“I’m setting my alarm for 4:13,” I mention casually as I shove packed lunchboxes in the refrigerator.
I’m not into New Year Resolutions, it just happens that I’m spearheading a new exercise routine at the beginning of January, which just happens to be the beginning of a new year. I know Monday will be busy, so I plan to workout and shower before work. As extra insurance on this plan, I don’t dry my hair after showering Sunday night. I even braid my wet locks, a guarantee for a crazy mess and the need for a fresh wash in the morning.
I go to bed Sunday night, checking to make sure my alarm is set.
At 11:30pm, I am awoken by a familiar middle of the night sound…not my alarm. “Mom! Mama! Mom? Mama?” It’s Rose. Ever since the summer, she has made a habit of waking in the middle of the night. Exhausted and not wanting to deal with this little issue has become my own bad habit. I pull myself up the stairs every night, pull Rose from her crib, she rests her head on my shoulder, and we sleepwalk back downstairs to my cozy bed. My husband has taken up sleeping on the couch. This is how routine this bad habit has become.
Sunday night is no different. Except that instead of settling back to sleep, Rose is restless. First, she needs water. Then, she needs more water. Then, she decides she wants to go back to her crib and requests that I don’t leave her, so I settle on her floor with an extra pillow and blanket. All appears quiet. I think I may even be able to sneak out of her room again, the promise of a Rose free bed excites me.
Rose must have sensed my thought of leaving. She’s whining again. “Go to sleep,” I say. “I’m right here. Want to hold hands?” I reach my hand in between the bars of the crib. Rose is a cuddler.
The whines continue. Sensing the passage of time, I have already calculated how much sleep I could still get if I got back to bed now, before my 4:13 alarm.
“Want to go back to my bed?” I ask.
“I want to watch Peppa,” Rose announces.
Desperate, I agree to let her lay on the couch and watch her favorite show, Peppa Pig. I set her up with a blanket and pillow, hoping she’ll fall asleep shortly and tip toe back to my own room.
I will sleep to come, but I am very aware of the sound of the Peppa Pig theme song playing faintly from the living room and the familiar banter between Peppa and her family.
I decide to peek on Rose, surely she must be asleep by now. I can turn off the tv and finally get to sleep.
I walk through the kitchen and my eyes lock with Rose’s as I enter the living room. Still awake.
I ask her if she’s ready for bed and why she’s holding her dad’s ID badge from his wallet he has left on the coffee table. “I needed a credit card,” she says.
I retrieve the card and settle her back under the covers of her makeshift bed. “You really need to sleep,” I say. “I really need to sleep,” I say as my eyes catch sight of the clock. If I can get to sleep now, I can still sleep for two more hours.
I get back in bed and it isn’t five minutes before I hear the patter of Rose’s feet as she runs to my bedroom. “Excuse me Mom. Can you fix my hair?” she asks as I open my eyes to see her holding the end of one of the braids she insisted on after her bath.
“I can fix it in the morning,” I tell her. She whines and I know that won’t work. I fumble with the elastic and secure the braid. She’s off, back to the couch.
A few minutes later, she’s back. “Excuse me Mom! Can I have another credit card?”
She loves holding onto business cards and has decided this would be a good time to get another. “Not now Rose. It’s the middle of the night,” I tell her…again.
She patters off and my body convulses into laughter. “You can’t make this stuff up,” I think to myself before my mind turns to worrying. “Why can’t she sleep? Maybe she is sick?”
I start wondering aloud and my husband, who has not fled to the couch for once, joins in. “Maybe we should call the doctor. Everyone needs sleep.”
If he’s worried, now I am double worried. I fret for a few more minutes before wondering aloud if perhaps she is finally getting her two year molars. “Check in the morning,” my husband says. “She’s quiet now.”
I refrain from checking for about ten minutes until I can’t stand it any longer. I find Rose, standing in the living room as if it was the middle of the afternoon. “Can I play now?” she asks.
“Let me check your mouth,” I say, shoving my fingers in to feel her gums. I think I feel something. “Open wide,” I instruct, peering in.
“You didn’t tell me you are growing new teeth!” I exclaim, a wave of calm washing over me.
I gave Rose some Tylenol, pop her back into my bed, and finally fall asleep after a bit of tossing and turning.
At 4:13, my alarm goes off. “What’s that?” my husband asks.
“It’s 4:13,” I reply, weighing my options.
“Already,” I say as I gently roll myself out of bed to get ready for that workout I scheduled with myself.