Sleep Tips for Parents

chairsIt was so late that even the crickets had knocked off for the night. Alison caught me just as I had begun an irreversible kamikaze dive into bed.

The dives happen more often than they should: schlomp up the stairs, eye the bed from the hall, lock in on the target – the point of no return – gradually peel layers of Carhartt, drop unto neat 20-foot-long trail, swan-dive into bed, toss glasses and iPhone to nightstand, box out an “own-bed-challenged” toddler, mumble an incoherent “I love you,” and then, three seconds later, sleep. Sweet blessed sleep.

But somehow Alison got her finger in the dam and stopped me as I disrobed.

“Check this out,” she said, wearing a wide grin.

She held up a dustpan and mini-broom, price tags still affixed.

Then she demonstrated. “We can sweep off the crumbs, like this.”

All these years, and we never thought to sweep.

Lego and Playmobil.  Dirt, stones, sand, seeds.  Bits of frozen waffles. Bits of grass. Fossilized chunks of pineapple. Enough to fill the dustpan. I’m not entirely sure when our bed became a compost pile, but I slept way better than usual.

The sinister howl of coyotes did wake me several times throughout the night. It is fawn season, and so the occasional racket is to be expected. But this howling felt much closer and much more sinister than usual.

So at 5:30 am I woke for good. As per habit – I hadn’t even noticed it had become habit – I reached down to brush crumbs from forearms. From hair and legs. But, for the first time in a long time, my 5:30 am body was clean and compost-free.

I retraced my trail of Carhartt and tiptoed past quiet little bedrooms.  I looked in on each, just checking to make sure everything was okay.  Everyone accounted for. Everyone fine.

I exited into a heavy dawn air, thick with fog and mystery. The barnyard sat perfectly still, frozen, silent, like a postcard.  I tiptoed past quiet little stalls.  Seven goats, four bred ewes, and two head of cattle.  Everyone accounted for.  Everyone fine.

Two of the ewes stood up, looking slightly annoyed.  Like teens to a dance chaperone they spoke to me with eyes: Dude, we’re fine. Chill.

No problem, I said back with eyes.

Just checking to make sure everything was okay.

tractor in foggate


So, just to summarize the sleep tips: 1) buy a broom and dustpan, 2) for the love of mutton, do not go out and get livestock, and 3) for more tips subscribe to

9 responses to “Sleep Tips for Parents

  1. My wife and I both grew up in East Coast suburbia. When we move to our place, first time we heard the coyotes, we had no idea what it was. They were howling but also making that kind of “laughing” barking noise they make. Scared the crap out of us!! We soon figured out what was going on, now its a pretty routine event.

    • The noise is alarming, even after you get used to it. Always scares me though with the livestock out there. They come right up to the fence at night. We now have a Pyrenees as a deterrent – so far so good.

  2. Thought I had to keep a secret of the fact that our bed too resembles a popcorn cracker jack and G.I. Joe boot factory.

  3. Found your blog via your comments on Ben Hewitt’s. Enjoy your writing very much and marvel you even have time to have the coherent thought to do so. We have two boys under the age of two and 9 months apart in age so I can relate to this post big time – only I usually end up on the sofa in their room at some point and can dive bomb into it with my eyes closed. So nice to read about other people with children living on farms and making it not only work but thrive. Thanks!

    • Thanks for stopping by ncfarmchick. Wow, two under two is no easy thing! I wish I had more coherent thoughts – maybe now with the sweeping I will…

  4. Pingback: Hay Fever | Vice President of Farming·

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