"MUUUUUUUUUUUMM.....Mum! MUM! MUUUUUMM!" wails Marvel H.
"Urrgghh", comes the groan from beside me as Em slowly rises to her feet like a zombie rising from the crypt. I fumble around on the bedside table for my phone to check the time. It feels too early to be getting up. Surely its not time to get up yet? It feels like I have only been a sleep for an hour or two.....
12.20AM. Yup! That's because I have only been asleep for an hour or two! Hardly enough bloody time to have even reached a deep sleep.
"What's up this time?" I ask as the zombie staggers back into the room and slides back into the crypt.
"His sheet wasn't on right" she says in an exasperated tone.
"Oh...." I reply, in a more sympathetic than surprised tone.
I wasn't surprised. This wasn't the first time this had happened, it wasn't the most random thing he has called us for and it sure wouldn't be the last. Whilst it really isn't funny at that precise time, we are occasionally good humoured enough to reminisce about such times, finding the funny side, which usually lies somewhere between sleep deprived exhaustion and mild delirium.
Being woken in the hours of darkness by shrill screams (and they are 'top of your lungs' type screams), merely so that your little bundle of joy can show you the Lego brick he has just found down the side of his bed as if he had found the treasure of the lost ark, is something we can sometimes find the funny side of. It really isn't so bloody funny at the time when the red brick he is showing you is the same random 'toy' he grabbed on the way to bed that evening. The one that he just simply could not do without (a bedtime delaying tactic), exclaiming that he had 'forgotten something' and running back down the stairs, only re-emerging after the crescendo of calling his name (all of which are met with deathly silence) with some random Lego brick he found literally buried at the very bottom of the pit that is also referred to as a 'toy box'. So as you can imagine, we are even less delighted to be shown the friggin' brick at 12.20am in the morning, than we were at 7 o'clock the night before when we were trying so desperately to herd him up the stairs to bed!
Sleep deprivation, much like laughing gas, really brings out the hilarity of a situation the next morning, when at the time, it was far from funny!
We both roll over to get comfortable and attempt to drift back off to sleep, but this time with high anticipation that it won't be many more hours of sleep before we are again rudely awaken by the yelling coming from the next room. Being woken up day after day from a deep, slumber-some sleep by the urgent cries of your youngest Marvel really does take its toll pretty quickly! Deep and restful sleep is immediately pierced (not even a little bit gradual) by the instant concern that something is seriously wrong. Loud shrieks thrust you into full consciousness, an instant state of readiness to fight off whatever evil has somehow found their way into the house and is now threatening the safety of the 3 year old. As a father and a husband, it is only natural to adopt the instinctive persona of 'protector of the house', springing into action with fight or flight adrenaline shooting around the body quicker than Usain Bolt on a running track, but in our house it very quickly becomes apparent that those feelings are somewhat misplaced. After the first two, maybe three occasions of this happening, my response is now rather more Victor Meldrew than Mr Fantastic. The only person that still holds any sense of urgency in these situations is Marvel H himself. Not because the situation requires urgent action - because quite frankly it doesn't - but because he holds very little patience....... for anything......and oh joy, this has become his new routine.
"MUUUUMMMM! DAAAADDDD!.......IS IT MORNING TIME YEEEEET?"
"I don't f**king believe it" I groan as I am instantly awoken into another state of readiness - which this time fades almost immediately. We both knowingly, silently glance at each other. We know that he isn't going back to sleep - he is now awake for the day.
As I stagger into his room, there is little patience for niceties at this time of the morning, but it is hard not to raise a smile when you are greeted with a happy smile and the sweet tones of "Good morning Daddy". It's not quite my preferred start to the morning but, as it never fails to melt my heart, it is at that moment in time something I strangely treasure......at least until my mind quickly brings me back to how tired I am.
No good parent would ever willingly want their children to be watching TV or using electronic devices before 5am, but in our case we will cling on to any small mercies, handing him his tablet before turning and leaving the room. At that moment in time, neither of us care for being good parents - sleep is far more important!
As I sit here writing this blog I chuckled to myself (the delirium must have kicked in again) as it dawns on me that we have literally just got back from our annual 2 nights away without the kids.......only another 362 sleeps to go until we get our next break!