Thursday, 22 December 2011
There were five in the bed...
When the Sweetpea first started doing some locums to make a few extra pennies, he had to travel far and wide to the hospitals that needed him most. I was left alone for a lot of the time with the boys and Little Miss Snoopy, and I very quickly discovered that traipsing between three different rooms several times in a night to answer various cries or calls for water/a wee/a conversation in order to stay out of bed longer was exhausting and left me getting about two hours sleep in a night. It was also around the time of the earthquakes, and I spent hours fretting in the middle of the night (when I wasn't wandering from room to room, I had to fill the empty hours somehow) about what I would do if something similar happened here and I wouldn't be able to get to all three at the same time.
I soon came up with the perfect solution - I moved everyone into my room. That way I could be with them in an instant and return to my bed almost without really waking up, and I could also keep an eye on all of them at the same time. I started to sleep better, and life was again rosy.
The Sweetpea was not as charmed by the idea, though. Surprising, that! He just could not see the advantage of having five people in one room when we have a house with four bedrooms. He started muttering about how we could have got away with living in a kaya (small shack) instead of a large and spacious house. "It will only be while you are away," I reassured him.
He was away for quite a few weekends in a row, and then he went on kung fu camps, and we went on holiday, and then he was off to South Africa. Suffice it to say that the kids have now been in our room for six months now with no end in sight. And do you know what? I absolutely love it! I love waking in the middle of the night to their peaceful breathing, their small, snuffling night noises, their unfamiliar pattern of nocturnal activities. But for having them in our room, I would never have known, for example, that Paddy is a sleep laugh-er. Occasionally we are woken by fits of giggles coming from the mound of duvets under which he burrows nightly. Sam is a sleep talker - he often talks of strange doings and addresses people in his sleep. Little Miss Snoopy likes to know there is someone there and if she wakes in the night she kisses my face with hundreds of resounding smooches before falling asleep again with her arm flung around my neck.
And it is no great hardship either. The Sweetpea and I have set up our own little space in the room that used to belong to the boys, and it is almost like a little sanctum. It's a space where we can go to be together, and we don't talk about nonsense, or fight (well, rarely), but rather a place to spend time affirming and being with each other. And then we head back to our family, and the night is filled with children, just as the day is. As it must be in all of those cultures who don't believe in separating their kiddies from them.
What an unexpected blessing! And my kiddies all sleep much better than they did before, too.
In the mornings, especially those on which we can lie in, the little ones creep quietly into our bed, one by one, until the whole of our super king-size is overflowing with squirmy, wriggly-joyous little bodies, thrilled to be facing another day. They burrow under the covers and make tents, worming their way down to the bottom of the bed and tickling feet on the way. They kick and bounce and squeal, they act like kitties or baby mice, they cuddle into us and put their heads on our shoulders and curve their warm little bodies into ours. And for once, we don't have superheroes; I don't get told off for calling them my "little boys". They are my babies again, and they love it too.