Sleep doesn’t really happen at all anywhere in there. Yet I don’t drink coffee. Well, I do. I drink decaf. Because I love coffee. The taste, the ritual, the warm mug. All that. (Also the leftover coffee you can make into iced coffee after lunch.) But the kids don’t sleep, so I don’t sleep, and I continue to view caffeine as the Monster Under the Bed who will pinch at their toes if I dare to take a sip.
Then, last week, Dave and I were having Yet Another Conversation about how I have all sorts of lovely intentions, but I never do any of them. That, at the end of the day, I wonder what I did at all. And that it makes me feel like a lame-o.
And the universe spoke. It said: DRINK COFFEE. DRINK REAL COFFEE, JULIE.
And I did! I did! And then I went crazy. I cleaned the house and challenged Dave to a game of basketball even though he’s a foot taller than me (I lost, but got a respectable number of baskets), and then we demolished part of our house! And now I speak only in exclamations!
What took me so long? Why didn’t anyone tell me, remind me, that coffee will make me less tired? That I might get more done?
Once upon a time, there was a tired baby. Or a cranky baby. Or whining baby. And she received the gift of a soft, floppy, lavender-filled bunny. And that bunny brought such immediate unmistakable relief to the baby. Something about this bunny, I tell you, resonates deeply with children. Ramona will be crying, and then, just to get the bunny in her hand, she will sigh deeply, suck on her finger, and lean contentedly on my shoulder.
Once upon a time, we went camping, and, somehow, while camping, we lost Sleepy Bunny. The following week was sad and tragic, as we searched and searched, and Ramona slept fitfully, always wanting Bunny. I had guilty visions of the poor bunny lost in the woods. And so dear Susan sent not one bunny, but TWO, and peace was restored. And then! We went camping again, and Dave got in his sleeping bag, and there was Bunny! So then we had three bunnies. And then Zuzu put on the sad puppy eyes and asked for a pink bunny, and Susan is so darned nice she found some pink flannel and made one up. So now we have four bunnies. Which is just the right number really, when you have a baby who calms and sleeps much easier when there’s a bunny in her arms (and when the bunnies have a habit of scooting under pillows and getting lost in the blankets).
For months I have been begging Susan to put the bunnies in her Etsy shop, because they’re such a great baby gift, and the tired babies of the world need their bunnies. And now she finally has! Go check it out!
What is Ramona doing these days? What, I ask you? There is something going on, something that is causing me to think in italics and causing her to give up sleeping, pretty much. Why, why was she awake from 9:30 p.m until 1:00 a.m., I ask you? Clapping. She spent the whole time laughing and clapping. And then only napped for an hour, and then didn’t go to sleep until 10:30 the next night? She is thinking about standing, and thinking about talking, and thinking about food, food, food. But are these reasons to stop sleeping? Not for me, they aren’t.
So here I am, exhausted. And here she is, exhausted, clearly. You’ll be happy to know that I managed to get her from this position into her crib for another paltry hour-long nap.
As we all know, Eli has a history of going full bore until he suddenly, and often dramatically, falls asleep. This was his latest. I didn’t see it happen, but it looked like he was standing near the couch, and then just sort of pitched forward into slumber.
But really, wouldn’t you be tired if you spent the rest of your day living life with this much gusto?
When I first read this book, I thought it was going to be one of those parental inside jokes that grownups find amusing but kids don’t really care about. It’s the story of a father putting his child to bed, and as he gets more weary and the child shows no signs of sleeping, the stories he reads get shorter and shorter, each one ending with the main characters going to bed. So, for instance, the sky falls on Henny Penny, she tries to find the king, finds the fox, gets tired, and immediately falls asleep. It ends with “Why did the chicken cross the road? To go to bed.”
I so, so related to all of this: the hysteria that sets in when your child has been “going to bed” for two hours, and the attempts at manipulating every word of every story and conversation so that it appears that everyone else in the universe is sleeping right now, just in case you happen to get any ideas, you know. (I remember once pouncing shriekily at my mom for starting to read Hey! Wake Up!to Henry after 6:00. “What are you doing?!? We only read sleepy stories at this time!” I was insane. Understandably so.)
Anyway, I was majorly wrong about the kids not liking this book. Apparently they’ve been paying attention, and they totally get the whole thing, and think it’s hilarious. The illustrations help, but really, the book is pretty funny. And yes, you’ll be glad to know that everyone is asleep at the end. Finally.
Last week we went on a road trip to Baltimore, the details of which I’ll unleash on you this week, with photos, as soon as I download all 3 million of them off of my camera. Dave had to go to a conference, so the rest of us tagged along. The final result being that I now have so much more appreciation of what Dave goes through when he travels for work. It’s not actually all the fun hotel-room luxuriousness that I had pictured. Dave often complains about hotel mattresses, and I didn’t really get it. Until now. We stayed in a fairly fancy hotel, but oh my gracious I am not sure I can accurately describe how ridiculously awful the mattresses were. And me, someone who’s always so tired she can sleep on concrete. But these were like army hammocks made of…of…I don’t know. Something soft and wimpy and uncomfortable. It was awful to want to lie down and rest after walking all over with Zuzu on my back, and the only place to lie down was the awful mattress. My back is still killing me (the situation wasn’t helped by the 12-hour car ride on the way back). Ugh. Plus, no matter how well you try to eat, eating out in restaurants is always going to be less healthy than the way we eat at home. I ate a lot of fruit and salad and fresh fish, but then, of course, crab cakes and such, which made my body start protesting in horror after a day or two. Work travel is not actually all peaceful solitude, like I thought.
We did hit some fantastic museums, had some great food, walked miles and miles, saw Dave’s parents, and wore ourselves out.
The best part: the garbage boat we saw on the first morning, with its big metal flippers that scooped the floating garbage onto a conveyer ramp that led to a big hopper. We were riveted.
The worst part: Henry announcing he was carsick 15 minutes after we left Baltimore to head back to Maine. I sacrificed a Barnes & Noble tote bag I’ve had for 20 years. This is what parenting is, in a nutshell: “Yeah, so I’ve had this thing since way before you were born, but good grief if you’re going to barf don’t do it on the seat of the car!”
I would love to write something pithy here, but I think I have to take the rest of the week off. First of all, we are still in the horrific aftershocks of whatever Fairpoint thinks it’s playing with this internet thing, but I barely have working email and my internet is ridiculously slow, especially After Kid Bedtime when I need it. Secondly, and more huge, Zuzu is doing some kind of week-long unsleeping dance and it’s driving me to chocolate like nobody’s business. She has been waking up and then not fully going back to sleep, so that then I lie there fully awake while she’s whimpering, just waiting for her to wake up more and start really crying, so I can go get her and start all over again. I am determined not to pull her into bed with me, as hard as it is, because that’s what I did with the boys and I am still paying the price (I’m all for the family bed, as long as everyone is sleeping and is not a crazy kicker like my kids).
Tuesday night I was so tired that when I went to get her when she woke up at 11:30, I fell asleep while nursing her, sitting in the wooden rocking chair in her room. Later, I woke up and put her in her crib and went back to bed. It was 5:00. Crazy. I slept for five-and-a-half hours in a wooden rocking chair that doesn’t even come up high enough for head support. My leg was so dead I had to drag it out of the room. I’m sure it’s going to turn blue and fall off any day now.
I don’t know if it’s the full moon or more teeth or the fact that she has got some kind of crazy huge poop in the works, but I am not functionable. I can’t even come up with decent real words, see. Snore.