Andrea Mara

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my so-called lie-in

My husband and I don’t do weekend lie-ins on alternate days, though I know lots of people who do. For us it just hasn’t worked well for lots of reasons, not in the least because I’m a very light sleeper, so it’s not a given that my lie-in would include much actual sleeping. Especially when the kids burst into the room and clamber into the bed while my husband is oblivious downstairs, his head buried in the newspaper.

The exception to this is for nights out. The person who has been out is legally entitled to a lie-in the next morning. Otherwise it puts a serious dampner on the festivities – thinking about being up in three hours while you’re still enjoying your last glass of red takes somewhat from the enjoyment.
We go a step further – the person who is out sleeps in another room upon returning home. When I say “other room”, I actually mean the couch in the sitting-room – this is because we live in a smallish three-bed house, and have three kids, so there is no spare room anymore. “Sleeping on the couch” smacks of marital disharmony but in our case it’s a practical solution – if husband is out, I don’t want his lumbering in at 3am to wake me or the baby. And if I am out, I want to be in a far-away (ish) part of the house when the baby wakes, so that husband can take care of him.

So last night was a night out. It was a BIG DEAL. Three friends and yours truly, out for a birthday dinner and drinks (in Bite restaurant in Dublin since you ask, I had the fish burger, it was amazing, I’m still thinking about it…). We had some Prosecco, lots of Rioja, and then Gin and Tonics on the terrace to round off the night, before taxi’ing home to our respective husbands and our ten kids (between us, not ten kids each).

As I reached my front door, I realised with a sinking heart that I’d forgotten a key. I rang the doorbell and knocked on the front door and rang my husband’s mobile, over and over and over. I should mention that he had texted me just twenty minutes earlier to say he was going to bed, so I had some expectation that he might not yet be in the deepest of deep sleeps but it was not to be.

Hmm what to do. Illogically, I clicked onto Twitter on my phone, then realised that this was not really going to help other than providing some reading material while potentially settling down to sleep outside the front door.

What else could I do with me phone, currently my only companion… I remembered that my younger sister was visiting, staying with my dad for the weekend and was out with friends, so I rang her – she wasn’t far away and would get a taxi home via my house, so that we could both stay in my dad’s house. I felt sheepish, like an errant teen, locked out and yes slightly locked, but at least it would be warmer than the doorstep.

Then I suddenly remembered that we’d recently got a new landline and rang that number – husband woke up, sister was called back to say no rescue required, and I settled down for a slightly shorter than planned sleep on the couch.

Two hours later, the baby woke. I lay there listening. Baby crying. No other movements in the house except the ticking of the clock. Baby crying. Still nothing from husband. I ran upstairs to wake husband, and sent him in to pick up baby, then back to the couch to try to get back to sleep. Suddenly the ticking of the clock sounded very loud, and the last Gin and Tonic didn’t seem like the best idea, and the morning seemed a little too close for comfort, but eventually I fell asleep as shards of early morning light started to creep under the curtain folds.

At 7.30am I heard the three kids awken upstairs, so as per the legal agreement of lie-ins for the person who has been “out”, husband would bring them down for breakfast, and I’d slip upstairs to bed. A few minutes later, the three kids arrived in on top of me on the couch. No dad. How did the littlest one get down the stairs I wondered? My five year-old had opened the stair-gate and helped him down very carefully according to herself.
No sign of dad. I went upstairs to find him still snoring. I suggested that if he ever wanted a lie-in after a night out again (and he’s out tonight), he might want to go down and make breakfast for the kids.

Reluctantly and with many a wistful backward glance, he made his way downstairs, and I snuggled under the duvet. I listened to the noises of Saturday morning for a few minutes (“dad, can I go on the iPad while you make breakfast? No not Krispies, you know I don’t eat Krispies. Ok then Krispies…”) and finally fell asleep.

For twenty whole minutes.

Then my five year-old burst in to tell me that nobody was paying her any attention, everyone was being mean, and she doesn’t want to live here anymore. The three year-old raced in, keen to continue whatever fight had started downstairs with her big sister. Then the baby pulled over the hall lamp with a crash to the floor. Sigh. I got up.

harmonious morning-time reading session* (*this did not happen this morning)

That was the end of my so-called lie-in.The end of my rather scant on actual sleep night’s sleep.

Husband may regret this when he arrives home from the pub tonight, and I send him straight to kitchen to start breakfast, the couch thing just isn’t working.




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