I used to think that once I weaned my last baby, I'd be sleeping soundly though the night.
Well, he's been weaned for several months now, and here I am, at three o'clock in the morning, typing a blog post. About three or four nights a week I find myself wide awake, here in the middle of the night.
It happens this way: If I go to bed last of everyone, I lock the doors, make sure everyone is covered up and snug in their beds, and turn off all of the lights. I'm usually freezing by this time, so I wear my warmest flannel nightgown to bed and cuddle in with my husband and the two year old who still doesn't have a bedroom (you don't want to hear that story). Sometime in the night, I wake up broiling and thirsty. I get out of bed, strip off the flannel nightgown that has gone from cozy to steamy, go get a drink of cold water, go back to bed and lay there. Eyes open in the blackness. Bored out of my mind. Running through every reason that I need to sleep because the next day's activities require that I am rested.
If, however, I am first to bed, I awake hours later in a panic because one of my children is in danger. I burst out of bed, race frantically around the house checking first on the children, then the doors. Nearly every time, at least one child isn't in their own bed--they decided to have a sleepover with a sister, they've built a fort and are sleeping there, she fell asleep on the couch, etc. Those middle-of-the-night searches are the worst because I can't always find them right away! My imagination runs wild . . . and not in a good way.
In addition, since losing our baby four years ago, I can't be contented with just looking in on the children, no I have to put my hand under their noses to wait for their hot breath. It is a little broken thing in me that will probably never go away.
Now that I've located the children and confirmed that they are all safe, my heart is pounding and my adrenaline is pumping. If I have a good book I'm reading, I'll sometimes read for a while. I'll sometimes blog or research an upcoming class I'm teaching. I'll sometimes run a load of laundry. If there are Lucky Charms or Golden Grahams in my kitchen, I'll have a bowl of cereal. I'm going to be awake for a couple of hours, anyway.
My parent's tell me that their insomnia started after the children were mostly raised. I'm really, really hoping that my body decides on the opposite. I'd love to consistently sleep through the night.