Here’s how a typical night goes for me, though there are many variations:
Lights out by 11 p.m.
Husband wakes up around 3 a.m., goes to the kitchen for a snack. The sound wakes me up.
He comes back to bed. Cat comes in meowing. I pretend I’m asleep. So does my husband. He ignores the cat, who’s keeping me awake. I ignore her too. She swats at my toes a few times and stalks out.
I hear her push open the door to the kids’ room and meow fruitlessly at them. She clicks across the hardwood to the living room.
My husband is snoring by now. I tell him he’s snoring. Sometimes I hiss at him or shove his shoulder to wake him but on this particular night I simply tell him. He stops snoring.
Now I can sleep again, but there’s the creak of a door and little footsteps and here comes a child to snuggle in with me. “Why are you in here?” I ask, even as he curls up against me and I pull the covers over him.
“I was too cold to get under the covers,” he murmurs. I tell him I can bring him back to his bed and will put the covers over him. He’s already asleep again in my arms.
It’s nice, this snuggling, but there is so much breathing in this room. Child’s breathing. Husband’s breathing. Here comes the damn cat again.
I don’t have the energy to carry the child back to his own bed, so I leave him in mine and get up and go crawl into his bed. But first I must move my cell phone and charger, so the alarm will wake me (hah!) and unplug the filter of the fish tank in the kids’ room, because the noise keeps me awake, and turn off their nightlight.
Ah, bed. I forgot his pillow is hard and hurts my jaw because I like to sleep on my stomach. I don’t have the energy to get up and get my own pillow.
Tick, tick, tick, tick. The wall clock. It is loud. I try to incorporate the sound into relaxing back to sleep.
I give up and check my phone. 4:26 a.m. I might still fall back to sleep. I won’t give up yet.
4:55 a.m. Furnace kicks on directly below me. I might still go back to sleep!
5:23 a.m. I give up. I just give up. I might as well get up now.
I get up. And let the cat out.