Her night/His night
9:30 p.m. She finishes watching Arrested Development and worries that the lack of automatic dishwasher detergent is going to cause a cereal bowl and coffee cup shortage in the morning. Considers going to the drug store to buy some or doing the dishes by hand. Decides against it. Gives the dog and cat treats. Feeds the fish. Turns out the lights. Locks the doors. Cleans off the high chair. Rinses the dishes. Goes to sleep for what she thinks will be seven hours.
1 a.m. Awakes to, "Mom can't you hear me!" Realizes that a. her poor little 5 year old has a tummy ache and b. her children think she is awake and alert at all hours of the night, on standby to help them with big things like tummy aches and small things (see below.) She gives him medicine.
1:05 a.m. Baby awakes. 3 year old awakes. Nurses baby on the bottom bunk to appease 3 year old, who is in the top bunk. Feels every wooden support beam jutting into her back and neck. Wonders, Why did the manufacturers bother to put a mattress on this thing? She might as well be sleeping in a rowboat.
1:30 a.m. Checks on older son, who is now asleep on the couch with a fever. Feels his forehead. It's very hot. Tries to determine if he is delirious, which is easy because he is as talkative as ever. He is making remarkable sense, considering the time of night. He is less delirious, in fact, than she is. Feels his forehead again. His fever has broken. She goes back to bed.
2 a.m. She is awakened minutes later when 3 year old screams, "Mommy, I can't move my nose!" He is furious that his mother was not aware of this fact before he screamed it, proving the theory that her children think she is awake and on-call, not to mention clairvoyant, at all times. She runs into his room and sees that he needs to blow his nose. She realizes they are out of toilet paper and gets a washcloth. He refuses to blow his nose. She holds his hand until he falls asleep. And goes back to bed.
4 a.m. 3 year old screams, "My hand hurts," 10,ooo times, even as she massages it. He stops crying and she goes back to sleep.
5 a.m. 3 year old screams, "GET ME SOME WATER." She GETS HIM SOME WATER. She would feel sorry for the 3 year old except that these all-nighters happen about once a week. She goes back to bed, amazed that baby did not wake up.
6 a.m. Baby wakes up, nurses and eats cheerios. She wakes up for the day, having ignored her alarm clock for a full hour, since her children do a better job of alarming her anyway.
9 p.m. Falls asleep watching Arrested Development.
7:30 a.m. Awakes.
Wife says, "I was up all night."
He says, "Me, too."
Before wife, whose birthday it happens to be, laughs bitterly, and says, "I didn't know Pinochio was here this morning," he explains that he woke up with the three year old at 3 a.m. and could not fall back asleep until 4 a.m., just minutes before the hand tantrum. Somehow this makes her feel better. Until he leaves for work and she is stuck with a three year old who was awake in the night even more than she was. He is crying because he doesn't want the T.V. on. If that upsets him, then everything will. When oh when is bedtime?