Saturday, February 21, 2015

Losing Sleep

What goes through my head every night the second the kids go to bed:

"Okay, now TONIGHT I am really exhausted. I swear I'll go to bed earlier tonight... unless I get engrossed in something online and Justin is watching something on TV. Who am I kidding, it's going to be 11:30 again, isn't it?"

How sad is it that 11:30 is TOO DARN LATE for me to be up? Well, to be fair it's been too late for...let's see, twelve years. Almost thirteen if you count when I was pregnant with my daughter, when I would fall into a coma by 8:00. But that was less of a choice than a physical mandate. And then once we had a finicky sleeper it was always, "I'm going to bed the second the baby does so I have a chance of getting a couple of decent hours of sleep because she's probably going to wake up twenty-seven times tonight oh God what have we done to our lives?" So obviously 11:30 was out of the question unless I had gone to bed at 9 and was up for the FIRST time (but never the last).

Not that I'm bitter or anything.

Actually, I've never liked losing sleep, so early bedtimes are not really a function of my age. When I went to slumber parties, the older girls would often threaten to play a prank on whoever fell asleep first. They spoke of freezing someone's bra or putting the victim's hand in warm water so they would wet the bed. Even though I wasn't even old enough to need a bra, this seemed as frightening as the other pranks. I willed myself to stay awake, and long after everyone else had conked out, I was too worked up to sleep. I remember watching the sunrise once.

Man, I could have frozen ALL their bras...if I'd been brave enough to locate them, which I wasn't.

Speaking of sleepovers, my daughter attended one with the girls from her youth group last night. I didn't ask how late they stayed up, but judging from my daughter's mood, it was pretty late. She never takes a nap after one of these shindigs, and she really should. (Yes, I've suggested it, but what 12-year-old girl listens to her parents about such things?) She had her last basketball game today at 4:00 and played well, but afterward she was completely wiped out. We went out to dinner and I picked the most popular place in town, because I am an idiot. We waited 40 minutes for our table, and the rest of us were hungry enough to start gnawing the tablecloth, when C started saying she didn't want to eat anything. She had barely eaten all day and run up and down the court for about 45 minutes. We said she had to eat something. She reacted like we'd just killed her puppy.

At first I was puzzled: why was my sweet, normally even-tempered girl slumped down in the booth, glaring at us with teary eyes?

Justin connected the dots to the sleepover. She was worn out.

It really was like a flashback to her toddler years: exhausted, defiant, determined not to give in even though it was what she needed most. Since it is not my first rodeo in this parenting gig, unlike her toddler years, I just amused myself mentally comparing the ways 12-year-olds and 2-year-olds are really not that different.

At least I don't have to change diapers any more, though. WINNING.

I didn't rage in despair as I might have back then. I calmly ordered her a quesadilla and told her she didn't have to eat it then but if she got hungry at home she could eat that instead of the potato chips or chocolate she likes to snack on (I may have said "junk." I'm not a perfect parent.)

She ended up eating almost all of the quesadilla and didn't cry anymore. Another win.

(Her compliance may have had something to do with the fact that we also said that if she didn't stop taking her rotten mood out on us, I would text her friend's mom and cancel the shopping trip planned for tomorrow. Magically the tears dried up. This is another reason I'd rather have a tween than a toddler. You can reason with a tween.)

I could go back to my theme of hating to lose sleep but suffice it to say that after my son was born I had PPD and the primary symptom was insomnia. In fact, whenever my lifelong anxiety and depression flares up, insomnia is right there with them. Fortunately it is under control right now and even though I claim I'm tired when I stay up too late, it is nothing like watching the sunrise when you've been up all night.


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

10 Memorable Childhood Books

Nicole wrote a post about 10 Memorable Childhood Books, and invited us to play along. Write about books YES PLEASE.

1. The Little House books. I can't choose between them. There are things I love in each book. I wanted to be Laura, although when I reread the books I mainly think what a hard life it must have been. Of course, now that we know that Pa made it quite a bit harder than it had to be, that casts quite a different light on the books, but I still learned a lot about a different time.

2. Little Women. Like everyone else, I loved Jo, cried when Beth died, and hated Amy. I took it personally that Laurie ended up with Amy. Jo was an idiot, I thought. Recently I read Mallory Ortberg's hilarious book Texts From Jane Eyre and the Little Women texts were some of my favorites.

3. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. I don't remember how old I was when I read the Narnia books, but I was definitely transported--or I wanted to be. I ached to go to Narnia. The Magicians series by Lev Grossman is an interesting take on what happens to the people who did get to go to their magic land. The main difference is that there is no Godlike benevolent lion to watch over them.

4. The Secret Garden. I read A Little Princess too, but it was this one that captured my imagination. I was oblivious to the racist undertones, or the Christian Scientist ideas of believing until you get better. I remember being a little annoyed by the dialect of Martha and Dickon, but not too much.

5. A Wrinkle in Time. This started me on a journey to read all of Madeleine L'Engle, but Wrinkle remains my favorite of her books. The characters of Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which are so delightful. As one reviewer on Goodreads put it, L'Engle doesn't write down to her young readers. She assumes they will be able to understand enough of the science she is using to follow along...and she's right.

6. Anne of Green Gables. As an adult, I'm actually not that much like Anne. I don't use comically big words or love nature. But when my husband and I were dating, my mother told my husband that if he wanted to understand me, he should watch the miniseries. I've been told I look like Megan Follows as Anne...or at least I did back then.

 I don't have any pictures of myself as a teenager at the moment so I guess you'll just have to take my word for it.

7. I am so unoriginal. Here's ANOTHER book that every woman my age has on her list. Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret informed so many of us about bras and periods (I too was mystified by the idea of a belt to attach the pad to; I've heard that the publishers have since updated the text.) Unlike Margaret, I wasn't a late bloomer, so I didn't experience her feeling of being left out, but I did relate to a lot of the book.

8. Anastasia Krupnik. The Anastasia books were just plain fun. I loved the list format and Anastasia's parents were great.

9. The Catcher in the Rye. My dad isn't a reader, but he loved this book. Since my tiny Christian school didn't have a good selection of literature, he took it upon himself to tell me to read this book. I remember being shocked that my dad, a pastor, had recommended a book with so many curse words, but I got over that and immersed myself in the story. Like many classics, the book has meant different things to me at different ages. At first I was like, "This is a teenage book and I will understand it better when I'm older." Then I thought Holden was the coolest. Then, when I was in college, I thought he was a whiny brat. Finally, in my late twenties, I realized he was grieving and it pierced my heart.

10. To Kill a Mockingbird. This is probably my choice for The Great American Novel. (I used to say The Great Gatsby, but my opinions have changed.) I think it's a work of genius and I should definitely reread it before they publish Go, Set a Watchman. I definitely don't think the second book will live up to Mockingbird--but what could?


Sunday, February 15, 2015

Busy Busy

Today was a busy day, as was yesterday. Two basketball games, one dinner with family, one church service, one birthday party. Well, when you put it like THAT, it sounds much easier to manage. And it was manageable; I just like to have longer resting periods in between bouts of activity.

Both kids' teams won their games, so that was nice. L had been having stomach pains the night before, so we questioned whether he should play, but he wanted to. And promptly went out there and scored 20 points, so there. C and her best school friend had petitioned to be on the same team, and the coaches let them, and they lit up the court. C has gotten over her timidity and is handling the ball well. Between the two of them, they had so many steals I lost count. She can now do a very nice layup as well.

Nobody is more surprised than I am when my children perform well athletically.

On Saturday night we were finally able to meet up with my brother and SIL--oh, stop pretending, we were really just wanting to see my nephew. He is everything a one-month-old should be. Super snuggly and just perfect in every way. C loved giving him a bottle and did much better than I would have at her age. L is too shy to hold the baby but pronounces him "very cute."

Justin stayed home all day yesterday and today because whatever upper-respiratory illness he has is proving resistant to any of the medication he got from the doctor. It's been three weeks and he's pretty tired of coughing.

This afternoon I took the girl to a friend's skating party, and jeez Louise, was it loud and crowded in there. I was getting pretty edgy because crowds make me nervous, until we were able to go to the reserved table, and then I was okay because no giant teenagers were in danger of rolling over my foot as I tried to flatten myself against a row of lockers.

While we were gone, the cause of L's stomach pains revealed itself: he threw up twice. And I missed it! Good job, Mom. But he managed to make it from the living room couch to the bathroom without getting barf on anything. What a guy. I still count it as one of my finest moments in parenting when I deliberately moved my body to catch my son's barf on my chest because I clean up more easily than a couch. As sad as it is that such days are gone, I can't say I will miss them. As far as future barf cleanup, we'll see what the night brings.