It’s night. Our eldest son is coughing, despite a humidifier, two inhalers, Vicks Vaporub and essential oils. He wanders in a few times. I don’t blame him a bit, but there isn’t much I can do beyond a hug, an “I love you,” and holding his hand as I walk him back to his bed.
Just as I start to doze, our littler guy ambles in. He has wet the bed and wants to change clothes. He needs help, of course. (Sigh. Why don’t I turn all jammies right side out as soon as they exit the dryer?) Half an hour later, he falls asleep with a blanket and pillow on our floor because his bed is wet.
About that time, the cougher walks back in, coughing. He trips over the sleeping bed wetter to hop in bed with us. Coughing.
Is it Still Night?
Still dark outside, the two of them decide it’s time to get up to play and I let them because I have been up all night and I’m tired. I hear them running downstairs laughing. Not perfect, but maybe I can grab 20 minutes of sleep.
Moments later, the bed wetter sprints back in, breathless, telling us the cougher coughed so hard he threw up and begs us to come see.
My darling husband sleeps through every minute of this.
Even after more than a decade of marriage, my first reaction is always astonishment, followed by skepticism. He’s pretending to be asleep, right? Because in my mind, no human could sleep through all that, right?
Except that he can. And he does.
My husband is wonderful and caring and a great dad. But I should know by now that many men (including my guy) just don’t have the keen nocturnal ears that many moms have. I hear my kids if they so much as roll over in their beds down the hall.
A British company did a study a few years back aimed at determining what is most likely to wake women versus men from sleep. Volunteers were hooked up to an electroencephalography (EEG) machine, and recorded noises were played while they slept.
The number one sleep disturbance for the women was a crying baby – a sound that didn’t even make the top ten for men. In fact, the study indicated that a buzzing fly was far more likely to wake a man.
Tired Mom Asks for Help
On nights like the one above, I typically slog through, choosing to let one member of the family sleep. 😉 Occasionally, especially when I am sick myself, I’ll nudge my spouse awake and ask for help. He’s invariably startled and truly apologetic that he has slept through the hurricane.
He sets about the task at hand and once it’s done, he climbs back into bed. One minute later, he’s asleep. Meanwhile, I’m still awake, awaiting the next stir.
When my husband read the above, he chuckled. “A mother’s instinct never sleeps,” he said.
It’s fatiguing at the moment, but I suspect I’ll be indebted to my overdeveloped nighttime auditory system when our two boys reach their teenage years.