How to sleep. Or not.

The first conversation I have every morning with Mr. Woog is about the quality of the last nights sleep. Because when you get to a certain age there is not much left to talk about. Sleep, the weather, the state of the world, which kid is pissing us off the most, you know. The important stuff.

Sleeping is a bona fide hobby of mine. Some people play golf. I sleep.

I am generally a good sleeper but there are three nights that I recall that my sleep was not pleasant. One of them happened this week. But more of that later.

The first memorable nightmare sleep was the night that we bought baby Horatio home. After a rather fractious departing from the hospital (which you can read about here) we bunkered down for the afternoon while Horatio slept for hours and we were as smug as fuck looking at each other saying “How easy is this!” And then night fell. I still find it extraordinary that two people, who have never really even held a baby before, are allowed to take care of an infant. Unsupervised.

Horatio woke, I did some boob wrangling, changed his nappy, had a little chat with him until he got the shits, Mr. Woog wrapped him up and tried to get him off to sleep. For hours. And hours and hours and hours. Horatio, in hindsight, was WAY overtired and screamed the entire night away. At 3am he eventually fell asleep for 45 minutes and we looked at each other and thought “What the fuck have we done!”

Another nightmare night was years ago, pre-kids, when I was spending a week working from the Melbourne Office. I was staying at a nice hotel, had a shower after a hard day of talking bullshit, and jumped into bed. I love hotel beds in general and this one was very nice. I read a few pages of my book before turning off the light. I then spent the rest of the night tossing and turning like a rotisserie chicken. I got myself so stressed out about not being able to go to sleep that I kept checking the time and getting myself so worked up, that sleep avoided me until about 4am. I was a zombie the next day.

And then there was this week.

I couldn’t find the cat and I do not sleep until he is locked inside because there is a large cat that roams the streets who has it in for Chuy and wants him dead. And because I am sick of emptying my bank account into the account of Hot Vet Dr. Nick. So I left the back door open, jumped into bed with my book, waiting for him to arrive. I got a bit sleepy and thought I would just shut my eyes for a moment…..

I was woken shortly after with Chuy standing on my chest doing happy paws. I opened my eyes to see him looking as pleased as punch with a large, filthy rat in his mouth doing death spasms and twitches.

I screamed, jumped from my bed like Flo Jo and ran into the kitchen. Mr Woog was sleeping in the spare room due to the fact that he had, the night before, tried to create a shortage of Shiraz with his mates. He was sleeping the sleep of a thousand wines and therefore was rendered useless. As I tried to assess the entire situation, in trotted Isobel the dog, with the now deceased rat in her mouth. She was dead pleased with herself as her tail was wagging madly. I screamed again.

She gazed at me with a puzzled look in her eyes. I had to step up. I asked her nicely to drop the rat and she was all like “Fuck off, it is my rat and I love it…” so I got her a smacko which she thought was a fair trade. I scooped up ratty in a plastic bag and deposited it outside in the bin. I was deeply traumatised and took myself back to bed shutting the door on the evil rat murderers. It took some time for me to get back to sleep due to post rat traumatic stress syndrome. An hour or so later, I was out.

But then, at about 4am, the smoke alarm went off. The smoke alarm that was situated about our bed. Are you fucking kidding me? I reached under the bed to get the baseball bat that I keep there in case the boogie man comes for me, and swung wildly in the general direction while standing on my bedside table. Eventually I made contact and the top popped off it which caused it to immediately stop beeping.

They say sleep is like death without the commitment but I say I feel like death without sleep.

When it comes to slumber, are you a bloody champion at it?

Ever had a shocking nights sleep?

  • Amanda McInerney

    I too was deeply shocked at the irresponsibility of hospital staff in letting us take our first child home without supervision, and thought it utterly outrageous. As for the rest of the tale, this is a fabulous story – I had great belly laughs at your expense and for that I apologise. (snigger)

    • We just expected that they would come and collect him!

  • Kate

    We have a 12 week old puppy. If we were happy for the whole neighbourhood to be woken between 5.30-6am every morning by deranged barking, I’d be sleeping fine. But we’re not. So
    I’m not.

    • You can’t stay mad at a puppy! It will settle down soon. I remember those days.

  • Heidi D

    We are doing lots of talking about sleep, or lack of, at the moment. My husband is on the waiting list for spinal surgery so spends most of the night tossing, turning & groaning. I sleep propped up on a triangle wedge with oxygen prongs up my nose because I’m quite partial to breathing overnight. I consider it a good sleep if I don’t slip down the wedge & bend my neck into a weird position that means a whole new world of pain when I try & move it in the morning. I remember the days of babies being awake at revolting hours of the night/early morning. The only thing that saved me was being foster babies they were all bottle fed so my husband would do the weekend night feeds so I could sleep.

  • Donna

    Anxiety gives me many sleepless nights but apart from those I’m a sleep champion. It is also one of my fav things and I’ll choose it above all else. At least the rat was fresh and not decomposing. My toddler brought a maggoty one in the backyard once – Man, you know you’re a mum when you have to step up and deal with that.

    • Jesus Donna! That’s hideous xx

  • Oh god…sleep… I can’t remember the last time I slept through the night. Rheumatoid arthritis pain will do that.
    I feel your pain about the rat – my eldest Siamese brought me one practically the same size as her when she was still a kitten….nicely paralysed…but NOT DEAD and I had to deal with that. Thankfully, that was in the morning rather than at night! But I have to also confess to having laughed reading your story…mea culpa! A nanna nap this afternoon, perhaps?!

  • NO WAY, you couldn’t make that shit up. Insomniac here, sleep hate mes, I love it, we shall never meet except when I am so exhausted I cry as RSPCA ads on the telly or am inebriated and even then my ability to stay awake is STRONG! Hence why I’m always a cranky mole, just ask my family.

  • Ha! I have been experiencing sleep troubles lately! The rare times I’ve been able to drift off without wanting to rip my skin off (I have a horrid pregnancy rash), something has wrecked my slumber! A snoring hubby with allergies, the smoke alarm battery dying, one wretched beep at a time, a 1 second power cut around midnight (happening every second night around here – INFURIATING). I’m just glad it’s the school holidays and I’ve been able to nap a lot (my kid is a bloody awesome gift and I know the second one will not be so easy – that’s the law of things right?)! Oh and I bought a hideously expensive mattress topper with memory foam in it a few nights ago and my husband hasn’t even noticed it! He just wakes up and says, “Wow I’ve been sleeping SO well lately!” I’d normally want to punch him in the nuts, but I am finding it hilarious that he has no idea why. Besides, when he sleeps well, he has the energy to look after me haha.

  • Sam

    I am a bloody champion at this ! It is the only sport I will happily compete in willingly.
    I have slept through the last two ‘super storms’ that hit Newcastle, which caused significant damage to our street. I have also slept through my husband falling down a set of stairs and breaking his nose.
    In saying this, I have no kids or pets yet to disturb the force.

  • 39 weeks pregnant and I’ve completely forgotten what a good night’s sleep is like. I think I’m meant to find out again in about…mm…10 years? Maybe?

    First time mum too, so I really have NO idea what I’m in for, I’m pretty sure I’m going to be having the exact same reaction to taking home our bub that you did with Horatio. Who the heck thinks I should be left alone with a child?!

  • Cate Lawrence

    urgh rotten sleep right now, i’ve had a cold so my snoring is so loud it wakes me up and i am always too hot to sleep. I fall asleep between 1 and 2am on average 🙁