Some make you laugh; some make you cry; some make a vow of celibacy sound like a really good time.
I read one the other day about how mothers just can't manage a shower. This mother has a ten-month-old (?) and can't get the five to seven minutes it would take to rinse, wash, and towel off. She and her husband don't flush the toilet after 7:00 because they don't want to wake the baby.
And I think to myself, "Puh-lease!"
Then I realize I didn't get a shower yesterday.
Now, I'm certainly not blaming my slovenliness on my children. No, the blame rests squarely on the Boy Scouts of America whose inspiration resulted in seventy-two pounds of damp, noxious gear encrusted with the red earth of Georgia all entering my house sometime Saturday afternoon.Which is all a long-winded way of saying I worked my tail off yesterday.
The attic is stuffed once more, the house looks pretty darn good, but I'm a mess.
But let's forget about the Boy Scouts and get back to motherhood.
I am convinced that God gave me the combination of kids I have and gave them in the order in which they arrived so that I could learn one essential life lesson: humility.
If Kolbe had been my first, I would have said, "What do you mean the baby doesn't sleep?You nurse, you rock, you put baby in the crib . . . and you greet baby the next morning."
But Kolbe was not my first. Tim was my first, and he never slept. Okay, never is a bit of an absolute. Twenty minutes was a "good nap." He cried a lot. He wanted to be held all the time. He eschewed pacifiers, avoided the swing, tolerated the bouncy chair, but mostly wanted me and only me.
Getting a shower was a challenge. While Dave and I routinely flushed at will, I clearly remember the night I needed to go the other end of the house which required a very risky maneuver -- walking past Tim's room. I went out the back door, walked around the house, and knocked on the front door so that Dave could let me in. I wasn't walking past his room.
I remember the night Tim finally conked out. Two teenagers decided to tie their dog to a little red wagon. The dog came yelping up my driveway and woke Tim up.
I'm lucky I didn't wind up on probation.
I remember another night the long battle to La La Land had been fought and won when a neighbor of mine banged on my door (at 10:00 p.m.!) and woke him up. The neighbor heard shrieking, looked at me with amazement, and asked, "Does he cry like this every night?"
To this unidentified neighbor: I have forgiven you. It's taken thirteen years, but I'm totally past it. Really, I am.
Sleep deprivation is tough, tough, tough, and no one expresses this better than the hilarious Simcha Fisher who writes about her little daughter's sleep habits:
Basically, she was sleeping through the night, I would say.
For as much as two hours at a stretch, all through the night.
I couldn’t make toast without consulting the recipe. I would try and start the car when it was already running. I would use “thing” to substitute not only for nouns, but for any part of speech, as in: “Could you please thing this thing in the other thing over there? Yes, you. You Thing, with the red thing on.” And of course I lost things — school books, hot cups of coffee, children ... you know, things. I spent a good half hour hunting for a misplaced bag of parsley, which couldn’t have roamed very far from the soup pot of origin, could it? By sheer chance, while searching for my keys, I discovered the parsley tucked safely inside the dishwasher, where, oh yeah, I put it because, um, because of some reason, surely.Read the whole thing -- it's Simcha at her best. She goes on to say that, though the baby is now sleeping better, "I couldn't make toast without a recipe syndrome" lingers on:
Yesterday I lost three-and-a-half pounds of ground beef. Where could that meat be, where could it be? The previous day, I had forgotten to take it out in time to have hamburgers, but left it out so that, if I forgot again the next day, it would at least be partially defrosted. But then I forgot to put it away. So where was it now?Punching your brother while in the confession line? Hilarious. Not that things like this ever happen around here.
So I asked my husband, who knows me, What the hell did I do with that meat? and he had an inspiration: Maybe it’s in the washing machine! In fact, it must be in the washing machine. That’s where I put it to defrost, because — I dunno, to make room in the refrigerator for some laundry?
All that happened was that I located the meat while the washer was only half-full of water and soap. The situation was saved before any kind of whirring, churning or centripetal force came into play.
The worst part was that the blood leaked all over the clothes; but if you think about it, that’s really pretty good timing in a bad situation. It’s like breaking your leg in the lobby of the hospital, or punching your brother while in the confession line: At least you're already in the right place.
My baby is now -- I can barely stand to type the words -- pushing three. Ask her age, and she'll chirp, "I'm two and a half." Ask her birth date, and she responds, "August forty-ten."
Everyone sleeps great. (Although we get visitors. The visitor who knows how to be inconspicuous is welcome; the one who gets cold and grabs all the covers and then gets sweaty and kicks them off or kicks the closest parent, well, she can just scamper on back to her own digs).
I still don't sleep well.
While Ainsley is pushing three, I am now pushing fifty, and one of the pesky side effects is insomnia. On the days I can sleep late, I don't in fact sleep late. I long for a night I fall asleep reading around ten and wake refreshed around seven. This would require medication, and medication, I've found, generally comes with side effects.
"I couldn't make toast without consulting a recipe."? I get it.