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.