Beware! Man sleeping...
My husband has perfected quite a trick, it dawned on me. You see, he has ‘sleep issues', which means he quite often has ‘a bad night'. Sometimes he wakes up ‘thinking about work'. Work issues ‘whirl round his head'. If work is quiet, he often suffers from ‘really weird dreams.' Occasionally he has ‘heartburn' or the dreaded ‘twitchy legs'. We both dread his twitchy legs. He dreads them because it makes him feel as if his calf muscles are doing Saturday Night Fever moves across the bed. I dread them because his calf muscles are doing Saturday Night Fever moves across the bed.
Mustering every last ounce of sympathy available (not much at approaching midnight), I put a tender hand on his arm and ask if he's alright. This is wifely code for ‘Get your sorry, twitching ass out of my bed and don't come back until you can keep still!' So he does. When ‘twitchy legs', ‘really weird dreams' or any other of his array of ‘not sleeping well' issues occur, my poor, long suffering husband gets up, and goes downstairs to drink warm milk and watch television until he feels pleasantly sleepy again. Oh, the hardship.
In the morning, we have an agreement that he can stay in bed to ‘catch up on lost sleep'. Occasionally I check on my husband's slumbering form, and quietly leave small offerings on the bedside table beside him - plates of toast and cups of tea. All I need is a nurse's uniform and a name tag with ‘Sister Gullible' on it.
It finally occurred to me that sleeplessness is a big win for him and not surprisingly, this has become habit forming. Time for a little role reversal, no?
Last night, I unexpectedly ate ‘something that disagreed with me'. Unfortunately, it gave me a ‘bilious attack'. As a result, I felt compelled to get up in the small hours, go downstairs and ‘try to rest' on the sofa. While I was there, I switched on the television and watched an interview with Richard E Grant, an episode of QI and a Spooks DVD to ‘take my mind off things'. During all this I tried to ‘soothe my stomach' with a cup of hot chocolate. Then I had a glass of Pinot Grigio. That really helped: very soothing indeed. The fire crackled. Nobody spoke to me or grabbed the remote and switched to children's television. After a while, I stretched and yawned, went back to bed and ‘tried to sleep'.
In the morning, our four-year-old son announced his presence as usual. ‘Mummy, I want some breakfast NOW!' he said. ‘Mmm, ask Daddy, darling. Mummy didn't sleep well and she's staying in bed for a bit.' I turned sleepily to face the walrus-like presence of my husband. ‘Do you mind, darling? I had a terrible night.' I've done it a few times now. It kind of works and it kind of doesn't. Having said that, it's Sunday morning now, I'm still in bed writing this and he's downstairs making me a cup of tea and some toast with quince jam. I should get up soon. But you know what? I can't be bothered. It's dawned on me that we mothers deserve the occasional lie-in.