Friday, August 12, 2005

Dream a Little Dream.

I don’t want to alarm my readers, but the government is using me in a long-term experiment about what happens to the human body if it never gets a full REM sleep cycle.

Let me walk you through last night, as an example. I certainly couldn’t have slept you through last light.

9:30 PM: Exhausted, I decided to go to bed early. I lay down, went to shut off the light, and my eye settled upon the seventeen water glasses forming a precarious ziggurat on my side table. With a sigh, I got out of bed, and started walking them three at a time into the kitchen. On the final trip, I passed Consort, who was taking a ham-slice break from something complicated on the computer. His face reminded me.

“Oh,” I said, “that reminds me. I hate QuickBooks, and it’s evil. I want it to burn.”

He nodded neutrally. He’s heard it before.

“Is there a specific problem?”

“Yes, the program is stupid.”

“Show me what isn’t working, and maybe I can walk you through it,” he said, gently steering me to the office.

“NO!” I wailed, “Let’s do it tomorrow.”

“Let me just see the problem, I bet fixing it doesn’t take a minute.”

11:00 PM: I was finally released from the office, as Consort was ordering some back-up program for evil QuickBooks from some kindly woman in New Delhi. I staggered to bed. I thrash around for a few minutes berating myself for general misdemeanors of the day, but finally fall into a light sleep.

12:00 AM: Consort came to bed, carefully tiptoeing and making as little sound as possible. This, of course, woke me. I lay in bed and watched him pile his clothing soundlessly on the top of the hamper.

“Why are you doing that?” I inquired. He jumped.

“Go back to sleep, sweetheart,” he whispered.

“I will if you tell me why you put your dirty clothing on top of the hamper.”

“I didn’t want the sound of the hamper lid to wake you.”

He slid into bed. I waited a beat.

“That’s very sweet of you. But I appear to be awake now, and the sight of the pile of clothing in silhouette on the hamper lid is not conducive to getting back to sleep.”

He sighed deeply, got up, and moved the clothing into the hamper.

“Thank you.”

“You’re welcome. Go to sleep.”

I rolled over, briefly obsessed over whether I put enough cedar blocks in with the winter clothing when I stored them, and fell in to a light sleep.

2:00 AM: I am the President-Elect. My constituents appear to be Emperor Penguins. I am trying to explain my plans for the administration, with varying degrees of success, when-


That’s odd; I don’t think penguins make that sound. I began to explain about a series of ice floes throughout Los Angeles-


I woke suddenly and made my way to the back door. The dog waited patiently by the back door, only the smallest look of panic in her eyes. I disabled the alarm, and went to open the back door just as the dog vomited all over the pantry floor. That will teach me to try to finish my dream. I cleaned and deodorized the floor. The dog, meanwhile, had gone back to her bed. Once I started a pre-soak on the puke rags, I followed her lead and went to my bed. After a quick flurry of thoughts about why the dog is throwing up so much lately, I fell into a light sleep.

3:00 AM: So…very…warm. Sweating…kicking off blankets….why won’t they move?

I woke up fully to find that Consort had apparently decided to make a play for my side of the bed while I was in it. He had stretched across me, leaving only my head unmolested. That part was being claimed by the cat, which was curled on top of my head, trying to insert her tail up my nostril. I commenced a wild flurry of kicks and thrashes to free myself. Both Consort and cat grumbled but allowed me a quarter of an inch of personal space. I then spent twenty minutes calibrating the perfect ratio of exposed and covered skin which would bring my body temperature back down under a hundred degrees. I toyed with the idea of sleeping on the couch, but finally fell into a light sleep.

4:00 AM: Why am I in Daughter’s room, I wondered hazily. I stared down at her, she looked up at me, and then it clicked. She must have called for me, and I was in her room before I even woke up: it’s happened before (It’s kind of a neat trick, but it’s a little risky. If either bedroom door is closed, I risk a broken nose).

“What is it, babe?”

“I had a bad dream,” she whimpered.

I wasn’t surprised; we’ve been having these lots lately. I sat down and petted her back.

“Go back to sleep,” I crooned.

“Yes, but it was a dragon, and he wanted to eat me.”

“Shh, just shut your eyes and think about kittens.”


Well, I just added ten minutes to the wind-down. I dabbed away tears and rubbed her back simultaneously. She started to find composure. I tried to get up.


Oh, crud. Might as well embrace the inevitable.

I lay down next to her, trying to carve out a corner in which to sleep. Within minutes, her breathing was deep and regular, although her grip on my arm never released its terrier-like tenacity. I spent a few minutes fretting over whether I needed to buy her rain boots now, when there are plenty or wait until we needed them, but run the risk of them being out of her size. I then fell into a light sleep.

Now, in the defense of my family, I must admit that I was then allowed to sleep until 7:30, pretty much uninterrupted, unless you count the times Daughter probed my ears with her elbows and my abdomen with her knees.

At 7:30, Daughter got out of bed, but her job was ably taken over by the garbage truck and the leaf blower which apparently were sitting directly outside the bedroom window having some sort of noise-off. After ten minutes, I admitted defeat, got up and began another day without a REM cycle.

Considering the amount of time and energy my family is putting into this experiment, I am really hoping to see some kind of tax break. Seems only fair.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

That sounds just like our life...8 year old daughter coming in at 3 am, jumping in bed, pushing me out with her elbows, pushing my wife with her legs...I never know what room I am going to wake up in.

Full nights sleep? I remember doing that...up until 1994.

11:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

six weeks until baby arrives...peeing every 75 minutes throughout the night...been that way since month five...

3:17 PM  
Blogger Jan said...

I can remember being in Rebecca's situation and thinking I would be able to sleep once the baby was born. I was so clueless back then.

2:16 PM  

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