"This is how it will be," the little voice in the back of my mind whispered softly as I stumbled out of my cozy warm bed and into the darkness in search of the small voice calling, "mama!" in the middle of the night.
We've known for some time now that our middle and youngest children can no longer share a bedroom. Every morning, beginning at 6 a.m. or even earlier sometimes, we hear them yelling, hear doors slamming, as they egg each other on into wakefulness. We've told them not to leave their room until 7, and they are incapable of being awake and not waking their brother. They are incapable of coexisting peacefully during that time. They are, all at once, best friends and worst enemies. They need to be separated.
We have four bedrooms, two on the main floor, currently the master and guest bedrooms, and two in the basement, where the children sleep. It works so well to just have all the kids downstairs and the grown-ups upstairs. Well, at least until the yelling starts.
We are finally ready to give up our guest room to one of our children--we (well, mostly I) have resisted this change for years, ever since MC was conceived almost 10 years ago and we decided to have this new child share his older brother's bedroom. We live far enough away from family that, when they visit, they stay, not just for a few hours, but for a few days. And since I am a private person, and prefer to have my own space, I wish to provide a comfortable, private space with a door for our guests. It is slightly ridiculous, however, to reserve a space solely for guests, when that space is used by guests perhaps 10 days a year, when our bickering children are driving me insane.
We decided to bring Bubby back upstairs, and he is all on board with that suggestion. The trouble is, apparently our precious (5 year old) baby boy doesn't really sleep through the night anymore. We heard stories of him waking his older brother in the middle of the night, because he needed to go to the bathroom, or he heard a strange noise, or he just wanted someone to talk to, but I don't think we quite realized what this would mean for us, bringing him upstairs.
Last night, he woke me at 12:37 a.m. and 4:30 and he was still up before 6, all of our children were. What is up with that? And the youngest two found each other and started in on their bickering, the taunting and kicking and pinching and hitting. The only difference in this scenario was that I was dealing with all of that without having had a good nights' rest. This is not a recipe for a happy mama.
I guess those boys are in for a little re-training in the area of staying in bed, because they can no longer live together, and I am not willing to begin my day of mommy-ing before 6 a.m. after being woken in the night. Those days, the days when I could function with spare, interrupted sleep, are loooong past. And honey, it is not pretty when I am put in those circumstances. It is just not going to work long term.
This is how it will be. But not for long: the boys will be quickly re-trained, and it will be worth a few nights of lost sleep to gain an extra hour or two of genuine rest and peace in our days.