Sleep. When you think about it, sleep is amazing, isn't it? I mean, you pass endless hours of your life just lying in a bed, completely unaware of everything around you, inanimate, dreaming... What a clever thing sleep is. But sleep is a bit like money; if you have it you're not fussed about it, and if you don't have it then you're always worrying about it.
Similarly, in relationships between co-parenting individuals, sleep can be used as currency. Gone are the days when you would barter with promises of sexual favours; now it's sleep. Sleep is your trump card, your Ace, your guarantee of getting whatever you want. All you have to say is "I'll let you sleep in tomorrow if you'll..." and it's yours. Clean the bathroom? Sure. Do all of the ironing and put it away? Absolutely. Hunt down and capture a pink fucking unicorn? Consider it done. I will do pretty much anything you want if you dangle the offer of sleep in front of me. Maybe I wouldn't kill anybody, but then again if they were morally reprehensible and completely irredeemable and you promised me a whole day in bed... Fuck it. Probably.
Sleep is completely unappreciated by the people who have nothing and no one regularly interrupting it. But for me, sleep is the unobtainable holy grail. I fantasise about sleep. When I dream, I dream about sleeping somewhere other than where I am actually sleeping. Desert island with warm, white sand and gently lapping waves? Hell, I'll sleep in a pit full of vipers on a bed of nails if you just promise me no one will wake me up for 8 hours.
Children don't like sleep. They seem to think that they might miss something or that there are abundant other things they could be doing that are much better than sleeping. But they also tend to fall almost completely unconscious when they sleep. Ever tried to wake a sleeping child who doesn't want to be woken? Not easy and definitely NOT wise. And do you know when children really, REALLY do not like sleep? Christmas. Tonight I fully expect Toddler Taylor to be so emphatically excited that he will tear around the house singing snippets of various carols in a sort of festive, tuneless mash-up and then absolutely REFUSE to go to sleep. And it won't matter how many times I say "Santa won't come if you don't go to sleep" because he won't believe me because Santa ALWAYS comes. Kids are smart; they figure that one out really quickly.
Tomorrow morning he will wake unreasonably early, sprint up the stairs - possibly waking Baby Taylor, who has no fucking idea what's going on or why there is a tree IN THE HOUSE - and declare loudly and with boundless enthusiasm "IT'S CHRISTMAS!!!" before leaping onto the bed and possibly breaking several of my ribs. But here's the thing; I love sleep, but I love my babies ever so much more than sleep. And I love Christmas. And Christmas with my babies is the epitome of wonderful for me. Tomorrow morning it won't matter how little sleep I've had and how bone-achingly exhausted I am, I will still find the energy to sob quietly all the way through the process of watching Toddler Taylor tear open his presents while Baby Taylor eats the wrapping paper off his. It's a parental rite of passage to cry at Christmas. Because another Christmas means that your babies are another year older and so much different and more grown-up than the year before, and lack of restorative sleep makes the whole thing feel, like, TOTES EMOSH. Parents of the world, go ahead and weep with joy (and a little bit because you're so tired and it's so early); you deserve it. You're all bloody heroes to me.
Merry Christmas everyone. May Santa leave a sackful of sleeping dust under your trees to sprinkle liberally over your children on Christmas night.