Testing the Limits of Sleep Deprivation

(With apologies to ClumberKim, who coined that term long before I did.)

I’m there. At my limit. I’ve hit the wall, and I now I just stand leaning into it wondering if I am still and quiet enough I will fall asleep because even standing with my cheek pressed up against this theoretical smooth, cool wall and sleeping is preferable to dragging ass and tension headaches.

When a coworker pointed out this story about sleep-deprived new parents on NPR, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. I probably opted for the former, albeit ruefully. Because, really, it’s just embarrassing to cry at work.

But when I popped awake at 1:30 last night I wasn’t laughing.

Michael has had his sleeping ups and downs, and last week was a lot of… up, in that he was up at night. Probably because of teething, probably because he’s getting ready for a big developmental leap — which on the third morning of 1:30 a.m. wake up calls I was thinking had better be LEARNING TO FLY because OMG TEH TIRED.

But Michael waking up because of teething or learning to fly or separation anxiety or whatever is to be expected. He’s (nearly, only) 9 months old.

What is harder — actually, two things that are harder: Popping awake for NO reason and not being able to pop back to sleep, and the 4-year-old having bad dreams and coming to bed with us. Which is now going on two weeks in a row.

My nights were looking like this: Go to bed at 10:30, be woken by Michael at 1:30 a.m., get him back to sleep by 2-2:30 a.m., be woken by Kate climbing in bed at 4 a.m., at which point getting back to sleep is a crap shoot. Although I was usually successful only because OMG TEH TIRED.

And now they are looking more like: wake up for no good reason, get invaded by the little person with bad dreams AND separation anxiety, and not be able to sleep because said little person snores, thrashes, and/or cries.

So again: I have to reclaim my bed. Which is hard to do when I’m worried that a certain 4-year-old is going to wake up the household with her crying, and when my husband — who likes sleep even more than I do if that is possible — just wants to keep going along the path of least resistance.

The path of least resistance isn’t working, not for me, not anymore, and the it’s showing in the rest of my life. Plus, Kate has become impervious to the bribe. What is the bribe of a new Zuzu Puppy in the face of bad dreams in the middle of the night and the warm bodies and protection of Mommy and Daddy.

Which, I see her point. But I still kind of want to lock my bedroom door, because, and I know I’ve said this: OMG TEH TIRED.

Conversations with Kate


“I am making a spider trap. I have to use your bloss*, mommy, sorry. I’ll give it back when I’m done.”

“Do you know why I want to catch a spider, mommy?” No, Kate, why? “Because they are very pretty, and good pets. They have black and white stripes. Well, some of them.”

“There are many different kinds of spiders. There are stingy ones….” And ones that make webs. “Right! Webby ones. Webby spiders and stingy spiders. And that’s all I can think of.”

*bloss = floss



“When I have a puppy, you can’t make me get rid of it. And when I have a puppy, I will feed it and give it water and scoop its poop. And then it will be a dog.

“And when my dog lays an egg…” [silence] “When my dog lays a puppy, I will keep the puppy and you can’t make me get rid of it.”


Remember that time?

“Remember dat time Daddy slowed down and that lady killed that animal?” Yes, Kate. “What was it again?” A groundhog. “Yeah. Daddy slowed his car down, but that lady was in a hurry, and pushed Daddy’s car with her car, and he runned over the groundhog, and it died.”**

**What actually happened: We were on an on-ramp to 79S, and a groundhog was crossing it. Dan slowed down to let it go, and a woman behind him blew by us on the shoulder, killing the groundhog. Dan was pissed.

“Remember dat time we went to dat house with the hamster?” Guinea pig. “Yeah, dat, and it bit Flora? It was just getting to know her!”

“Remember dat time we saw Nonna and Pap-pap?” Up in Erie or at home? “No, dat other place. Remember dat?” Seven Springs? “Yeah, dat. And I shot the rainbow boat?” Yes, I remember that. You won all those tickets. “Yeah. Dat was a great time.”


