When I was in school and college, my mother woke me up every morning by shouting out my name from the kitchen. Blissfully lost in my dreams, her voice would make me jump out of my skin and I would sit bolt upright, taking a while to get my bearings. No matter how many times I told her to call out softly, she forgot and invariably did the same the next day and the next.
So when I had kids of my own, I remembered the violent waking up I did every day and carefully refrained from screaming to the kids to wake up. In fact I perfected the wake-up routine to the T. But this meant that I had to start at least half an hour before the scheduled wake up time. I would first go and muss their hair and whisper to them that it was time to get up. The older one would mutter, turn over and go back to sleep. No movement from the younger one. Ten minutes later, I would stand at their door and call out their names in a normal voice and repeat the message. This time the older one would actually get up before flopping back on the bed. Still no reaction from the younger one. So I would go in and shake him a bit. He would turn on the other side and continue sleeping. Another ten minutes later I would holler from the next room and the older one would get off the bed and move to the bathroom.
The younger one was another matter altogether. He would groan and moan and try going back to sleep; but I would go in and pull off the sheet/quilt. He didn’t mind the loss of it and would curl up without the cover – even in Delhi winter! So I would bodily lift him out of the bed thinking he would wake up, but he would lie half on the bed and half on the floor and continue sleeping. Another five minutes later I would half lift and half drag him to the wash basin and prop him there. And folks, he would lay his head on the cold rim of the basin and continue sleeping! He would only wake up when I thrust the brush in his mouth and then he would start wailing about having to go to school everyday! It was a daily litany.
Had the Brats been girls, they might have remembered how much effort it took for their dear mother to wake them up, but alas! Boys are not gifted with the memory of such things.
Today I see even young kids staying up late, really late. They sometimes sleep till late evening and then stay up late because they weren’t sleepy. Why can’t parents put them to bed on time so that they can get enough sleep and not sleep through their play time in the evening? And what do they do sitting up that late? Watch all the serials along with their parents, that’s what they do. ‘My son/daughter never sleeps till midnight,’ they boast, as if it were a big achievement for a three or four-year-old. The bleary eyed kid is then woken up at an unearthly hour in the morning and sent off to school/playschool. I wish someone gave these parents a sleep chart that tells them how many hours of sleep a small child needs to be healthy and alert.
I used to have a sleep chart of my own when the brats were growing up. Starting with 8 PM when they were in nursery, their bedtime was pushed back gradually till, when they came to high school they got about 6-7 hours of sleep allowing them enough time to study. The body gets used to the sleep pattern when it is reduced gradually as the kids grow older and so is not any the worse for it. I have read that starting with the late teens till you are 30-35 your body can function to full capacity with just 5-6 hours of good sleep. When they grew up, the Brats became Nishacharans (demons) and sometimes they are turning in for their night when I am waking up for my day. But that’s another story.
Are you asleep yet? No? Then read on about the Cybernag’s slumber tales…
It has been many years since I was able to stay awake to see the New Year ushered in or to watch a late night movie. Everyone who knows me, know better than to call me after 9 PM. The stories of my early bedtime started getting more and more preposterous till the rumour went that I slept at 7 PM! Talk of exaggeration! Honest, I sleep at 8 PM and that too only on some days!
When the little one was about six or seven months old, she used to sleep at 7 in the evening and someone had to stay with her in case she suddenly woke up and got scared. Guess who volunteered? Her pati of course! I ate an early dinner and turned in with her, both of us fast asleep in a few minutes leaving her parents to relax and catch a movie or read a book. But in subsequent years while my bedtime has remained the same, the little one’s has become later than mine and so she bids me goodnight these days!
When normal people lose several hours of sleep, all they have to do is to maybe sleep an hour or two extra to make up for it. But my sleep deficit defies this logic. If I lose an hour’s sleep, I need to sleep an extra three hours to make up the loss. So if I stay awake say, till midnight one day, I need an extra nine hours’ sleep to make it up. Others need their work-outs, gym and yoga and even tonics to keep fit; I need my snoooooooooze. I don’t sleep during the day and so need to make up only at nights by sleeping earlier! So you know what I’d do if I got any extra hours in a day.
The L&M is not so lucky when it comes to sleep. He is unable to sleep more than five hours and he won’t let me hear the last of it, the way he goes on cribbing. So other than making me feel guilty for sleeping soundly, he has calls me a sleepyhead.
Sometimes I feel sorry for the L&M, but please don’t go telling him that, will you? Besides I am mad at him for something else. Do you know how to find out if someone is sleeping? If you were the L&M, you would ask the person if he or she is sleeping, of course! He usually sleeps later than I do and so would come in and ask in a stage whisper, ‘Are you sleeping?’ so as not to disturb me apparently!
Now if you think it is an exaggeration, I can swear it is true. Why, you can ask him yourself if you want. More often than not, I would be woken and then he would get an earful and this in turn would make my sleep dissipate completely. And then he would begin snoring and I would be gnashing my teeth at him counting the hours. But if he came sufficiently late, I would have slept off so deeply that nothing would awaken me.
…not even an earthquake. Recently the earthquake which woke up and rattled all of Delhi passed me by completely, so lost was I in the land of the nod. I bet I give Kumbhakarna a run for his money, don’t I?