2:00 AM: I hear Lucy shuffling around in the newspaper I have put in her area and rattling the x-pen as she tries to drag it across the floor. I'd like to just tell her to go back to sleep, but on the off-chance that labour has begun I get up to check. Her tail wags madly when she sees me stumble out of my bedroom door into the hallway. No labour - just a dog who wants some company. I take her outside to do her business, then return her to the x-pen. She whines and continues shoving the x-pen around. I return to bed and stare at the ceiling.
2:30 AM: Charley comes into my room and paws at the bed. Charley only wakes me for two reasons - either one of the other critters needs me (such as the night Oliver died), or she desperately needs out. I stumble back out of bed, and follow Charley as she quickly pads to the back door - she needs out. I wait for her to do her business, let her back in, and return to bed for some more ceiling inspection.
3:00 AM: Lucy is still dragging the x-pen around the mudroom, the metal sections clanging and clanking and keeping me awake. I get up and redesign the pen so she can lie next to the babygate which seperates the mudroom from the hallway and ultimately from my bedroom door. I would usually be happy to have her sleep in my room, but need her in the uncarpeted whelping area at night in case labour begins while I sleep - or in this case, toss and turn in my bed. Lucy approves of the new configuration and I go back to sleep as she settles on a blanket right by the babygate.
3:30 AM: I am awakened to the click-click-click of dog nails on laminate. I know it is Sadie - somehow Sadie always manages to walk on the slim border of laminate in the hallway instead of the rug that runs down its centre. I hear her paw at the mudroom babygate, and then turn to give my bedroom door, which is ajar, a nudge with her big black nose. She is thirsty, and my redesigning Lucy's space has cut her off from the water dish. I stumble to the kitchen, grab another bowl, and give her a drink. I return to bed and drift back to sleep.
4:00 AM: I am rudely awakened by a furry feline jumping onto my legs and walking up and down them, meowing loudly, claws extended. My light coverings offer no protection. Usually Allie sleeps just beside my legs on the bed, but my nighttime capers with the dogs have disturbed her too many times so she figures she (and therefore I) may just as well get up and have breakfast. I shove her from me, hiss at her to go back to sleep, and try to return to dreamland. She won't starve - there is always a bowl of her kibble on the top of the buffet, but she is more interested in her morning ritual of a couple of Temptations and a spoonful of canned food. We go through this dance three times before she finally gives in and saunters away.
5:30 AM: I have been tossing and turning and unable to get back to sleep. I am thinking of solutions to the x-pen problem - configuring in my mind a 2x4 frame to hold it in place. My hip is aching, I can hear Lucy beginning to move about in the mudroom, and the cat has returned to check out my eyeballs. I give up and get up. I feed the cat, take the dogs outside, give the dogs a treat, and put on the coffee.
6:30 AM: A pot of coffee later, I am now wide awake. I look around me. Three dogs sound asleep near my feet, two of them snoring loudly. One cat on my lap, also sleeping contentedly. Such is life. Sometimes it is just not fair.