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Dear God of Sleeping Children, it’s me, Jane

by Whatever Girl on January 8, 2010 · 3 comments

I’m on my knees, cool tiles under my legs. A faint light comes through the door and there is a light perfume in the air. No, I am not in a church. I’m in a motel room bathroom and I am praying to my old friend, the God of Sleeping Babies.

I have never been particularly religious but when my kids were babies, the God of Sleeping Babies and myself used to have long talks, albeit a bit one-sided. I would sit unmoving by their cribs, talking to him about  how I would promise not to eat anymore chocolate if they would just go to sleep. Sometimes, my God would help me out and sometimes I think he was busy elsewhere. Right now, I’m hoping he can hear me. He has now been upgraded to the God of Sleeping Children but it’s still the same God.

My husband and  two kids Zoe, 8 and Jacob, 13 are out in the room trying to go to sleep. So what? you say. Big Deal? And why are you in the bathroom? Well.

When my kids were little and could be nursed to sleep or were tired enough at 7:30 that a good story was all that was required to send them off to la-la land, a night in a motel was no big deal. The kids would fall asleep, and Kent and I would stare at the TV for awhile before nodding off ourselves. Or something like that anyway.

I, too, would not have understood how this could possibly be a hardship until Jacob, 5yrs older than Zoe, started getting to bed a little later, and falling asleep a little later than Zoe. That’s when the trouble started, in room 703 of a hotel room in Vancouver three years ago when Zoe was 5 and Jacob 10. We were on our way to Hawaii and had to overnight in Vancouver at the No-Comfort Motel or whatever it was called in order to catch our early flight.  I tried to bundle everyone off to sleep early on so that they would not mind being woken up at the butt-crack of dawn for our 5:45am flight or whatever it was. We had baths and stories and everyone was all tucky-tucky as we liked to say back then. We tried to turn off the lights and just leave the tv on so we could watch What Not To Wear or whatever it was. Uh huh. Like that was going to work:

Zoe: “Mumma, why is that woman wearing those pyjamas with that dress?”

Me: “Go to sleep honey, we have to get up really early in the morning and you don’t want to be tired. And those aren’t pyjama bottoms those are her pants.”

A few seconds later…

Zoe: “Mumma, I don’t like that red skirt she’s wearing. She shouldn’t wear it with that yellow shirt. It looks bad”

Me: “Honey please stop watching the tv and go to sleep. And I think it’s more the style of the shirt that is the problem rather than the colour but can you please go to sleep?”

Jacob: “Zoe go to sleep and STOP KICKING ME!”

Kent (helpfully, as Dads tend to be): “BOTH OF YOU KIDS GO TO SLEEP NOW OR YOU’RE NOT GOING IN THE MORNING!”

Me: “Honey you shouldn’t make threats you can’t follow through on and can you try to keep your voice down? No sense in getting everyone more worked up than they already are heh heh. Maybe we should turn the TV off for a few minutes?”

Kent: “NO WAY. THEY SHOULD LEARN TO GO TO SLEEP. WHEN I WAS A KID I WOULD FALL ASLEEP IN THE BEDROOM AT PARTIES AND EVERYONE WOULD THROW THEIR …”

Me (cutting him off at the pass) “Yes, I know, throw their coats on you and you wouldn’t wake up. Wow! What a great sleeper you were! Here’s a medal! Now could you stop yelling???”

Jacob: “ZOE STOP. KICKING. ME. NOW!! (BOOT BOOT)”

Zoe: (Crying now) “OWWWWWWWOWWWWOWWW Jacob kicked me REALLY HARD. You are the WORST BROTHER EVER. I HATE YOU!”

Me: “OK EVERYONE STOP RIGHT NOW BEFORE THE HOTEL CALLS THE POLICE!”

Fortunately, at this point, due the slightly sketchy neighbourhood in which the No-Sleep Hotel and Suites resided, a siren sounded right outside our window.

Me: “Look! They’re here already! Now both of you get to sleep. NOW!”

I never thought to invoke the God of Sleeping Babies that night. Fortunately the siren did the trick and blessed silence ensued as they both went to sleep. After that episode, I began to dread  the prospect of a night in a hotel room like I dreaded the prospect of bathing suit shopping or camping after watching the Blair Witch Project . Unfortunately we like to travel. And so, despite my efforts( like considering paying an extra $200 per ticket so that we didn’t have to sleep in a hotel the night before) we found ourselves in similar situations many times after this inaugaral experience. And now here we are in Vernon a night before we need to be and it  was either the Van or a hotel. I figured that since the kids were now older, they might manage better in a hotel room.

Not so much.

So here I am on the bathroom floor. I thought that it would work out with them both in the same bed: Jacob is so tall and gangly that neither Kent nor I can stand the thought of sleeping with him and as Zoe is the smallest, she won the honours. Two kicking bouts, three name-calling sessions, one yelling father and a storming mother later, I was clearly wrong.

 I shut the bathroom door and left them to it. Mental note to self, once I remove my (possibly semi-psychotic) self from the scene, things seem to improve. Hmmm…

And so, dear reader, as I write these words to the sound of the tap dripping, I find myself once again invoking a long lost prayer to the God of Sleeping Babies. We have remained friends, this God and I, and now I am calling on him again. I am promising to eat more vegetables, to not stay up so late (well, whatever), to not try and sneak chocolate bars while I’m driving and then, when the kids hear the wrappers rustling, deny their existence (the chocolate bars, not the kids). I promise not to be grumpy on the drive home tomorrow. I promise to exercise more, call my mum more. Please let them go to sleep so I can finish my blog. Please?

I am grateful to this Godfriend of mine. He always manages to take me away from the situation for long enough that I gain some perspective. Funny how that works. Our conversations always end up with me realizing that when I put my child to bed, I’m the adult in the room and should start acting like one. And strangely enough, when I remember this small fact, things seem to get better. So I’m grateful for that too.

I stand up and stretch out my cramped legs. Something clicks in my knee and I hobble out into the bedroom. Zoe has removed herself to the floor with a pile of pillows and a blanket and is sleeping sweetly. Jacob has sprawled his nearly 6ft across the entire bed, all legs and elbows. Kent is dead to the world.

It’s quiet. Ioffer up my own silent word of thanks to my friend, the God of Sleeping Families, and crawl into bed happy that once again, all is well in the world.

Thanks for reading!

Cheers,

Jane

ps – Please feel free to borrow my Godfriend anytime you like. He’s very attentive:)

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

miss sandy January 8, 2010 at 11:20 pm

haha! i totally will borrow this wonder god of yours!

Our Little Pickle January 18, 2010 at 1:00 pm

I envoked this god guy and got his answering service… maybe I dialed the wrong number :)-

jiv January 26, 2010 at 10:59 pm

Sounds like a very exciting night before a big trip. What my parents use to say is ” sleep fast so you can start the trip early” whatever that means.

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