Monotonous poking

As we get older our quality of sleep deteriorates.  I know this because Richard Fidler told me on a podcast today and I believe everything that man tells me. I also know this because my children meet each evening with clipboards and stopwatches to synchronize and plan ‘operation deep wrinkles’, this involves an hourly, rigorous, make her open her eyes program.

There were the usual events last night, a glass of water here, a toilet stop there, but the real fun began closer to dawn. I know this because I could hear the mosque in the background. This wasn’t what woke me up, it was the beagle pushing against the back of my legs and the breath of a seven year old boy tickling my nose. After leg pressing the beagle from the end of the bed, I rolled the seven year old towards his father and went back to sleep.

The second time, someone was poking me in my arm. Over and over, monotonous poking, same spot, every second, poking. “Everything okay?” I asked, praying the request didn’t involve clean sheets and a change of clothes. “Can I have a drink of your water?” she said with the glass to her lips.

The third time I woke up, I heard footsteps running in to the room, the fourth Little Traveller was airborne, heading straight towards me as he squealed “I’m five, I’m five, it’s finally my birthday!” I smiled with one eye open and suggested he retrieve his sisters for present opening. I immediately closed my eyes again, searching for the elusive and highly unlikely ‘5 more minutes’.

Once again, the breath of the third Little Traveller. He’s slept through it all.

Another small body slid on to the bed. And then a muffled sound. What was that sound? The second Little Traveller is gently calling his name. She’s whispering in the sweetest tone, with a smile in her voice, she asks him “Are you awake?”

Why doesn’t anyone wake me up like that, gently, whispering my name. I’m touched for a moment by how sweet she is with her brother. What was she saying to him?

“I just farted on your face”.

And so the day begins.

*if you’re looking for a good podcast, try Richard Fidler, he gives good interview and even better, he’s free! If you have any other podcast suggestions I’d love to hear them.

Sign up for the best bits here

Sign up for the best bits from our community of forty thousands expats. Every Saturday morning we’ll shoot you the five hottest topics from the world of expat.

Powered by ConvertKit


  1. Emmasbrain says

    I love this! 

  2. Raineandsage says

    Ah sleep. I miss it.
    Your children are funny. I think it’s the funny that eases the sleep deprivation. That and tea. Or whatever caffiene fix you like.

  3. I can’t get mine out of bed these days, but the husband has been away for a few nights and I’ve slept through the night for the first time in ages (and not because of any risky business either)! 

  4.  Hahaha superb. Except the bit about the farting… although I’m sure she thought she was very ingenious.

  5.  My kids are teenagers now, and I get a certain amount of sadistic pleasure out of waking them up when they sleep through their alarms.  Sadly, now that the children want to sleep later than I do, the dog is the problem.  Like little children, he does not ‘get’ holidays and weekends, and wakes up every day at the same time.  Clearly your beagle is better-trained….But really, what a great post! I felt like I was there with you, especially at the end;  with 2 sons, a lot of  incidents end in farting…sigh.

  6.  Oh yes oh yes oh yes… The poking, the waking, the cuddles, the wet beds… perhaps the last year has been the first in many years where finally all 4 of my children are mainly sleeping through the night. 
    Good podcasts – I am directing yout to NPR. Look for Michael Krasny’s program “Forum” (he is Bay Area based and brilliant) and of course Terri Gross with Fresh Air. She is always great.
    Love Michelle

  7. seraphimsp says

     I fantasize about 12 solid hours uninterrupted sleep. I hope that one day it comes true. Last night I was woken by all 3 offspring who traipsed into “snuggle” at various ungodly hours of the morning. It’s a good thing I worship the ground they walk on I swear.

  8. Naturally Carol says

    I love the way you write..I was almost there with you in bed!  Such a typical way for a mum to wake up…apart from the mosque in the this part of the world anyway! 

  9. ha ha ha, I recognised this all too well. It’s funny isn’t it, people tell you about sleepless nights when they are babies but they fail to mention that they will still be waking you at night 5 years later…

  10. Philippa Hoy says

    Only you could make the day-to-day monotony entertaining. Thanks for the giggle. Px

  11. Love it, love it. Kids are great aren’t they. I love it when my daughter snuggles into bed with me but the peace lasts all of two seconds becaues she is such a fidget! My son will now lie in bed and read when he wakes up in the morning. I have also heard my daughter creep into our bedroom, see that me and husband are asleep (or feigning sleep) and then sneak out again…very cute

  12. I thought this was going to be a post like Kerri Sackville’s last one… about that other sort of relentless night-time poking 😉
    Very funny. xx

  13. oh and BBC and Guardian are both good for books podcast. If you like films, look for Mark Kermode on BBC radio, very funny. The BBC History of the world in 100 objects is really interesting if a bit time consuming, I listen when I walk. Enjoy

  14.  OMG, that’s hilarious!  Every once in a while, I’ll see my kids being especially tender with one another, which IS really sweet.  But it’s usually so that one can lead the other to a false sense of security and set up an ambush…

  15. catrionaling says

     I am currently addicted to the BBC’s Desert Island Discs Archive that they’ve just released – it’s like being a pick and mix fanatic being let loose in a sweet shop – really recommend, Jimmy Mulville, J K Rowling, Colin Firth – list goes on and on

  16. Nice post.  I remember well!  Sleep, elusive sleep.  When you have kids we know how it goes.  Then the kids go, and finally you can sleep as much as you want, but . . . you don’t.  Or at least I don’t.  My body forgot how.  Doesn’t matter what bed on what continent, I wake up too early, or lie awake in the middle of the night. 

    Enjoy your kids!

  17. Hello! Was doing a blog-trawl and found you – what a fantastic blog!! Am your newest follower. Thanks for the giggle – your morning sounds exactly like mine… 

  18. Marnie Avagiannis says

    Oh, this is just too funny. I don’t often find my self laughing out loud at blogs) or anything I read. Loved your story (especially the “I just farted in your face” bit). It sounds all too familiar in my house. I hope you get your “5 mins” tonight…not likely though 😉
    I’m your newest follower.
    x Marnie

  19. Emily@TheBeetleShack says

    ahahahha. Hi, I’ve just found you and i’m pretty sure I love you 😉

    way too funny.

    xo em

  20. Carojacko says

    Women’s Hour on BBC Radio 4 is great.  Also fab is World News for Kids which my kids love to listen to in the car.   I also have Great Lives for longer journeys.  Getting ready to move for 2nd time in 9 months  – Istanbul to Dubai and now Dubai to Atlanta.  All your posts resonate!  

  21. love richard fidler too. Bit of a word nerd too so love Roly Sussex

    Not sure if you can get as podcast but can watch online – Tuesday Bookclub

Speak Your Mind