Lying in bed, listening to my husband’s unmelodious snuffling and snoring, I open my curtains and gaze up at the stars.
Irritated by my inability to fall asleep immediately after my bedtime wee (like my husband), I squint (I left my glasses on the sofa) and try to count all the stars. I am content momentarily, but I lose my temper at star number ten and tell my husband to ‘shut the f*** up!’
I am exhausted. I really am. I’m suffering from full-blown sleep deprivation. And here’s why:
Once I’ve managed to nod off after counting the silvery dots in the sky, I am usually awoken an hour or so later, by the night moped. The night moped buzzes continuously around the streets of Lydiard Millicent, hell bent on keeping me awake. You may have one in your neighbourhood.
He starts off as distant hum, getting louder and louder until you wonder whether he is pulling moped doughnuts in your kitchen.
“Do you hear that?” I ask my husband, agitatedly. He mumbles: “What the? Hey?!” Silence.
“The f***ing moped tearing around the village. He’s been out there for hours!”
Nothing from my husband. The snoring starts up. He is wrapped up in the arms of a ‘good-night’s sleep.’
Huffing and puffing, I dart out of bed and stare out of the window. I get my whole head out, like I’m about to throw a bucket of crap on the street below. “Where are you arsehole!”
I do not see him. I’ve never seen him. Presuming it’s a guy. Maybe he’s lost or delivering a pizza, or both. Perhaps his wife snores and he needs to race up and down the sedate village of Lydiard Millicent at 2am, to let off steam. Who knows.
The moped drones on for ever and I return to my bed. Wound up, I decide to sleep on the sofa. I may hear the distant humming of moped man but at least the snoring will cease.
I manage to sleep for, oh, say ten minutes, when my son or daughter, or both simultaneously, puncture my peace with a bellowing demand for MILK, WATER, TISSUES, WEE, I WANT TO COME IN YOUR BED, I’M HOT, I’M COLD, I’M SCARED etc etc.
Once I have delivered whatever service they have requested, I return to the lumpy sofa and settle back to sleep. But now my back aches. The squishy sofa is too slack and forces my neutral spine into an unnatural arch. It hurts. It bugs me. I open the curtains and start counting stars.
Now I need a wee. And a drink. It’s back up the stairs where I almost twist my ankle on my son’s discarded Lego brick; I curse, my son wakes up. “IT’S TOO DARK. I WANT TO SLEEP WITH YOU!” he whimpers from his bed.
I’m too tired to argue with him or make him stay in his bed, so I scoop him up and take him back downstairs to join me on the sofa. He gets a great night’s sleep, arms and legs flailing. I do not.
I drift off and dream I’m lying on a sensual water bed which is somehow floating on the sea. My legs dangle over the edge of the bed into the warming water (I wonder what that means). I am feeling content. The dream feels so real; the water laps my thighs. Hmmm bliss.
“MUMMY! I’VE WEE’D. I’VE WEE’D ON YOUR LEGS!”
It’s now 5.45am. I remove the wet pants and hurl them on the coffee table, turn on Tiny Pop, get a bowl of dry cereal and prop my son up in front of the TV.
This is how my days end and begin. This is why I am permanently tired, foggy-minded and generally a bit ratty. I have not slept for an uninterrupted eight hours since 2007.
If any of my friends or family wonders what to buy me for a birthday or Christmas gift, just lend me your bed. I will be in your debt eternally if you just allow me to sleep for one precious night. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.