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How the Geist family sleeps... or not

When your husband wakes up for work at 4 a.m., you get an extra dose of nighttime shenanigans from the kids. Christina Geist reports.
/ Source: TODAY

When Willie is greeted by a fan, 99 percent of the time they ask, “What time do you wake up?”

And then, “What time do you go to bed?”

The answer to both: Early. Really, really early!

Willie and I both usually check out around 10 p.m., and he wakes up around 4 a.m. Since we became parents to Lucie 9 years ago, and George 2 years later, we’ve had an unspoken pact: I’m responsible for anything related to kids in the night, and he’s responsible for getting himself to 30 Rock before Morning Joe goes on the air at 6 a.m.

Most of the time, we get it right.

Sometimes, we don’t.

Willie Geist and wife Christina with George and Lucie: never a dull moment.TODAY

Here are a few of those times:

Nuggets in the Moonlight

When George was 2-and-a-half, he said goodbye to his crib and hello to a big boy bed. In parenting hindsight, this may have been a little premature. One night, Willie was shocked to find our little guy standing in the living room in the dark, eating some chicken nuggets from a bag he’d grabbed out of the fridge. It was 4 a.m. Willie took a look at the situation, decided it did not warrant waking me up, escorted George back to bed, tucked him in (with the nuggets) and left for work. Let’s just say a “heads up” text would have helped when I woke up and found remnants of the nuggets in the bed and a discarded night diaper on the floor.

Will He Make It?

I have trained myself not to wake up when Willie wakes up. If my child needs me, I’m up. If it’s just my husband getting dressed in the dark and sneaking out the door like a ninja, I sleep through it. Unless that ninja snoozes a few times and pushes it to the point where I become a spectator in the “Will he make it?” game. There are days when I’m sure there is NO WAY he’s going to get to the studio on time. I turn on the TV when he runs out the door and wait to see if he does it. He always does. I usually send him a congratulatory text, turn off the TV, and go back to sleep until the first kid wakes up.

Christina Geist's new children's book, "Buddy's Bedtime Battery," is based in part on Christina and Willie Geist's experiences putting their own children to bed. Here, their little Ro-Buddy catches some Zzzzs.Courtesy Christina Geist

The Sleepwalk Shuffle

Willie is typically very, very quiet on his way out. (The ninja analogy is a good one.) But, there is a very distinctive “click” when a New York City apartment door closes. And, my kids sense that “click” in their sleep. Before long, a sneaky little sleepwalker can be found shuffling into my room, crawling into my bed, settling into Willie’s pillow, and shifting like a compass to a completely horizontal position with his or her feet nestled comfortably on top of my face.

And I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Awww, sisterly (and brotherly) love! Lucie and George Geist share a hug.Courtesy Christina Geist

Christina Geist is the author of "Buddy’s Bedtime Battery," a fresh and fun new picture book for the little sleepwalkers in your life. When she’s rested, Christina runs two companies: True Geist and Boombox Gifts. She and Willie met in 6th grade homeroom 30 years ago, and have been married for 13 years.