The Potato Chip Syndrome
This past Friday, my husband and I ended up with an unexpected night off from our children. I had taken them to my mother’s house for the day, escaping some loud and dirty construction work going on at our house. My son Joey refused to take a nap at Nana’s (too much fun to be had?!?) and therefore missed both of his daily naps. By 6 pm, I was ready to head home, feed my son dinner, and put them both to bed earlier than usual, hoping he’d catch up on some sleep. Then my husband called and implored me to stay away as long as possible while he cleaned up the construction mess inside the house before I returned with the children. So I stayed for dinner.
By 8 pm Joey was so exhausted he could hardly keep his eyes open so we put him down there again, and after just a few minutes of protest, was out like a light. My mom suggested he spend the night, and then ever so kindly offered to keep my daughter overnight as well. My son is sleeping through the night. My daughter is not. So after reminding my mother three times that my daughter was not sleeping through the night, and in fact pretty much woke up at 4 am like clockwork, she still agreed to keep both kids for a sleepover. By that time it was 9:30 pm. I headed home sans children. But because our night off was unplanned, there was little time for my husband and I to do anything other than go to bed, thoroughly exhausted but thrilled at the prospect of a full night’s sleep.
Guess what happened…at 4 am straight up, I woke up. After I looked at the clock, I said to myself, “I bet Lyra is up.” My husband woke up as well, conditioned as we were. We both simultaneously commented to each other how tired we were. It was in that moment that I realized this night off from our children was like a potato chip. You either wanted none at all, or a lot more than one. Getting none at all kept you from tasting the salty, crunchy, greasy delicious temptation that are potato chips – or full nights’ sleeps. Getting only one left you desperate for more. I think the worst part was having this realization at 4 am, which pretty much ruined the rest of our night’s sleep.
And by the way, Lyra did in fact get up at 4 am. That made me feel good that I was that tuned in to my daughter. Now if only I can get her tuned in to me to sleep just a bit later in the morning, and I could have just a few more potato chips.