There are many things that mystify me about children; where they learn to stamp their feet (not from their parents, at least in most cases), why things they like one day make them cry the next (and visa versa), what their fascination is with keys (or indeed, anything that you didn’t buy specifically for them). However, I can kind of accept that these are all just developmental things that children go through, that I don’t understand because I have an adult perspective.
Sleep, on the other hand, is sleep; my son does it, my wife does it, I do it, everyone does it. So, how do children manage to achieve certain sleep behaviours that completely elude adults… and at what point do they lose those behaviours?
Here are some of the things my son does, which mystify me:
1) Sleeps in weird positions
If I’m tired enough, I can sleep in some fairly uncomfortable positions (on planes and what have you), but under normal circumstances, I prefer to be flat. I imagine that humans have learned to sleep flat because it is a fairly stable position, with minimal risk of toppling over and injuring themselves or waking up unnecessarily… so why do children sleep with their bums in the air, legs between the bars of their cots, crammed into one corner, or otherwise uncomfortably contorted?
2) Sleeps through loud noises
Loud noises wake me up. This is probably a good thing, as they have the potential to include burglars, explosions, sabre-toothed tigers and what have you. I just dropped something outside my son’s room with quite a loud clatter and didn’t trouble his sleep in the slightest.
3) Sleeps through quiet noises
I occasionally have to sneak in late and get to bed without waking my wife. Even though I have developed ninja-like levels of stealth, she still wakes up if I accidentally catch a creaky floorboard or something. My son, however, can sleep through having washing put away and most other household chores short of hoovering… would that my wife were so slumbersome.
4) Sleeps through being re-positioned
Not only is my son impervious to loud noises, he doesn’t even wake when being moved; I once even changed his nappy while he was asleep. Some people may have read the previous two points and thought to themselves, “That’s not limited to children… I can sleep through anything too”, but I doubt that any adult can claim that they would sleep through being flipped 180 degrees in the bed and having someone poke around in their pjamas to check if they’ve pooed. (I used to do this carefully, like diffusing a bomb, but I’ve since realised that Isaac is more like C4 than nitro-glycerine and doesn’t mind a bit of rough handling.)
5) Manages to go from sleep to alert in moments
The final thing that mystifies me applies to both children and dogs; they can go from fast asleep to standing up and awake in moments. Now admittedly, my son can still be a bit grouchy, depending on whether he was ready to be woken, but even so… I wish I could wake up, stand up and be ready for breakfast in a single motion… alas, my ninja skills also extend to hitting the snooze button with closed eyes and pinpoint accuracy.
Still, it should be noted that, while I am certainly mystified by these behaviours, I’m not complaining… I’m sure they’re preferable to the sorts of things I’ll have to put up with once he’s older/taller/more of a wise-ass/legally allowed to drive [delete as appropriate].