Hey, Kate, remember that time you ran to me crying, after your preschool orientation? And you couldn’t tell me what was wrong? “I’m just tired,” you said, if you said anything — which, you admitting you are tired is unheard of. And you sat on my lap on the couch, crying and crying, insisting you were tired? And after a good night of sleep (some of it in my bed), you were happy and smiling again, and I said I was glad? And you said, “I was really tired.” And then you looked off to the side, and then back to me again, and you said, “And I was scared. I didn’t know where you were.” And I gave you a big hug?

I am always there, darling. I know I had to stand in line to give your teacher something, and you didn’t see me right away when all the other parents were getting their kids. But I wouldn’t leave you, sweetie. I’m sorry you got scared.

Tell me some more about puppies.

Random Thoughts: The BTS Edition

Sunday: Flora lost her top front right tooth. Thank goodness because it’s been loose forever, and she’s been whinging about it. She figured it was worth $5 or $10, but the Tooth Fairy appraised it at $1. I blame the economy.

Monday morning, I took Flora to her new school at 7 a.m. to pick up a school jumper. I thought there was a uniform exchange going on, but as I was the only parent in evidence, maybe I got my dates or times wrong. News flash: IT WON’T BE THE LAST TIME! Two teachers let me in, showed me the rack of gently used uniforms, and I picked up a jumper and a white polo shirt. So, she’s got something to wear the first day.

Everything else I ordered from Kohl’s.

Tuesday: She lost another tooth at daycare, this one on the bottom left. I didn’t even know that one was so loose!

That evening was Flora’s “Meet and Greet” at school. I had to take all the kids, but it all worked out… until the last five minutes. Also: it was hard hauling around a 20-pound infant with a diaper bag and a purse. That may have been poor planning. Then I let the girls play on the playground while I packed The Boy and His Gear into the car. When I called to them, Flora came, but Kate did not. Hence the count downs, the explanation of consequences (no night time show, no night time treat), and then the dragging to the car kicking and screaming. An hour-long tantrum ensued.

Good times.

Wednesday. Oh wait, Wednesday I don’t have anything going on! Except the usual. So: dinner, clean up, bath, bed. I’m going to stay up filling out school-related paperwork, for both Flora and Kate.

Thursday: Flora’s first day of school. For future reference, the first day of school and my period are not allowed to happen in the same week ever again. #hormones #emotional

On Monday morning, she looked so *small* walking though the hallways of her new school. Maybe with other kids her age around her, she won’t look so tiny.

The heart cramps. Or something. There is this weird feeling that happens — to me, to parents in general? — when we watch our kids growing away from us. I can’t speak to every parent, obviously, but while we are essentially raising our children to do exactly that — grow away from us — it … pulls. tugs. hurts in an undefinable way.

I’ve said similar things here (and elsewhere) before: I am glad they are growing up, becoming more independent, etc., etc. I am not one to lament the maturing of my children. But it does cause an interesting, indefinable sensation that is not altogether pleasant around my heart. Some combination of pride in them, ache for their small selves that used to be, and hope/fear for the future, theirs and mine (as a mother).

And, yeah, I get a little teary-eyed, too.

So, there’s that.

Thursday night: Kate’s orientation at her preschool, which is at her once-and-future daycare, but still a requirement. We were specifically asked to leave our other children at home, so: a babysitter. Argh. I hire a babysitter too often lately it seems to me.

Friday: Off to the Podcamp Pittsburgh panel meet-up! (A few more details here. I’ve really no idea what I’m doing, but learning is fun! A little BTS flavor in my own grown-up life, I suppose.)

And then the weekend will bring more cleaning, cooking, and shopping than can possibly fit into two days, but which will get done in two days because that’s all we got. And what doesn’t fit won’t get done, and we’ll start all over in a different way on Monday. Yippee!

Repost: Public Service Announcement II

(I am reposting this because. Because I am right here again, and I am tired, and I am even moreso *right here* with three children and a full-time-outside-the-home-job and a house exploding with stuff and back-to-school events. My household is overwhelmed and understaffed, and I am… having some problems dealing with it.)

Dear Husbands:

Psst. Your wife is mad at you. Especially if you have children.

It’s okay. Or it can be okay.

Do you know what your wife wants? Of course you don’t — that’s why she’s mad at you! And yes, she wants some things that you just don’t feel like doing, it’s true. But you will be amazed at how little “extra” you have to do.

