adventures in babysitting,  illos

The Tao of Sleeping with the Things

The Tao of Sleeping with the Things

The Thing’s parents have been gone almost a week now and that means I’ve been on “over-night” duty for several nights. There are three of us nannies and we take shifts so we can handle the stress of long term baby-sitting. The Things are two very active, strong-willed and too-smart-for-their-own-good little kids. I have the 2:30 in the afternoon until 8:30 the next morning shift. This shift has it’s advantages as well as disadvantages. For one thing, I spend a lot of the time sleeping. Getting paid for sleeping isn’t bad. But that also means I am on guard while they are sleeping and that means I don’t sleep very well.

You might think, what’s so scary about spending the night with a three and four-year-old? Lots. To make things quick, I’ll just make a list:

1. Their house is very very big and there are lots of things that go bump in the night.

2. Both of the kids have asthma and are allergic to anything with fur. They also love animals and make a point of petting every dog we ever come across on our walk home from the park. It’s always a losing battle. Because of this, I have to stay awake and listen to wheezle and sniffle all night long to make sure they don’t stop breathing.

3. The Things come from a very prominent wealthy family in our community and there is always the concern that they could get kidnapped. Even though it seems far fetched in the day, at night I let this fear get the best of me.

4. There is a lot to steal in the Thing’s house. I worry about burglars.

5. There are lots of automatic things that beep and whir and whoosh in the house at night. I worry because I don’t know what all the weird sounds are.

To make a long story short, I stay awake a lot. In fact the other night I dreamt that I had insomnia. But I’m not really sure it was a dream. I’m wondering if I did really stay awake all night.

The illustration above is how we sleep. When their parents are home, everybody sleeps in their own room but when their parents are gone it just makes it easier if we all sleep together. Their rooms are so far way from the room I stay in, it feels like I have to walk the length of a small football field just to go check on them. This way they are closer. Plus, they get up a million times in the night with nightmares and requests for a drink of water anyway, so we might as well just make it easier on all of us.

They love sleeping with me. We’re like a pack of kittens. It does take them forever to get the wiggles out and I find myself going to bed long before I’d like to but it’s just easier than battling it out with them. They are very creative in coming up with reasons why they should be allowed to stay up. If I go to sleep at the same time and we turn out the lights we cut down on the reasons they want to stay up. Anyway, it just works.

Sometimes I get uncomfortable sleeping between them. I just don’t like sleeping that close to anyone. Ask my mom, I’ve never been a cuddler. So after they fall asleep, I sleep at the bottom of the bed. It works perfectly. There’s plenty of room and the bed is basically square anyway so it really doesn’t matter what side you sleep on. That’s what’s so great about no sheets and a fluffy feather comforter thing. It works no matter what angle you’re at.