Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Sleep to Dream

“The bed is a bundle of paradoxes: we go to it with reluctance, yet we quit it with regret; we make up our minds every night to leave it early, but we make up our bodies every morning to keep it late.”

- Charles Caleb Colton

When the alarm sounded, I felt like I was in the 1983 “Time to make the donuts,” commercial. If you’re too young to have seen it, catch it on You Tube. Although it wasn’t 3:30AM like in the commercial, it’s dark as night at 5:30AM. I know that I need to go to bed at 9:30PM to get my eight-hours of sleep; it’s hard to unwind that early, and then I have little time with my husband, who goes to bed around midnight (And only needs about seven hours of sleep). Besides, my daughter goes to bed at 8:30PM and my son goes to bed at 9:30PM. How can I go to bed at the same time as an eleven-year-old?

The strangest part about rising early is that I do it to beat the possible phone call from the sub-line after 5:30AM. I’m getting up early for a possible job, rather than an actual one. I prefer getting the call the previous evening, so I can sleep a little longer. I used to set the alarm for later, but anticipating that the phone would ring kept me from sleeping well. Sometimes I’d even dream that I heard the phone ring.

This morning, there was no call, which was good because by 7:45AM, it became clear that my daughter was going to have to stay home from school, as she had a hundred-degree fever and croup-like cough. If I had a job today, either my husband would’ve stayed home or she would’ve gone to the woman who used to watch her before she went to kindergarten, when I was an assistant. So, not having work today, prevented me to have to coordinate care for her.

If only I could figure out what to do about sleep deprivation. When I’m working, coffee in the afternoon helps me get through, but by early evening, I’m ready to collapse. It’s hard to do all the mother things, like cooking dinner, checking homework, laundry, and ferrying the kids around. When I don’t have a job, I feel guilty for even taking a catnap to catch up.

I’ve never done well without enough sleep. When my children were babies, I made sure they were good sleepers as soon as possible, just so they didn’t interfere with mine as little as possible. I know that I shouldn’t whine about it because plenty of people have to “set” early into order to “rise” early. When I get a full-time job, it may not require me to get up at 5:30AM, but if it does, I’ll be going to bed early each night for a reason. And if I get a decent advance on a children’s book, maybe I’ll get the luxury of sleeping in. A girl can dream.


  1. A girl can dream whether she sleeps or not. : j
    I say beware of people who sleep less than seven hours a night, Napoleon reputedly said that anyone who slept more than six hours an night was an imbecile, he wound up poisoned while in exile on St Hellens island. So you do well to enjoy your sleep as well as you can. ; j

  2. Alesa, too many nights I get less than eight hours because I get up so early to work. And I'm a mess.