Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Sleep Wanted


Before his haircut… clearly, it was time.


Every once in awhile, one of my friends talks about how their child didn’t sleep through the night until he or she was four months old and it nearly killed them.  Like, the parents in this situation nearly died because they were so tired.


I am so jealous of them.  When I think of the things I could do if only I could get enough sleep…


photo 3 (99) Riding at Grandma’s


A couple of weeks ago, after YEARS of sustained sleep deprivation, I texted Tony at about 5:15 PM, begging him to come home from work so I could take a nap.  I did, then I got up around 7 and ate dinner, then went back to bed around 9 and slept until 9 the next morning, except for the three times I had to get up in the middle of the night to nurse Freddie.



Sure, HE gets plenty of naps.


Yes, he’s still nursing.  All night long.




You know, most people get over the “baby brain” thing when their children start sleeping through the night.  It’s no wonder I’m such a scatterbrain all the time; I’ve had “pregnancy brain” or “baby brain” for over 7 straight years.


photo 3 (100)


It’s a damn good thing that my children are so cute and lovable because mine are trying to fucking BREAK me.  A day in the hospital?  A tantrum about wanting to eat “two halves” of a banana instead of a whole banana?  Climbing onto the chair and rocking until it falls over every time I turn around?  We’ve got it all in this madhouse.


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Especially the climbing, both on and in things.  Climbing everywhere.




I shouldn’t complain.  I mean, just look at these cute boys:


three boys


But I sure would like a little more time to read, maybe even relaxingly enjoy some free time, instead of falling onto the couch in an end-of-day stupor, unable to focus on, well, anything.




I try to imagine my life in a few years, when Freddie is finally sleeping through the night and I have all three children in school.  I can’t, though, because other than on a few isolated vacations, I haven’t had a full-night’s sleep in so long that I can’t accurately predict what that will feel like.  I could be a totally different person!  Maybe, underneath these under-eye circles, I’m the type of person who does the NYT crossword every day!  Or someone who learns to play the piano in her 40s!  Or someone who has time to do volunteer work at the humane society!  Or someone who learns a third language!  Or someone who gardens seriously!


In all likelihood, behind the sleep deprivation is a mom whose voice is a little less shrill, whose patience is a little more consistent, and whose car is a little less dirty inside.  Only time will tell, but I have to live that long, first.

Friday, September 25, 2015

The Worst Kind of Rush

My train derailed at 8:42 yesterday morning.  That was when Charles suddenly started wailing, and I mean wailing, about a tummy ache.


I did the normal mom things (have him drink a glass of water, have him try to go poop), but Charles went from zero to doubled over in excruciating pain in about three minutes.  By 8:45, we were headed to the Emergency Room.  Charles couldn’t walk, so I carried him, all 68 pounds of him, from the couch to the car and the car to the ER, his shoes in my purse.  He screamed like I did when I gave birth.  His hair was sweaty.  He writhed in pain.


Charles Hospital


I thought, for sure, that we were headed for surgery.  Appendicitis?  Bowel obstruction?  Testicular torsion?  The doctors didn’t know either.  After pain and anti-nausea medications were administered via IV, he began the rounds of testing: blood, urine, x-ray, ultrasound, and finally, a CT scan.


I spent six hours alternately praying that he would be okay, holding back tears as I watched him struggle against the pain, and reading Voyage of the Dawn Treader when he was awake (I was hoarse after a couple of hours).


Charles Hospital 2


At 2:45, we got the results of all the testing: mesenteric adenitis, an inflammation of the intestinal lymph nodes most likely related to constipation.  We were instructed to treat the constipation aggressively and the adenitis with pain medication.


The doctor looked at me, somewhat worse for the wear after six hours of adrenaline and anxiety, and stated the obvious because I clearly hadn’t internalized the results yet: “This is a good thing: no surgery.”


The relief was profound.  I left the hospital in a daze.  Charles was able to walk out.  He hadn’t eaten all day and he said he was hungry.  I administered my first ever (and his first ever) suppository and I was still so shell-shocked from the day and the fact that I wasn’t wringing my hands while my baby underwent surgery that I didn’t even bat an eye.


He’s mostly fine now.  I, however, have an adrenaline hangover. 


That’s a real thing, you know, an adrenaline hangover.  I treated it with a giant glass of wine and an early bedtime.  Tony treated it by tending to Freddie in the middle of the night so I could sleep.


