Some thoughts on why I don’t sleep 100%. . . and why I don’t care.

 I’d hoped to add a new tab for previous notes and posts, but WordPress taunts me. Ahh well, rather than get my knickers in a twist about it being set up in a perfect way, I’m just doing it this way. The essence is here, even if the form didn’t turn out.  This little train of thought originally left the station on January 16th, 2010.

My son has been wanting to sleep with me lately. He wakes up in his dark room and, as he tells me, just feels so lonely.  The wind howls around that corner sometimes, where his room is, so he bears it as long as he can, but he decides sleep is done.

So, something scratches me out of sleep – and in that gray area between sleep and awake, I hear footsteps. Dog? No. No clickety clack of claws on hardwood. Cat? No. That bugger is stealthy, so not him. I realize devil cat is sleeping on my feet.  My boy? No.  Asleep.  So what is this sound? Then, that icy dread and terror, thinking someone has made it into your home and you mentally run through every scenario – or as in my state, realizing the flashlight is in reach….and that’s a damn heavy flashlight.

Then something touches my comforter on the other side of the bed and I am upright and alert, only to see in the dim light my boy is actually out of bed.  In fact, Bear is tucking a stuffed animal version of a baby penguin into the empty side of my bed – head on pillow and covers being pulled up.

“Oh, Hi mom,” he whispers.
“What are you doing, buddy?”
“I woke up and thought you’d be lonely so I brought you Pengy. Then you wont be lonely”

He stands there, waiting for my response. I can make out his small shape and hear him breathing. He has a question that he’s not asking out loud, but he’s still waiting for my answer – hoping I’ve heard him.

“Bear, You want to sleep here tonight?”

His answer is to jump in the bed and snuggle up into the pillow.  “I love you, mom,” he says.
“I love you too, Bear.”

He is a sleep in mere seconds. He takes long slow breaths. I rest my hand on his chest for moment – Checking his heartbeat? Like I’m not sure if it’s beating or something? He’s not a tiny infant in the crib anymore.

I’m pondering the true deep sleep vs the perpetual alert system he kicked on at birth. I’d been dreaming pretty solid, but that radar kicked in and pulled me out of a dream and said pay attention.

Mothers don’t really sleep 100% when the children are in the house.  Hell, I don’t think any mother ever sleeps 100% again after a newborn enters her life. I can’t speak for fathers, but I cannot imagine it’s any better for them. That internal alert system is activated within minutes of the child joining our life. For me, it was when I came to after the c-section. The second I felt that weight in my arms, I never slept 100% again. Even in the “deepest” of slumbers, I listen for my child, or for anything that could harm him. Even if he is across town. It never shuts down. It isn’t worry – it’s something else.

I’ve lost a little sleep with the hazy-danger-turning-out-to-be-Pengy scenario. As I am drifting away thinking about sleep, scary footsteps, then back to sleep. Each thought is hazier than the last. Bear snores and talks a little in his sleep, sometimes even sings, and so he revives my train of thought every few minutes. Sleep is coming, and my last thought suddenly comes into crystal clear focus: Every heartbeat, every sigh, the talking, singing, and the little murmurs. This is so worth it. I don’t care if I never sleep right again. I wouldn’t trade this ruckus for a lifetime of deep slumber.

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Let’s have a chat about Optional vs Mandatory, shall we?

Last week, for the 3rd time, there were lights in the rearview before the sirens were even audible.  I pulled the Subaru over and stopped.  And, for the 3rd time, my jaw dropped as cars pulled past me and continued on.  Sirens were now audible, and still, cars just kept going by as if nothing was happening, not even slowing down.  In the rearview, at the intersection through which I had just passed, the EMS vehicle deftly navigated around the cars which only stopped when collision was imminent.  The EMS zipped by me only to be slowed down by the cars that begrudgingly pulled aside only when the EMS was on their tail – aside, not over, and not all were stopped.

For the 3rd time in a week, I yelled at no one in particular.

A little disclaimer here.  You is directed at the You’s who believe that the rules of decent behavior on the road do not apply to them. The rest of you who get it, can pass this along.

It is s a simple thing. You hear sirens, you pull over. You see flashing lights, you pull over. NOT when you feel like it, NOT when the EMS vehicle is on your bumper.  NOW! And if you can’t pull over, STOP.  They are trained to find a path around you. Every second counts, which means unless YOU are in the EMS vehicle, where you are going and what you are doing isn’t so important that a few stationary seconds is going to throw off your whole day.  Just get out of the way, and let them do their jobs and remember: it might be you or a loved one in that EMS some day.

When I posted that last paragraph on FB, a fireman/paramedic friend of mine commented,  “It’s always someone’s loved one in the back.” Good point.

Pulling over for an EMS vehicle is not optional, it’s mandatory. It’s not about convenience, it’s about life and death.  The EMS vehicle, passenger, and crew, are not plotting against you to ruin your day.  In short:  It’s not. about. you.


(For more information, read this or this)

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“Not Fit to be Around”

“Come on, Dave.  Maybe we should go and leave mom alone.”  Says my ten-year-old son.  Which is the equivalent to being told “you aren’t fit to be around.”  Yikes. I just got served.

Not Fit to be Around – an expression stolen from a dear friend with a son three years older than mine.  She used to tell her son that he needed to go to his room til he was fit to be around… he’s 13 now, so I am guessing she still throws that one his way now and then.

I loved it.  I loved how the phrase ricocheted around in my mouth but was delivered with soft steely tones.  I stole it.  I used it.  And it was magic.  “Go to your room, you are not fit to be around,” was used for fatigue, frustration, irritable non-compliance and non-specific happiness failures.  This order was usually followed by muffled complaints from the misunderstood and unjustly contained 4-year-old.  Every once in a while I could make out a “She doesn’t know” or “They so mean”.   Funny thing was this wasn’t really punishment as much as a time out.  A break.  A Ctrl+Alt+Del.  The lad didn’t see it that way.  I’m sure we felt like Super-Parents.

After the rantings and ravings faded, we’d hear the door knob squeak and the voice “Mama? I’m fit to be around now.  Can I come out?”

Awwww. Many hugs and kisses followed.

Imagine my surprise when he found a nice way of saying  “Mom, you aren’t fit to be around.”  Worse, he was right.  Bear and his Bonus Dad happily skedaddled out of there while a fatigued, frustrated, irritable and non-compliant grown woman realized she needed a nap.  I’d had a non-specific happiness failure.

I kinda felt like muttering at them though the door about how they just don’t understand but all I felt for them was love and acceptance.  I wish I could remember what song was running through my head as I stood in our empty house – something sentimental and poignant, I’m sure.

Later, I turned the knob and let them know I was fit to be around.

Hugs and kisses followed.

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