Sleep Tight


Last Saturday, more than anything, I wanted to take a nap. I had woken up at 6am for my usual Saturday fitness session after a paltry six hours of sleep the previous night. Since I had a mums’ night out to look forward to that evening, I wanted to recharge my batteries. A hour of beauty sleep should do the trick… Or so I thought.

Barely had I snuggled under the doona when hubby-dearest decided to join me. A whole five seconds later, C1 and C2 decided to make it a “cuddle-sandwich”.

What’s a cuddle sandwich, you ask? Why, a cuddle sandwich is the brain child of my husband and kids. Think of B and myself as the “slices of bread” while the kids are the “sandwich fillings” squeezed tight by our hugs and you’ve got yourself a cuddle sandwich.
Oozing cuteness and all that. I get it. But all I wanted was to take a nap. Alone.

“Go to sleep!” I groaned. The kids looked at me, baffled. “Sleep in the afternoon? Only babies do that!” they exclaimed. After about an hour of ignoring their giggles and gags I gave up. I had slept not a wink…


Why is it that children, who can sleep as much as they like, baulk at the suggestion of going to sleep while adults who would love to catch some shut-eye find it impossible?

In the “olden days” when I was little, my family lived in my Nana’s house together with my dad’s eldest brother and his family. While the adults went to work, Nana was in charge. After a long day of looking after five grand-kids, Nana needed her siesta. Yes, her very own Nana nap. This meant that my cousins, my brother and I had to press the Pause button on our games and rest too. Every afternoon after lunch, my brother Jason and my cousin Neil (born six months apart) were made to flank Nana on either side of her bed. Sleep was the last thing on their minds. As soon as they thought Nana had drifted off, they would be up to their hijinks.

Sleep words
Back in the day, the Indian education system was all about how much you could cram rather than what you understood. Come exam time and my cousin Wen would be burning the candle at both ends.

His trusty alarm clock (it was a shiny silver one which we would now call “retro”) was set to go off at the crack of dawn – but he never woke up! Nana would get up and try to shake him awake. No luck. His dad’s turn to try to rouse him. Still no luck. By 7am the entire Pereira household had risen. But Wenzil would slumber on, tucked under the godhri (quilt), promising to burn the midnight oil…

And finally, a story about my brother.
Nowadays, the term “co-sleeping” is a buzzword among new parents. But if you turn back the clock 35 years or so, we were doing it already. There wasn’t a term for it because that was our “normal”.

While I had my own bed (still in the same room as my parents), my brother Jason slept on the same bed as my mum and dad. And the only way Jason could sleep was by tugging at my dad’s earlobe. All. Night. Long. It was a comfort thing, the way today’s toddlers have dummies and blankies. Back then, I never understood why my dad allowed such odd behaviour. Only after becoming a parent I realise that it has been clearly written down in the unwritten rules of Parenting 101.

Are you a nap-taker? What’s your best tip to get a great night’s rest? Can you sleep on transport (planes, trains, automobiles)?

6 responses to “Sleep Tight

  1. Loved this post as sleeping is one of my favourite pursuits:)
    Yes a nap when needed is something I partake in , I believe 20min increments are the optimal or you do feel wrecked after.
    To bed and to rise the same time roughly everyday is the top tip I would give. On that note, good night , sleep well xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Alison, I too remember taking a nap with Nana, but we would also read Don Bosco’s Madonna together before that. I loved it when I read it faster than her. I miss her.


    • OMG! Don Bosco’s Madonna – I’d forgotten about them. I used to read Nana’s stash from cover to cover – all those novenas made for a pregnancy with promises to name the child Bosco or Savio, if male…


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