Monday, March 22, 2010


In this world, you've got a lot of negative personas you can take on. You can be an airhead. Or a deadhead. The kids have even picked up on this and invented "poopyhead." Whatever. In our house, we have sleepheads.

I know what you're thinking; you're thinking, 'don't you mean sleepYhead, Heather?' Ah, no. A sleepYhead is a cute little expression to describe someone who needs a bit more rest. Sleephead is something far more permanent. Sleephead is a state of mind. It could even be considered a condition.

("Condition" is such a great euphemism for "disorder.")

It's the desire to sleep at any given time of the day, with no real reason why. No, it's not narcolepsy; you could keep from sleeping if you really were a better person, more hard-working. Sleepheads sit at work, watching the time tick away, waiting for the time they can snooze again. They dream about sleeping. They sleep in on the weekends as late as is socially acceptable, even when at Disney World, sometimes later.

We are a house full of sleepheads, from the oldest (over 40) to the youngest (less than a year old). The teenager will sleep for more than twelve hours straight if left to her own devices. The baby will cry and rub her eyes, we lay her in her crib, and she turns on her side, sucks her thumb, and sleeps sometimes for three hours in a single stretch. And me? The mother of an almost eight month old? I should be up and at 'em most hours of the day and generally sleep deprived, right?

(Oh, I'm going to hate myself later for confessing all this here.)

Well, I sleep a lot. I don't mean that in an, "I sleep when the baby sleeps" kind of way. I mean, my baby sleeps a lot, so I do too. Which I love.

She turns in about 10 or 11p each night. Then she sleeps until about 8 or 9a. Then I pull her in bed with me, nurse her, and fall asleep in the meantime. The next thing I know, it's 10:30a or so and she's looking up at me after sleeping with me another hour or so.

That's right, I can get about 10+ hours of sleep each night if I want.

I keep this a highly-guarded secret from other mothers of babies. And to make it worse, this is the second time I've done this. My older daughter slept through the night...when she was two weeks old. She slept 9-10 hours straight every night after that until she was about 6 months old. I realized after her two month visit to the pediatrician, when another mother of an infant asked about sleeping, that I should never, ever, EVER, confide in another young child's parent what my children's sleep patterns are. When I told her about my baby, she just about ripped my head off. I'm sure she was a very nice woman, she was just sleep deprived and I had no sense not to fake like I was too.

Is there a bad side to this? Well, yeah. We never can schedule anything before 10a in the morning. Seriously. Our family trying to get out the door early in the morning leads to severe duress. My older daughter is on the varsity swim team with morning practices beginning at 6a. Those are REAL killers. On those mornings, I wish we weren't such sleepheads. We have NEVER left for a road trip less than three hours after we planned to leave. And we have either missed flights or cut it way too close for comfort at the airport more times than I can count anymore. On the weekends we know that if we want to have breakfast together, we'd better not plan on the meal happening before 11a or else the meal conversation will consist of nothing more than grunts and growls. Oh, and here's a real hard one: how do you teach a kid who loves to sleep, one who's just like you, to get up when her alarm goes off and get ready for school no matter what hour of the day it is and no matter how much she wants to sleep more? We had a very difficult few years of learning that skill with my oldest. The rule is, if she misses the bus, just start walking to school. People think we're harsh parents for this rule, but we know from experience that she'll either learn now or she'll learn when she fails her college courses or she gets fired from one or two (or ten) jobs. Suffice it to say, she gets up when that alarm goes off on school days, no matter how much she adores her bed.

God save us all if someone comes into our family who's not a sleephead. Like, I'd like to have another baby, but boy, it would be tough if the baby didn't love her beauty rest. And then there's a day when my children might marry. Good luck to them. I just don't think I can handle it if family holidays begin at the crack of dawn. I like Easter egg hunts to start no earlier than 10a. Or maybe in the afternoon. That is, if we can even get out of bed in time to make it to morning mass in the first place. Mercy.

1 comment:

Heather said...

I wish I could fall asleep so easily. Once I am asleep I'd like to continue to sleep for as late as possible. But I am a night owl and I stay up too late at night which makes me want to sleep in.

My son is just like me, night owl and sleep in. My daughters are like their father. Up at the crack of dawn...but they will lay in bed and snuggle while I doze.