Here are some things you can do — right now, today! — that will help your wife be less angry at you:

Four simple words: “How can I help?” Ask your wife this tonight after dinner. Really listen to her answer. She wants you to clean up the kitchen? Just do it. Or would she rather you bathe the children? Just do it. And do it all on your own, the first time she asks you. Your wife doesn’t want to be a nag, but if she asks you to do something and you say, “Okay, I’ll do that” and then start surfing YouTube on your computer, she’s going to have to ask you again. And possibly again, and then you will say, “I said I would do it! Stop nagging me” and then her head will explode.

Take care of the kids. No, really. You should have some basic knowledge of how to take care of the children. And, truly, I mean basic. Have a rough idea of their schedules. Know when they eat meals and/or snacks; have a clue about what they like or dislike. Know where their clothes are and how to dress the children appropriately. Do the bath thing, start to finish, once a week. Put them to bed — yes, both (or more) of them, if applicable. Let your wife clean up the kitchen uninterrupted and then sit down a read a book. We will understand if it’s not every night. And we’re not asking you to remember the doctor appointments or school details. Basic.

Let her sleep in. Some couples I know divide the weekend: He sleeps in Saturday; she sleeps in Sunday, or vice versa. In short, though, even if you can only do it once a month or so: get up with the children, and don’t let them wake her up. Let her loll in bed until 8:30 or 9 a.m. If you sleep in more often (be honest, guys), then give her a break.

Figure out how to give your wife some uninterrupted time. I don’t know if you know how many times your wife is interrupted in the course of her life with the children. If they are awake, be assured that they are interrupting her. Roughly every 30 seconds (this gets better as they get older, or so I hear). She is constantly turning away from whatever she happens to be doing (cooking dinner, cleaning, laundry, even trying to read a magazine or going to the bathroom) to “deal with” the children. Even if it’s to look at something they want her to see or stopping to say “hi” to the toddler who has run into the room for the umpteenth time yelling, “Hi, Mommy!”, it’s getting on her nerves a little bit.

There are two ways your wife wants uninterrupted time: She wants it out of the house, and she wants it in the house.

Give your wife a few hours — or even a day — off. Encourage her to leave the house. Don’t ask what she is going to do. Don’t ask when she is coming home. Don’t call her cell phone to ask her when or what to feed the children, or if they need baths, or what time they go to bed. This time alone, I almost guarantee, will pay dividends. Doesn’t have to be every weekend. Once a month, though? Would rock.

Give your wife a few hours around the house without the children underfoot. You know that really messy room you’ve been complaining about? Or have you noticed that the kitchen floor hasn’t been mopped in a while? Are boxes of things she means to donate piling up? Quit bugging her about it. She wants to deal with it, she really does. Some days it’s hard enough cleaning up the mess from that day, let alone getting to things that have accumulated. Disappear with the kids for a few hours. Take the children to the mall or the Children’s Museum, or to the zoo, or to a movie. Treat them to lunch at a restaurant. Give your wife a few hours in the house alone. That room, that floor, those boxes, will probably be taken care of. Really. It’s bugging her too.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Well why doesn’t she just tell me this stuff?” There are a few possible reasons that your wife hasn’t mentioned how upset she is:

First, it’s possible that she simply cannot believe that you don’t know what needs to be done around the house and/or with the children. She thinks that you will wake up, and start doing that little bit more — putting your socks in the hamper, carrying that basket of laundry upstairs, bathing the children. She hasn’t said anything because she doesn’t think she needs to say anything.

Second, she assumes that it is her role to do “everything” and since you work full-time (you do work full-time, right?), you deserve a break today. This is very sweet of her, of course, but here’s the thing. It’s not helping her be less angry. And when she snaps — and she will lose it sooner or later, sooner if she also works outside of the home — and throws something at your head, don’t tell me I didn’t warn you.

I know, I know, she doesn’t do everything. But that’s how she feels. So help her out a little bit.

Third, she has told you. She has asked you. And you either haven’t really heard her, or after agreeing to do certain things at certain times or on certain days, you haven’t followed through.

No, your wife is not perfect. And yes, she could possibly manage her time a little better, too.

