Wide Awake

The thing I miss the most about being a toddler is nap time. I have looked back across the vista of my life at the number of times I had the opportunity to nap or go to bed early and I wonder why I fought it so much.

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Today, half my time is spent in finding ways to sleep anywhere and at any time. The rest of my time is pretty much wasted.
I had a particularly intense session in sleep techniques this weekend. Whenever I have a weekend tournament with my oral interp students, it is a tough weekend for everyone. They, because they must perform and me, because I must stay awake.
I started it out as usual by being unable to get my wake mechanism to shut down the night before. That is a new and clever way I have devised to say that I didn’t get any sleep the night before. I’m always paranoid that I will miss the alarm or get a flat tire, be late in some way. So, I spend the night waiting for the time to get up and go, counting on the chance to get in a nap on the bus on the way.
I rousted the kids out at 6:15 and they showed up…all of them. Most were still in their pajamas and had pillows and blankets, so they were planning on sleeping too. Trouble is, tired as I was, sleeping on that bus was impossible. I don’t know how many of you have tried riding a school bus lately, but the best of them ride so roughly that I would have better luck falling asleep on a pogo stick!
So, I spent the day sitting in a chair at an oral interp meet trying to sleep without appearing  to be asleep. All of the children leave their valuables with me as they go into rounds, so I always try to find ways to protect them. I sit at the table and wind bags around my wrists and ankles. This isn’t totally comfortable, but I do this on the assumption that if someone tried to take something, I would wake up. I’ve never had it tested out, at least I’m pretty sure no one’s attempted to steal and the students never complain about missing anything.
There are only three positions a person can assume when attempting to sleep at an oral interp meet. My favorite is the upright, head back. This involves finding a brick wall and putting your chair against it. I have slept with my head propped against a rough bit of brick many times and it is not too bad until you really fall asleep and your head slips to the side. That leaves some nasty examples of brick burn.
Then there is the straight chair position with head down. I don’t like this position because in the first place, it’s really hard on the neck to hang your head down and secondly, it can be misleading. I once woke from sleeping in this position to a student tapping me gently on the shoulder and saying, “Excuse me, Mrs. Fauth, I hate to disturb you while you’re praying, but I need to look at the schedule again.”
The final position is my least favorite, but the most effective. That’s the full-out, take off your glasses, cross your arms on the table and sleep with your head down. While I get the best sleep in this position, it’s also the one for which there is no faking that you were doing anything but sleeping on the job.
The interp meet was successful and the students were well-satisfied with their work. We went back home on the same rough bus, so I was awake the whole way. However, when I got home, my husband said to me, “What should we do tonight?” My answer? I gave him no answer. I had already slipped into bed and was completely unconscious. Now THAT was the greatest possible way to sleep…and I didn’t have five bags wrapped around my arms and legs, either. See you in the morning!

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