I have nowhere to go. Every step makes noise. Every door makes noise. Every activity makes noise.
My husband joined a band and gets home at three a.m. every morning on the weekend. We have four kids. The youngest sleeps in his own room because we’re most desperate for him to get all the sleep he needs and want the space to turn on the light if there’s some urgent medical need in the night. The three others share a room. This occasionally leads to great sleeping difficulties. We are in such a time now.
Our four-year-old son appears to run on steam energy generated by whining and needs hardly any sleep. He wakes up, ready to wrestle the world. Some mornings he wakes the entire house. Most mornings he wakes the three-year-old and six-year-old with whom he shares a room. Seeing Miss Three-Year-Old in desperate need for sleep, signaled by tantrum after illogical tantrum, we set up a tent in the living room for the Energizer Boy. I planted his pillow, train blanket, and a stack of books the size of an end table inside his tent. We kept him up late watching “The Great British Baking Show.” He declared halfway through that he will not be a hunter, he will be a baker.
Then he slept.
Now I have nowhere to go.
I wake up early to prevent the boy from waking the house and stealing food (we taped the fridge shut last night). I do half my exercises in our bedroom until I’m out of breath and, thinking my breathiness would wake my spouse, do one more repetition in the bathroom before giving up. I tiptoe and grimace as I attempt to put myself together for the day, knowing I cannot do all I’d like to for myself, but being such a morning person that I want to anyway. I creak through the hallway thinking I hear the boy awake. I realize that he’s not and that I must remove my creaking shoes.
The office is open. We should have him sleep in the office but the idea of all the damage he could do with those crayons, pencils, pens, and paints makes me think of drinking martinis. He would take every book off the shelf to read them, which we would then trip over while attempting to restore order to the electronics. No, he cannot be in the office.
He is asleep. The whole house is asleep. I open my computer with the desire to write but first I should close the doors. The sound of someone typing is the loudest noise imaginable in a house of sleeping children. However, closing doors will require moving things. Moving things makes noise. I tighten my jaw with each click of the keyboard.
The boy stirs. He wakes. Like a bear in a cave, he pokes his head out his tent. I’ve been spotted.
The boy grins. “I thought you were asleep.”
Quickly I respond, “I never sleep.”
He thinks for a brief moment. “Oh, did you get enough sleep on the other nights?”
Sigh. If only.