Wednesday, 17 April 2013

The War on Sleep



I've never been very good at mornings. When I was younger, the alarm would sound, and I'd switch it off and go back to sleep. It would take my poor Dad numerous attempts at waking me before I'd actually stir. My sister is the same, and - dare I say it - my Mum too.
Over the years, I tried various techniques to increase my chances of rising with the birds, but I haven’t yet found the definitive way to get myself up. At the age of 26, I have now officially given up my research into early mornings, and have allowed Ebony to take charge of the investigations.
Self portrait
That poor, sweet little girl who just wants me to get up with her in a morning. She has tried everything. She started with face slapping. She would drag herself up to sitting (using my fringe), and would then slap me repeatedly in the face. Sometimes while screaming. This was, at first, a very effective way of getting me out of bed. But things evolve, and I soon developed the hide and roll technique. The trick is to hide yourself under the cover, and then roll out of reach.
Ebony then moved onto hair pulling. This hurt a lot. Having my hair clamped in her unyielding fist, made the hide and roll an impossible maneuver. While she held me prisoner by my own hair, I actually couldn’t do anything but shout “Get off my HAIR!”, which, unsurprisingly, she ignored. I spent an entire month being dragged out of bed by my hair, until I decided upon my countermove - the triangle of success. This move relied upon three different techniques, each executed perfectly, in order to achieve equilibrium. Firstly, I must find the handful of hair Ebony has, and grab onto it myself closer to my head, this means I am pulling my own hair and so she cannot hurt me. Then, I had to stay very still, because rolling away hurts when someone is pulling your hair. And the final piece of that triangular puzzle? The silent cry. So she wouldn’t not know I was awake. Because, by this point in the sleep games, it is not actually about sleep anymore. It is about winning.
The triangle of success continued for about a month, until we both realised that this was an unhealthy mother daughter relationship. Or, more likely, until Ebony’s understanding of language expanded to include the phrase “Stop pulling my HAIR!”, because now she does not pull it quite as often. Or perhaps, it was until I realised that giving her my phone to play with will by me extra time.
For a while, the phone seemed to work. She was happy taking hundreds of photos of her giant head, and I was happy sleeping. But over the past few weeks, she has upped her gamet. She understands more now, and she is sneaky. She has now realised that the phone is actually another weapon in her war on sleep.

One morning, I woke to discover I was being filmed. Ebony had recorded a three minute video featuring me, asleep, and her, unattended, going through a variety of vocal exercises (me me me, ba ba ba etc) frighteningly close to the edge of the bed. I can only assume that her plan was to email the video to Social Services as proof of neglect. Luckily I intercepted and was able to delete the video before it got into the wrong hands.
Yesterday, she took things even further. Ebony is probably awake for up to an hour before me each day, I think this is the perfect amount of time for independent play, but clearly she disagrees. And, in a last ditch attempt to get me up, she resorted to telling on me.
That’s right, she told Daddy.
Now, I’ve only been a proper stay at home mum for a short while, and actually I work from home sporadically so I consider myself more of a work at home mum, but I think it’s going ok. My husband though, thinks it’s hard work. “Ach, I have had SUCH a stressful day,” I embellish after an afternoon of colouring in. I don’t want him to feel hard done to. After all, he gets up at the crack of dawn, works hard at a stressful job, and arrives home exhausted shortly after 7pm. It’s the least I can do to pretend my life is equally as hard. If he’s creeping out of the house at 7:30am, I should at least keep up the facade that I rise shortly after, when in fact I usually appear dishevelled around 10.
Ebony, being a wise fifteen month old, has clearly noticed a disparity in our actual day and the day I report to her Daddy. And so, yesterday morning, as I snoozed in bed gone 9am, she facetimed him. Yes. She facetimed him. And, I am told, when he answered, she turned the phone around so that he could see me asleep.
For the time being, I am getting up when Ebony dictates, but only until my next move has been finalised.

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