I need to state for the record that I love sleep! Before children I used to sleep like a log. I grew up sharing a room with my twin sister and she could come in, turn on the light and get changed – all without me even stirring. Then when I got married, my husband would get up on the weekend, go for a jetski and return to wake me mid morning.
It came as a shock to me that the moment I gave birth I developed super sonic hearing. Suddenly the start of a small whimper in the middle of the night would wake me up, more alert than if an alarm had been beeping next to my ear. Since then as my children have grown, I can hear the moment that there are little footsteps in the carpeted hallway. It must be a mothering instinct to listen out whilst ‘sleeping’ to make sure your children are okay. Obviously the fathering instinct is completely different! I know fathers who have had their children climb into bed across them without them being aware!
My bionic ears have also served me well when I’m not asleep. The kids can scream and laugh at the top of their voices and I don’t pay too much attention, but the moment I hear whispered talking and giggling my ears prick up to hear what mischief is being planned. It is always far more concerning when kids are quiet than playing loudly!
I’m assuming as our teenagers get older, this sensitive hearing will also come in useful for keeping track of what time they get home after a night out! I worry that I will have more sleepless nights from this than when they woke regularly for feeds as babies.
I wonder whether this altered sense of ‘sleep alertness’ will be something I will have for the rest of my life or whether when the kids leave home I can return to sleeping like a log once again!
(Photo courtesy of artemeisphoto, freedigitalphotos.net)