Here’s another a big, important point: Your wife doesn’t want to be angry with you. She didn’t get here alone, but she feels alone — and angry, right now. Be her partner; help her out. She didn’t marry your and have children on a whim. She loves you.

Addendum: Here are some other thoughts. Seriously consider hiring a cleaning service, because your wife wants to actually be with her kids more than she wants clean toilets. Obviously. Don’t tell your wife she has to make sacrifices, because she has sacrificed a lot for you and this family, buddy — starting with her body and ending with her sanity — and she’s simply not giving up more. And if you are already doing a lot of this stuff, she’s probably not mad, but if you started doing some of this stuff and then stopped — she’s even more pissed. Just sayin’.

Memory Lane: Fear of the Dark

Kate goes back and forth about sleeping in her own bed. She usually wants to fall asleep with Flora in Flora’s bed. At one point, a bribe worked (seven days in a row in her own bed = new toy of her choice!), but it’s not working this time around.

At another point, she said she was scared of our bedroom door. The door was recently installed, and up until that point, Dan and I hadn’t had a bedroom door (DO NOT ASK).

I was puzzled at first. “You’re scared of our door?” I asked Kate.

“I’m afraid when it’s open,” she said.

I looked across the hallway from Kate’s bed. Our bedroom door was open a little bit, and our room was dark. From Kate’s bed it looked like a slice of pitch blackness.

I saw her point. Anything could be lurking back there.

“How about if I close the door?” I gently suggested.

The relief that showed on her face broke my heart a little bit. “Okay, Mommy. I’ll sleep in my bed if you shut your door.” Which I now do every night before the girls go to bed.

But last night, she again balked at sleeping in her bed.

“I’m afraid of what’s behind me,” she told me.

I was sitting on her bed. “Well, one way Flora is behind you in her bed. And the other way is your dresser and the wall.”

She whispered, “I’m afraid of what’s behind my bed.”

I whispered back, “What do you mean, baby girl?”

“I’m afraid something is going to raise up. From, like, under my bed. And scare me.”

I was utterly speechless. This was such an exact echo of my own fears of the dark as a child, I didn’t know what to do or say.


When I was a kid, I was afraid of the dark, too. I was an extremely imaginative child — today’s most redundant phrase — and I could come up with all kinds of scary stuff in my head. Shadows from outside were actually monsters; the boogie man lived in my closet (of course!), and things lurked under my bed. If I wasn’t vigilant, they would poke up their heads (or tentacles), and when I turned over and opened my eyes, they would scare me — then eat me. Of course.

The solution was to leave the hallway light on. As every child knows, light is anathema to creatures of the dark. They can’t come out from their lairs if the light is on. Simple.

I also, like many a child before me, convinced myself that as long as my blanket was pulled up to my neck, I was invulnerable to being touched by any creepy crawlies. This didn’t wholly solve the problem of being scared by jack-in-the-box boogie men from the side of my bed, but that was what the light was for.

I eventually, as a teenager, got over my fears of the dark. (Not, however, of my fear of closet doors that are open at night. That’s a post for another day. I blame Stephen King.)


And now here is my 4-year-old daughter in that boat.

Last night, I just hugged her. I didn’t try to reason that “monsters aren’t real”, that the dark isn’t hiding any creepy crawlies. That wouldn’t have worked on me as a child.

The girls already sleep with multiple night lights (an angel night light, an LED alarm clock, the bathroom light) — although in an interesting twist, Flora has decided she’s not afraid of the dark any more, so she wants everything (except the clock, which changes colors) turned off.

Because of Kate’s continued fears, I have not done that.

I hesitate to tell Kate about her magic blanket. It seems that saying something like, “But if you pull you blankets up around you when you sleep, nothing can get you!” would only confirm her hypothesis that MONSTERS ARE REAL! That there IS something to fear from under her bed or behind my bedroom door.

I’m not sure what to do next, if there is anything to do next. We’ve experimented with “angel spray” with mixed results. We talk about good things to dream about (pink and purple ponies or puppies lead the list) as i am putting them to bed. We have a faithful routine to which we stick. And we assure both girls that they are safe, in our house, in their room, in their own beds. I check on them a couple of times until I go to bed, and I always, right before I go to bed, go into their rooms, tuck the blankets around them a little tighter, and kiss them on the cheeks. It’s one of my favorite times of the day.