Today, I’m simply grateful.  Grateful for the first-class hospital and the first-rate doctors and nurses and other medical staff.  Grateful to God that my child doesn’t have to have surgery.  Grateful for the continued health of my family. 


No surgery.  Those are beautiful words. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The OTHER Response

Sometimes, when the kids talk to me, I have an entirely different conversation with them in my head than what I actually say.




Charles: Mom, what’s that?


Me (what I wanted to say): That’s a type of French cheese called brie, and it is a great demonstration of the virtue of patience.  I bought this round of brie six weeks ago and I have resisted the urge to sample it until now because I knew it needed to ripen in the refrigerator.  See the orange-y tint under the rind?  See the gooey center?  Smell the subtle bouquet?  Taste the complex flavor?  None of that would have been possible if I had been impatient and consumed it a month ago or even ten days ago.  But now!  Oh, how glorious!

Me (what I actually said): That’s a type of French cheese called brie.


Jamie: I want to try it!


Me: Charles, do you want some, too?


Charles: No, it looks gross.


Jamie: I don’t like it.


Me: More for meeee!




Charles: But Mom!  It’s not fair!


Me (what I wanted to say): No, Charles, what’s not fair is the ENORMOUS amount of time I spend reminding you to complete normal daily operations, like getting dressed, brushing your teeth, and putting on shoes before school.  What’s not fair is that you complain about what I make for dinner every. single. night. without fail.  What’s not fair is that I still experience teenage-level acne as a 34-year-old adult.  What’s not fair is that chocolate and wine have calories.


Me (what I actually said): Charles, this is fair.  You made a poor choice, you deal with the consequences.




Charles:  Mom!  I’m bleeding!  There’s blood on my hand!


Me: Where?


Charles: Right here!


Me, barely noticing his tiny wound, a pinprick of blood on the palm of his hand: Oh, no!  Charles is bleeding!  SO MUCH BLOOD!  Call the newspaper!  Call the doctor!  Call the President!


Charles: Mo-om…


Me (what I wanted to say): Honey, I’m on the second day of my period, and it’s like Carrie at the fucking prom up in here.  You have no idea what bleeding is.

Me (what I actually said): Honey, you’re fine.  You don’t even need a bandaid.  Go play.

Friday, September 4, 2015

I Shouldn’t Be Surprised

You know how there’s always that one idiot friend in college who, love her though you do, is always doing stupid shit when she’s drunk?  Not, like, dangerous stupid, but potentially dangerous stupid and just plain make-sure-the-sober-sister-watches-out-for-her stupid.  It’s the girl who insists on insists on attempting feats of skill and strength while inebriated, such as climbing a giant metal sculpture of a horse.  It’s the friend who thinks she’s an amazing dancer (she’s not) and persists on loudly singing her own tune while dancing in the middle of a residential street at 2 am, despite her friends’ attempts to shush her.  It’s the girl who convinces everyone that it is a wonderful idea for someone else to push her around campus in a shopping cart while wearing a motorcycle helmet she found in a res hall storage room.  It’s the friend who thinks she’s hilarious and sneaky when she finds some poor child’s abandoned sidewalk chalk while walking home from a party and proceeds to tag the sidewalk the entire 1/2 mile walk home with illegible Strongbad quotes and sorority symbols.  It’s the friend who wants to make pancakes while totally sauced and begins by placing a bag of flour on a hot burner.*


Toddlers are like that drunk friend (except, of course, that they’re not drunk).  They throw food on the floor.  They are loud at the most inappropriate of times.  And they cannot resist doing stupid shit.



All done, so I’ll throw it on the floor!


Freddie, in particular, likes to stand or sit in things.  Buckets, boxes, bowls… Things with the potential for “in” hold a powerful attraction for that boy and, consequently, I am always pulling him out of the dog dishes or the plants or the toy box.


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The real reason he goes through so many clothing changes each day




And then there’s the stove and any cupboard, but especially those with harmful chemicals, that any of us have been stupid enough to leave open.  He climbs in, on, and over anything and he will do it repeatedly and with gusto if he is told “no.”  Especially if he is told “no.”



I know you said it was hot; I just want to see!


Of course, Freddie has two excellent examples of ridiculous behavior with no attention to consequences.



There was a dirt pile – no other reason necessary.


You think you have escaped the drunk friend when you leave college, but really, she just lives on in her children.  Of course, this time, I’m dealing with them, instead of someone else dealing with me.


photo (42)

Right before he decided to throw all of the cereal in his bowl at the dog.


*Only one of the “friends” in the anecdotes above was not me.