Courting Sleep

Why is it that when you're in a hurry to get the kids to sleep that they take maximum time? Maybe it's the old funda of time seeming to pass slowly when you want it to go fast.

I was just settling down to some interesting writing when I realised it was sleep time for the kids. With my eyes on my laptop I egged them on to finish their bedtime routine on their own - face wash, brush, loo... Then there was nothing to be done but to put the laptop on standby and move to the bedroom. Diapers and odomos application and then finally we were in bed. 8.30pm.

Then followed the ritual story, which I limited to one (Can go on to five or six on days when we have time and I'm in the mood). Just as I was looking forward to some serious attempts at sleeping Hrit says, "May I tell a story, please?" "No," was my instinct.. but I agreed. Then obviously Naisha wanted to tell a story first, "First ladies, no mama," says she. So then I had to deal with who would go first. I granted first rights to Hrit (on the grounds that it was he who came up with the idea of telling a story.. Every 'judgement' I pass has to be justified to the aggrieved party.. Naisha this time).

After a long winded tale of monsters and snakes with a few monkeys thrown in.. he finally ever-aftered the story. "Boys like monster stories and girls like dolly stories," observes Naisha who I was hoping would be at least half asleep by now. No luck.

Then had to listen to the 'How mama papa got Hrit Naisha' story for the millionth time. Finally it was all done... maybe now they'll sleep.
"I want to tell you something," says Hrit.
"No," me in a firm voice bordering on the angry. He senses the underlying danger and retracts, "I'll tell you tomorrow morning."
"You'd better," I reply.

As I turn towards Naisha I realise she's sulking. "What happened?" I ask. "I smiled at you and you didn't smile back." Gawd.... 'Sorry, sorry darling.. I didn't see.. it's dark, isn't it?" "Let's open the curtains," suggests Naisha. Bad, bad, bad idea. I promise to watch out for her smile in the future, paste the sweetest smile I can muster on my face and start patting her to sleep. With eyes closed she mutters, "Main sab ko bataoongi.. didi ko, papa ko, Rinku masi ko ki maine aap ko smile di aur aapne mujhe nahin di." Well too bad, I think.

Where's Hrit now? I see him far at the edge of the bed... reclining, mind you not lying down, reclining like Omar Khayyam.. one leg bent at the knee, staring pensively ( in the dark?) at the wall and performing a silent action rhyme. I need to scream or give him a solid whack. But wait.. both would delay sleep proceedings.. so wait some more, count to ten, then "Hrit baby come here bachcha.. where are you?".. sugar and sweet! He smiles and rolls over to sleep on my hand. God his head feels heavy but never mind if it all makes him sleep early.. Great. Anything goes.

Five minutes pass.. The kids are quiet... with eyes wide open.. sigh... I sneak in a few frustrated smses to a friend (sometimes my sister). Can't believe not even one is asleep. Then I feel Hrit's breathing evening out... I sneak a hopeful look at him. Yesssssss!!!! Yes Yes Yes! He's asleep. 9.15.

Turn to look at Naisha... no luck here. Well Naisha's slept on her own sometimes. I decide to give it a shot. I start up from bed "Mama's going out, you sleep on your own, okay baby." "Why? Do you have work?" she questions. I try not to lie... what I'm doing is not exactly work, it might translate into work but.... so I say, "Not really." "Well go but don't switch on the TV," she admonishes. She knows I work with the TV on. I hang on to my temper with both hands. "Why," I query. "Because then I'll want to watch too," says she coolly.

What the heck, I fume. Not only am I explaining myself to a four-year-old but also now I need her permission to watch TV.... Motherhood's made a baby of me. I lie back frustrated. "You remain a baby then.. always, don't ever learn to sleep by yourself, " I grumble at her. Oblivious to my sracasm she cuddles up and says, "Don't go till I'm faaaaast asleep." I peek at the time on my mobile. 9.30.

I watch Naisha. Her eyelids are fluttering.. sure sign that sleep's close by. I begin to wonder how soon I can sneak out and get back on my laptop and then.. 'aaaaahhhh' she wails. Her earring is caught in the cushion cover and is pulling at her freshly pierced ear. I gently distangle her, curse the day I decided to use embroidered cushion covers and the day I got her ear pierced. Don't get me wrong.. I know she's hurt and I am comforting her but I can't deny the niggling thought that says, "another 15 minutes gone." God I soooo want her to sleep.

Finally she realises my restlessness and takes pity, "Go mama," says she, "I'll sleep on my own." I bound up from the bed, "Thanks darling. Good girl." A kiss and a good night and I'm out. 9.45. An hour and 15 minutes since I took them to bed and she's still awake. I know she'll drop off on her own.

I'm back at my laptop but the thoughts refuse to come. I can’t think of anything but Hrit and Naisha. They're SUCH babies and they DO try my patience. But I love them. And so I’ve spent 40 minutes writing about them rather than what I should actually be writing!

PS: Who ever said I didn't have patience... needs to speak up now.