Friday, July 23, 2010

The Not Dark Enough Midnight of My House

As you know, I'm kinda an insomniac. I spend a lot of time lying in bed, trying to get to sleep. Or get back to sleep if--heaven forfend!--I have to get up to go pee at night. In any and all cases, utter darkness is best. I like to snap off my reading light and have that moment of panic where I can't tell the difference between my-eyes-are-open and my-eyes-are-closed.

I rarely get to experience this panic.

It's not like it's bright enough in my room that I can see my fingers when I wave them in front of my face after I turn the light off. It's bright enough in my room that I could paint my fingernails after I turn the light off.

Sigh.

Part of the problem is the 'character' and 'charm' of the hundred-year-old house, where the door to the master bedroom has so shrunk that the latch no longer catches and the door has to be held shut with a garbage can. Or that the door in question has in fact shrunk so much that even when fully closed (with the garbage can) a fairly sturdy halo of light still penetrates the jamb around the entire perimeter. Nor even that the self-same door is shrunk so spectacularly that one of the wood panels has split and admits light through its very damn centre.

No. The main problem is Munchkin, and her need for the hallway light, compounded by the regrettable placement of this light square in the middle of the three foot hallway span that separates our rooms.

If you were to go look up there right now (you could see quite well; every damn light is on) you would notice that Munchkin's door is 'halfway open', with the effect of the hallway light being strong enough on the head end of her bed that you could count her eyelashes with no extra illumination.

Sometimes, when she's well and truly asleep, we'll close her door to a simple two-inch gap, and turn on a more distant hallway light (it's a really big hallway; there's three different, separately switched light fixtures, not counting the two in the two stairwells. Really.) while we switch off the one that so offends me. And then sometimes, when we're well and truly asleep, she opens her door up all the way again, and turns the light back on.

Sheesh.

What we never do is turn the light off completely. Sure, when we do that, I fall asleep like a champ--but then Munchkin screams me awake sometime between midnight and dawn, in high dudgeon about "MY LIGHT! MY HALLWAY LIGHT IS NOT ON!"

As it is, she wins. Me, I pull strands of my own hair across my eyeballs. I hold my palms tight against my eyes when I make the high-wattage 20 foot walk down the hallway to the bathroom, and back again. But it rarely works. The lights are killing me.

The long dark midnight of the soul? I wish.

On the upside, with all the lights on, Munchkin now has no qualms about getting out of bed in the middle of the night to go pee all by herself, then put herself back to bed. We know she's done this because she tells us. And she doesn't flush.

I'll sleep when I'm old, right?

11 comments:

Jenifer said...

I like to sleep in total dark too...but since our only upstairs bathroom connects to our bedroom...no such luck. We have a standard nightlight in the bathroom, hallway and both bedrooms for the girls. It sounds weird, but I sometimes grab a handful of sheet and put it over my eyes.

These days though, I am so dead tired the light doesn't bother me much falling asleep...it is those early AM pee breaks when the sun is already up that do me in, it is so hard to fall back asleep then!

Have you tried those sleep masks? It might not work for the bathroom runs though...I guess sleeping when you are old IS the only solution. ;)

Patti said...

"And she doesn't flush" - giggling.

But I'm sympathizing, wholeheartedly. I am one of those lucky, lucky people who sleeps easily, most of the time. But on those rare nights when I can't - oh my - I get very crusty, as Spike would very likely tell you. Trying to sleep with that level of lighting - ugh. I've tried masks a few times for various reasons, and my brain still knows.

Bea said...

Would she be willing to accept a nightlight in the room in place of the hallway light?

Cloud said...

I've just gotten accustomed to sleeping in the semi-dark. I guess I'm tired enough now that it doesn't really matter.

I think Munchkin is being environmentally conscious with the not flushing...

When you're old, you can go visit Munchkin, and insist on absolute darkness and get up in the middle of the night and noisily flush the toilets. Revenge!

Kyla said...

We have a navy blue sheet hanging in the window above the head of our bed because the neighbor has an outdoor light that shines between our home...directly into our bedroom. Classy. Our room never gets SUPER dark, but dark enough for me.

Would Munchkin go for something like this for nightlight and a bathroom buddy? http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001HKPHYQ/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_1?pf_rd_p=486539851&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B0019QIAQ0&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=08S5FVKY7HMWNP2KHCPH

Mimi said...

It's funny: Nothing but full 60 watt bulb illumination will satisfy that kid. We have a nightlight for the bathroom, and she hates it. We can't put one in her room, because one plug is under her bed, and one plug is behind the dresser, and that's all there is.

Sleep masks: They bug me. I try. But I'm already wearing earplugs and I feel not ... free and relaxed, but wound up and blocked. Blergh.

Flushing: If it's yellow, let it mellow! If it's brown, flush it down! That's the cottage mantra, right?

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