Is this anything else I can do to help Kate? Or just continue to reassure her until she, too, outgrows her fear of the dark?

Meatless Monday: To-MA-to, To-MAH-to

I have a lot of tomatoes. Fresh, farm and garden grown (not my own garden, unfortunately).

I will confess here: I am a complete tomato snob. If I cannot trace a tomato directly to the farm or garden from which it came, I don’t buy it or use it. All my tomatoes come from my CSA, acquaintances’ or my neighbor’s gardens, and farmers markets. I get my tomatoes at the peak of tomato season in the summer, and then I’m done — done — with tomatoes for the rest of the year.

Because those red things in the grocery stores in December? Those are not tomatoes. (And, no, I have not read TomatoLand, about which I am curious, but I’m not sure given the way I already feel about winter “tomatoes” I should read it. Yea or nay?)

I made gazpacho on Saturday, and I cut up a bunch more to garnish our soft tacos with for dinner that night, and I still have a lot of tomatoes.

The gazpacho is delicious, though.

I have two more tomato recipes to get to this week, but first:

(adapted from allrecipes.com)

4 cups tomato juice (divided)
1/2 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 cups chopped tomatoes
1 green onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dried mustard*
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon white sugar
salt and pepper to taste

In a blender or food processor, combine 2 cups of tomato juice with all the other ingredients, and pulse until well-combined, but still chunky. Transfer into large bowl (I used a big Tupperware container), add 2 more cups of tomato juice, and use an immersion blender on low to blend.

*the original recipe calls for tarragon, but I didn’t have any, so I subbed dried mustard. The OR also called for parsley, but I didn’t have that, either, and just skipped it. Still completely delicious, and it’s going to be part of my dinner for the rest of my week!


The next recipe is my favorite tomato recipe EVER — EVER. It’s from Smitten Kitchen, and the link from my blog to the recipe at Smitten Kitchen is here, but I’ve reproduced it below, and if you love tomatoes and have a lot of them, run to your kitchen — yes, RUN — and make this right now. Seriously I have been waiting for my CSA tomatoes all year just so I can make this, and I will sit up late eating it directly out of the Pyrex container with a spoon.

No, I’m not sharing. Go make your own.

Scalloped Tomatoes with Croutons
Adapted, only slightly, from Smitten Kitchen, who adapted it, only slightly, from Ina Garten

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups bread from a loaf of Italian or French bread (no crust; just tear the white into 1-inch pieces. If you like it pretty, you can cut it into 1-inch dice)
2 1/2 pounds tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice (in my experience, this is about 9 medium tomatoes)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup thinly slivered basil leaves, lightly packed
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high. Add the bread cubes and stir so that they are evenly coated with oil. Cook cubes, tossing frequently, until toasty on all sides, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine tomatoes, garlic, sugar, salt and pepper in a large bowl. When the bread cubes are toasted, add the tomato mixture and cook them together, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in the basil. Pour into a shallow (6 to 8 cup) baking dish and top with Parmesan cheese. Bake 35 to 40 minutes until the top is browned and the tomatoes are bubbly. Serve hot or warm.

And then for Thursday night’s Back To School picnic (which, WTH, BTS?), I want to make salsa. If you have a favorite recipe, leave it in the comments. If you have any other tomato recipes that are must-trys, send ’em my way. The tomatoes have just started rolling in, and I love them prepared just about any way possible.

You Have One Choice

Flora and I have been butting heads lately, and last night, we really went at it. I finally got fed up and gave her exactly what she wanted. And then she didn’t want it any more!

I had to work late last night, so my in-laws picked up the kids and gave them dinner. When I got home at 6 p.m., they fed me, too — thanks, in-laws! The kids got to watch a movie and got special night time treats (cupcake ice cream!).

Every request I made about … well, anything, was met with opposition. A stern no from Flora, crossed arms, pouty lips, stomping feet.

“Flora, clear the table.”
“NO.” *crossed arms*

“Flora, please pick up those books.”
“I’m not going to!”

