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Sleep - is it just a fairy tale?

Once upon a time, in a land far away, there were families with children who slept - and allowed their parents to sleep... 

It seems like sleep is simply a fairy tale.  Once upon a time, I slept.  Or, if I didn't sleep, it was a conscious choice on my part.  A late night study session or cramming to get a paper written.  Talking with good friends until the wee hours of the morning.  Or, watching the marathon session of a BBC miniseries. 

Nowadays, I think that sleep has become this fairy tale of hope.  I daydream about it, but never actually reach it.  I lay down at night thinking, "Tonight could be the night!" But, then my child needs to go to the potty one more - or fifty more - times (obviously important).  Or, they need one more hug and kiss (who can deny these?).  How about one more book? (Ok, this one is easy to say "no" to).  They've lost their favorite toy, blanket, snuggle item.  They continue to tell you that they're not tired, despite the ever-present yawning and head nodding - or tantrums which, just as with a wind up toy, seem to spin up right before they're completely and utterly exhausted.  My children even attempt to prove to me that they are sleeping through telling me that they are sleeping.  They forget: I wasn't born yesterday.

"Mommy, go away! I'm sleeping."  ...Sure, I believe that.

I sometimes believe that I have actually fallen asleep.  I'm not sure that I can prove that it's happened.  It feels like it might have because I'm suddenly stunned awake by a deafening scream announcing a monster under my child's bed or the fact that it's dance time (despite the fact that it's 3am).  Or, perhaps, I'm awoken by the dreaded sick child - something that pulls on the heartstrings of every parent.

I've had moments where I've brought my child into my bed simply for the hope that they will fall asleep there.  And, most of the time, they will - after finding the most optimal way for their tiny body to occupy a majority of the bed.



Sleep is important for both parent and child.  But, as Murphy's Laws for Moms continually prove, when a parent most wants and/or needs sleep, the child/children will find any and every excuse (often going down the complete list of excuses) to stay awake - no matter how tired they actually are.


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