When sleep becomes a stranger.
Pre-children, I loved my sleep. Mr Sandman was one of my best friends, affording me joyous nights full of rich, deep sleep. I used to claim that I couldn’t function with less than 8 hours sleep each night.
Oh to be that young and naive again.
Now I awaken to a darkened room around 6 hours (sometimes less) after falling asleep within it. It started as soon as Olivia was born (and of course, sleep was even scarcer to begin with) and has continued ever since. In fact, it’s become so much of a habit that now my alarm clock gets me up that early. I know, right? *Shakes head sadly*.
Having said that, the moment when your alarm wakes you up isn’t always a good one, no matter how much you’re used to it. That momentary feeling of disorientation while you remember where you are and why on earth you’ve been roused from your slumber. The noise of the alarm always seems thunderous to my ears and I know there is only one way to make it stop – get up and get on with the day. There is no putting it off.
It’s a pretty regular 5.30am wake-up call that I have and I don’t mind it. It gives me time to write and/or get some housework done while Olivia and William sleep. But the other day…
The other day I was awoken as normal by my alarm but it didn’t feel quite right. The room was slightly darker than usual and I felt more tired. I looked across at my clock and that’s when I saw it – 4.30am! With eyes still clearing from their blurred, sleepy state, I checked again. Yep, 4.30am.
“What the…?” I mumbled sleepily. Questions rolled around in my brain; why is my alarm going off so early? Why is it SO loud SO early? Why am I being forced up already?
And then I remember.
Dave is awake. And hungry. He needs his breakfast.
My little ‘alarm clock’ headbutts me gently, but with a subtle force behind it. Purring loudly, he rubs his face against mine and paws at my duvet. When that fails, he softly paws at my cheek, urging me to get out of bed. My regular alarm isn’t set to go off for a while yet but my cat doesn’t care. He’s awake therefore I should be too. I get up and pad downstairs, trying not to trip over Dave’s body as he weaves between my legs, and duly serve him his breakfast. And then, because I’m up, it’s time to get on with the rest of the day.
I’ve tried to think of ways to deter him, from leaving food – dry and wet – in his bowl overnight to shutting our bedroom door (he just scratches at it until we open it, plus I like having the door open in case one or both of the children stir in the night), but it doesn’t seem to work. His wake-up call is a regular one. So regular in fact, you could set your watch by him (yes, he is my regular 5.30am ‘alarm’, apart from the other morning of course).
Do any other pet owners have their own ‘early morning alarm’ like me?