I know, the 2:00 AM reference will probably make you wonder if I have taken to moonlighting.
To a certain degree I guess you could say that I have, although being a parent of 4 young children under the age of 7 is in reality a 7/24 vocation.
This of course leads into today’s post.
For those of you who have young children (or those who remember what it was like to have young children before they grew up), the sleep patterns on any given night can sometimes vary.
Suffice to say that advanced planning for the evening has become an integral part of my nighttime preparation.
To start, there are the established bedtimes.
The 22 month old 7:30 PM, the 4 and 7 year old 8:30 PM and the 7 month old between 7:30 and 8:30 PM. Think of it in the light of scheduling deliveries to different warehouses.
Once the very special packages are snugly tucked away at their appointed destinations or beds/cribs, you then have to ensure that they are properly cared for.
With regard to our special packages this means preparing bottles, water and formula – which by the way I store in a thermos to keep warm throughout the night. There is also the allotment of the proper diapers size 4 and 6 . . . although in the middle of the night with the low light and being half asleep it is hard to differentiate one from the other. I would hazard a guess that on more than one occasion the size 4 was used when a size 6 was required.
SO there you have it . . . all set. By 9:00 PM I am ready to enjoy an all too brief 3 to 4 hour rest – although I usually do a good deal of my writing at this time, before the first evening rounds begin.
Interestingly enough, each bundle of joy have their own time schedule in that the 7 month old usually wakes up at 11:30 PM and 4:00 AM (although occasionally there is a 2:00 AM call nestled in the middle).
The 22 month old usually wakes up between midnight and 12:30 AM, and again at 4:30 AM.
Regarding the 4 and 7 year old, they now sleep through the night only waking sporadically for the perfunctory sip of water, which is kept by their bedside. However, there are still times that both will wake up unexpectedly, which is a variable that has to be taken into consideration at all times.
The long and the short of it is, that with a set plan re schedule I can usually manage to maintain a peaceful night and in the process catch anywhere between 1 to 3 hours of continuous sleep.
However, and as those of us in the world of supply chain and logistics know all too well, things do not always go according to plans.
It is at this point that the 2:00 AM epiphany comes into play.
Take the other night . . . please!
Both the 7 and 22 month old decided to vary their usual schedule and wake up at the same time at 2:00 AM! Think of the noise associated with two 747’s landing simultaneously on a single runway, and that is pretty much what you have here.
Bearing in mind that I am asleep when the alerts begin to sound, it is not unusual to be a little disoriented – at least for a few seconds.
This is where the aforementioned advanced planning comes into play.
I know that the 22 month old will go back to sleep immediately upon being changed and given the nighttime bottle, while the 7 month old will need at least 10 to possibly 20 minutes of rocking before returning to his slumber. Having both the required bottles and diapers already aligned and ready to go I speed into the older one’s room and within 45 seconds are in and out with him happily sleeping.
As I reflect back, and at the risk of sounding self-congratulatory, this is quite a feat given I am still half asleep and operating in the dark. Ironically it doesn’t seem that long ago that such an exercise would take several minutes usually involving my stubbing my baby toe along the way or stepping on an errant toy. I do not miss those experiences.
I now immediately turn my attention to the younger one whose few moments of waiting results in an increasing crescendo of cries that I am amazed hasn’t woken up the entire neighborhood. The kid as they say, has quite a set of lungs.
Despite the obvious challenges of dealing with a smaller package, within a few minutes he too is snuggled in my arms as I rock him back and forth into dreamland.
All seems well . . . thanks to advanced planning . . .
Then the unexpected happens. Both the 4 and 7 year old wake up . . . the 4 year old first because he’s thirsty, and then the 7 year old heading downstairs thinking that it is morning.
No problem . . . I put the 7 month old down, and reach for the water for the 4 year old to take his sip. I then help the 7 year old back to bed.
From first cry to final sigh the whole exercise took approximately 30 minutes.
I can now settle in for the second half of my 3 hour sleep thanks to logistics . . . then I hear the dog growling to be let out.
As Gilda Radner used to say it is always something!