalking the Furball through Mom's garden.

So, as tempted as I was to let him wander until he found Grandma's room, I decided it might be safer to try to hunt him down first. I climbed out of bed and softly padded off into the night, careful not to wake my sleeping beauty or to spook my prey. My hunter's instinct (okay, okay, I know I'm not a hunter, but I've read a lot of Alan Quartermain stories) told me my quarry would head for food. After all, there's pumpkin pie in the kitchen. Who could rightly ignore such a tempting morsel.

So as I silently stalk through the bedroom and out the doorway into the main hall, with complete confidence in my sneaking prowess, I gleefully imagined the shocked look I would see on my boy's face as I jumped out of the darkness and interrupted his pie fest.

It didn't occur to me, or to my ego, that the hunter could become the hunted. As I came out of the hall, he jumped in front of me and scared me so badly that I'm now afraid all of my hair has fallen out from shock.

Needless to say, once I began breathing again, I surrendered. I know when I've been bested. So, I did what any father would do after being scared half to death twice in less than thirty minutes and woken up beyond any hope of further sleep.

I put the little hooligan in bed with Mommy so she could deal with him, and I went off  in search of coffee. Now that's game I can catch.