“Flora, it’s time to go. Get your shoes on.”
“NO!” *stomp*

She did eventually do what I told her to, but it was ridiculous, the time it took for her to comply.

When we got home, I bathed Michael, and gave him a bottle. While I was giving him his bottle, I asked the girls to put their clean clothes away.

They know how to do this. They know it is expected of them. They know where their clothes go.

Unfortunately, because I was not right on top of them, haranguing them to “put the clothes away, already!” — I swear, chores that should take 10 to 15 minutes take an hour and a half, and I know they are only 6 and 4, but when do they just do a task from start to finish! — the clothes, they did not get put away. As a matter of fact, while I was down on the couch soothing Michael to sleep, several sobs and screams broke out in between the bouts of playing.

Finally, Michael was close enough to sleep to put in his crib (where he cried half-heartedly for about five minutes before he fell asleep), and it was time to bathe the girls. And this is pretty much where the yelling began.

“You girls didn’t put the clothes away.” *heavy sigh* “Well, it’s time for bath and bed.”
“Kate goes first.”
“No, Flora, tonight you go first.”
“No. I’m not going to”
“You will do what I say. Get in the bathroom.”
More pouting and stomping.
“Flora, get in the tub.”
“I’m tiiiiiired. It’s too late for bath time.”
Me, finally losing my shit: “FINE, GO TO BED.”
“I’ll take a bath! I’ll take a bath!” *broken hearted sobbing*

Flora did not get a bath. She tried over and over again to explain that she would take a bath “now”, and I explained over and over again that she would do WHAT I say to do, WHEN I say to do it, without the pouting, whining, and saying No.

Many books and magazine articles will advise, when you are faced with a truculent toddler who doesn’t want to to X, Y, or Z, to give said toddler choices. “Ask her if she wants her blue shoes or her red rain boots,” they will brightly chirp. “See if he would like applesauce or baby carrots!”

I’m calling bullshit. Here’s advice from the trenches: Do not give your toddler choices. The “book” advice is meant to give toddlers a “sense of control”.

Pro tip: Toddlers don’t have control — parents have control.

I started giving Flora choices as soon as she was able to point to tell me what she wanted. This clearly was a mistake. Because now I don’t seem to have control. And I cannot stand it. It makes nearly every interaction with Flora an exercise in negotiation, bribes, or threats.

Kate is going to get fewer choices from now on, and poor, poor Michael? Will get none.

What childhood “helpful advice” do you wish you had never taken? And do you think I’m doing the right thing, or should I try a different tact? I’m so tired of the opposition to Every.Little.Thing.

Vacation: 0, Sleepless Infant: 3

The vacation part of vacation was actually very fun: catching up with aunts, uncles, cousins, and second-cousins; seeing my sister and her fiance; attending/working at my sister’s wedding shower; letting my parents spend time with their grandchildren; staying up playing games and laughing our heads off. Of course, staying up late had consequences because Michael was not having it.

By “it” I mean sleeping through the night in a wholly unfamiliar place. Michael simply refused to do it. He wasn’t inconsolable; he didn’t scream his head off; and during the day he napped (under protest) and was generally very sweet and pleasant.

But he would go “to bed” at 9 or 10 p.m., and he would be up at 2 or 3 a.m., and he would not go back to sleep in his pack ‘n’ play (in a room with his sisters). He would doze off on me while I was reclining on a couch downstairs; he would sleep for a little while in bed with Dan and me. But if he fussed in our bed, I did go downstairs because there was no point in both Dan and me being incredibly sleep deprived. On Sunday morning at 3:30 a.m., Dan took Michael for an hour-and-a-half car ride so he would sleep and I could sleep, and when they got home at 5 a.m., he was right back up and I took over again.

I’m sure Michael’s perspective was something like this: “I don’t know where I am; I don’t know why I am in this room with my sisters. This place doesn’t smell like home; this place doesn’t sound like home. Who are all these people?* What is that thing that keeps licking my face when I’m on the floor?** You cannot honestly expect me to be able to soothe myself back to sleep in this state of anxiety, woman! Get in here and reassure me, stat.”

