My monkey, at four years old, has not yet come to understand the concept of "just 10 more minutes."
When she was a baby, of course, there was no snooze button. It was an I’m-crying-get-up-NOW sort of thing.
My daughter has never been a good sleeper. On the first night she was born, she arrived at 20 minutes after midnight. She was weighed, bathed and after we got all cleaned up and called the moms, we all went to bed around 3:30 a.m.
The little monkey, or "sausage," as our midwife affectionately called her, was sound asleep in her bassinet beside the bed.
However, the better half and I hardly caught a wink because we were both listening and worried about all the little sounds she was making. And if I did fall asleep, I would jerk awake to see if she was still there because it was all so surreal to me.
My mother lived in Winnipeg at the time and she packed up two of the monkey’s uncles and headed out on the wintery roads to see my new little one. I remember telling my mother about the first night of sleep while she was holding her new granddaughter, and then telling her: "Don’t worry, mom, I’m tired, but I’ll sleep well tonight and catch up on all my sleep this week."
She didn’t break her gaze upon my tiny girl, but smiled a little bigger and said, "Yes, eventually you will."
I feel like I’ve aged substantially from that day nearly five years ago, and the new me, if in the same room with the unwise, naive me, would laugh so hard at this statement that I would fall to the ground with aching sides and tears streaming out of my eyes.
My daughter has never been a good sleeper? — heck, she has been an awful sleeper! She wasn’t a baby who had colic thankfully, but she just didn’t like to sleep.
When I was nursing her, she was up every hour. By the time I fed her, changed her and got her back to sleep, I was only getting about 20 minutes in between when she was up again.
It got better, eventually. We got through that.
When I weaned her, I honestly thought that I would get a full night’s sleep some nights. (Insert hardy laugh here.) She would wake up and I would rock her back to sleep or stand at her crib and rub her back until she fell asleep again.
That passed. She got older. And again, my hope renewed for a full night of sleep.
Then, of course, there’s the cup of water, the bad dream, the have-to-pee, the "I’ve lost my covers", the "Where’s my bunny?" or the recent "I’m sorry I picked my nose in bed, but I won’t do it again. I just wanted to tell you."
So I’m up a couple of times a night with her, but now it’s quicker and I can get back to sleep pretty fast. I’ve given up on a full, uninterrupted, night of sleep.
It’s that elusive 10 more minutes in the morning that I’m so desperately after now.
The monkey, without fail, will come in anywhere from 15 minutes to more than an hour before my alarm goes off in the morning. I usually ask her, like I did this morning, for 10 more minutes of sleep.
She can turn on her own light now and sometimes will play in her room for more than 10 minutes so I can get a few more minutes of sleep. That’s rare though.
Ten more minutes to her means she’ll let me, usually, lie in bed for 10 more minutes — but she’ll come in and ask me things or talk to me, or at five minutes and not knowing the concept of time, demand or beg, or cry for me to get out of bed.
You were right, mom. I will catch up on sleep eventually, when she’s moved out and married and having children of her own that aren’t sleeping.
Then I will be the one smiling!
Kyla Henderson is a local freelance journalist, business owner and mommy. Her column runs every week in the Community News.