On any given night, our home resembles the inner workings of the nocturnal house at the zoo.
With the exception of Quinlan, who has thankfully outgrown her penchant for 2am crib parties and will actually sleep late (which, don't get all jealous because it's 8:00am if we're lucky and we need not go into how sad and pathetic you have become when you declare that 8:00am is actually late but, alas, we're parents and we're here to redefine word meanings), my two younger kids alternate late night visits or wake up calls at the most inconvenient of times.
Which, when you're soundly sleeping, is always.
Now my son likes to pop into our room around 2 or 3am and give us some ridiculous sob story about it being too dark (hello, bathroom light shining brightly like a mid-day sun) or he's feeling alone (with his sister sleeping in the bed less than a foot away) or he's cold (even under his huge heat producing comforter).
And then to avoid the tantrum that will surely ensue and wake up the entire neighborhood from telling him that he must return to his brightly lit, well-populated room all alone, or at least "until the light shines through your window if you want to watch your shows darnit" [note: that was the nice version] I walk him back, which has, on occasion led to me sleeping in a twin bed with my son laying across me horizontally.
On my extra lazy and less empathic nights, I'll offer him some sort of outrageous reward, like a box of donuts, his own lifesize bulldozer, or other such nonsense and he will return on his very own, with visions of glazed donuts and John Deere tractors dancing in his head.
So far, I owe him an entire Dunkin Donuts store and a collection of construction trucks. Thank God the kid can't add yet.
Now Margot, on the other hand, who has been weaned for a couple of months now, will generally sleep through the night, and then wake up up around 6am screaming her head off, which is about 45 minutes before everyone needs to wake up for school and requires a mad dash to shut the older kids' door and turn on their bathroom fan to cover the desperate cries so that they get that precious 45 minutes of sleep.
Of course, they usually hear me close the door or turn the fan on, and then they're wide awake but she's already fallen back asleep and I'm *this* close to losing my mind.
And meanwhile, even if I do fall back asleep, I'll get a whopping 30 minutes which means I'll be more tired than if I would be if I just stayed up and did something smart like make breakfast early and pack the school lunch at the last minute because who does it the night before? That would be, um, prepared and all.
But truly, the best part of all this is that, as you might have guessed, they only want me. Not Daddy, who they don't often see, and who is really quite fantastic at returning children to bed (isn't that in their job description?).
Nope. My son heads straight to my side of the bed marked "Sucker" or just stands at the door way begging for me, which wouldn't be so bad except when my husband budges to get him he starts yelling my name louder as if he's releasing my son's mute button when he gets up which really, my son has no mute button, so the volume goes from 25 to 47.
And even Margot's French-inspired and very cute "mah-MAW!" is not endearing, though she does get extra points for attempting to lure me in with an accent.
On many occasions, I have longed for a night where I can put them in bed and not see them until they come running in when the sun comes up. I mean seriously people, when will it ever end?
But then I figure that we'd probably be so worried that we would go in and check on them because OMG ARE THEY OKAY? and inevitably wake them up.
Oh the damn irony.