So, yeah. As per usual, “vacation” with kids isn’t really vacation. But interaction with most of my cousins, who now have tweens and teens (how did THAT happen?), gives me hope that someday I won’t have to schedule my “vacation” time around meals and naps, and I’ll be able to read a book while my kids splash in the pool as opposed to actually being in the pool with them myself. Someday, in other words, I will be able to balance vacation and “vacation”, and so I will probably continue to “vacation” with my extended family because it is totally worth it, especially when my Aunt J talks smack over Catch Phrase.


Other vacation notes:

My sister got a gift from our late Grandmother, a crocheted blanket. It was something Olympia must have planned nearly five years ago, and opening it and seeing the card (written by my mother in the voice of my grandma) was quite an emotional wallop. In a good way, but I went from zero to tears in under 60 seconds.

Michael perfected his wave good-bye to general praise and hilarity from the extended relatives. He also learned how to play “peek-a-boo” with me. I forgot how hysterical babies find peek-a-boo, and his belly laughs made me forgive his sleeplessness. Because baby belly laughs are the best.

When we got home Sunday, Michael crawled around with an ear-to-ear grin on his face. It could not have been more apparent that he was pleased to be back on familiar ground. Plus, he slept through the night.


*We shared a place with my parents, my sister and her fiance, and Dr. Sis’ dogs, plus we saw lots and lots of relatives whom Michael has never met. And nearly all of them wanted to hold him. This was a little difficult for him; Michael is just starting the “separation anxiety” phrase. He did his best, but if I was in sight, he wanted to be in my arms.

**That would be Roxy the Boston Terrier.


In the last 24 hours, this is what’s happened:

I took Michael to the pediatrician yesterday to definitely rule out an ear infection. He’s been increasingly fussy, and at meal time, downright sobs emerge from his little mouth. Also, not sleeping so well. Which, ugh.

Verdict: No ear infection, but probably a virus. The ped said his throat looked sore, which would certainly explain the mealtime meltdowns. A little Tylenol helps.

Around 6:30 last night, Michael bumped his mouth on a chair (his sisters were “playing” with him). Crying and bleeding ensued, of course, but I got something cold on it, and he settled down.

At 7:30, as I was getting him ready for bed, I noticed he still had some blood on his front tooth. I wiped it off, then watched as more blood oozed from under the gum onto his tooth.


Okay, so I figured I would have a talk with my absolutely fantastic pediatric dentist about it the following day (today, that would be). (I worry a lot about my kids’ teeth. I have my reasons.)

Packing, packing, packing.

At 1:30 this morning, I listened to Michael fuss and whine. The definition of suspense is waiting to see if pain will wake your baby up or if tiredness will win out.

Pain won. In my stumbling around with a baby that needed Tylenol and a bottle, I stubbed my toe on something.

Only, i didn’t just stub it: I cracked the nail right across the middle. I haven’t really examined it since I slathered neosporin on it and bandaged it up at 2 a.m. I don’t want to see it or deal with it, and I will put it off as long as possible. I have no doubt, however, that that nail is a lost cause.

I got to work early (7:15 a.m.). I left work at 9:30 a.m. to take Michael to the dentist. (Tooth is fine and whole; gum is bruised but okay. I’m supposed to keep him from biting on hard stuff. Uh, yeah.)

I paid DCL. I got a new driver’s license — in record time! I went back to work and ate lunch at my desk. Worked. Ordered contacts! Really and finally!

In the next 24 hours, Dan and I will: load up the car with our children and the stuff we need for a three-day weekend at Seven Springs (which, holy cats, it’s a lot of stuff); go out to eat; drive to Seven Springs. I will attempt to settle Michael to sleep in a strange place with no AC. Attend my sister’s wedding shower. Probably deal with my toenail at some point when the bandages come off in the pool. (I know: so gross.)

This is what it’s like. Some days, I find it very stressful and I don’t like it. Some days, I just do it because it needs to be done. But most every day, there are little rewards that I take and hoard like a magpie allegedly does with shiny stuff. Kate’s laughter; Flora’s inquisitiveness; Michael’s big ol’ drooly smile. The way each of my children look to me, reach out for me, crawl to me. Hugs and kisses from Dan, as well as other gifts. The laughter, the love. Did I mention the laughter? Some days, that is the best and only thing that gets me through.

What gets you through?