The "I Can't Sleep" Effect

Submitted by Addison Manning to Contest #3 in response to: Write a story about a parent putting their child to bed.... view prompt

"Mommy?" I woke up to see my six year old daughter, West, standing next to me in bed. It was 11:08 P.M. "I can't sleep." She whimpered.

I got out of bed and picked her up. "It's okay sweetie." I cooed at her. We walked down the hall into her dimly lit room. I put her in bed, and covered her up with her blanket.

"Can you put on music?" She questioned. I went to her little radio and played 'C.P.M (Classical Piano Music) Radio.'

"Can you read this to me?" West asked softly, holding up a Princess book. I nodded and began to read.

About, six books later and West is up like a vampire. I look over and it's 12:23 A.M. "Honey, you have to go to bed soon. You have kindergarten tomorrow." I groaned. My little girl sighed and put away her book. I then got up and closed the window, thinking that the cold winter night was keeping her up.

I turned around and there she was, sleeping like an angel. Of course, I go to walk back to me room.

"Mommy?"

I turn around but West is still in bed. Her eyes are open and she's staring at me. "Do you hear that?" I can't hear anything over the music. I walk over and turn the music off. When it clicks off, I hear this scratching noise, coming from the closet.

Now, I'M the one who's scared there's something in the closet. I cautiously tiptoe to the closet, quickly open it. Instead of there being a monster, it was just our Pomeranian, Cheerio, stuck in the closet and was helplessly trying to get out. I picked up Cheerio, put back on the music, and nested the ball of fluff on the bed. West and Cheerio cuddle up and drift away into sleep.

"Goodnight West." I said, turning off the lights and shutting the door. I walked back down the hall to my room and flopped into bed. But after awhile I hear this:

"Mommy?" I look up. My four year old son, Ethan, comes up to me. "I can't sleep."

Here we go again...

I grab Ethan, walk down the hall, and lay him in his bed. "Can you read me a story?" I look at the clock, it reads 2:01 A.M. I sigh and grab a book. Ethan was an easier child to handle. After two books he was out like a light. I covered him up and gave him his bunny. I silently exited the room. I bolted for my room and jumped onto my bed.

That's when my Baby Girl Janice started crying. I had to quickly feed her before singing her to sleep. I then almost sank into my bed.

"So how were the kids?" My husband asked me.

"You try taking care of 3 kids at midnight. Then you can just so feel my pain." I groaned. He laughed. He said something else but I just then fell asleep.

At about 6:A.M. I wake to my alarm clock. Work.

I fall out of bed and flat on my face. I work for A and A Companies, a building company for robotics. I'm work in the advertisement team though, so I get to make the logos and the ads and all that fun stuff.

At work, I tell my partners the crazy night I've been through, and it turns out, most of the other moms had this issue. We ended up calling it "The 'I Can't Sleep' Effect," and that was that.

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