As a mom, I look forward to taking my kids out to dinner. Wait, did I just say that? Please know it has taken me and my husband YEARS to do this without leaving a restaurant early, apologizing profusely for the pile of crumbs left on the floor, and/or paying for the check while one of us deals with two restless kids in the parking lot. (We’ve been doing a lot of take-out and home dinners through the years to avoid these awkward moments.) So, fast forward to 2011. My daughter Sarah is 7 (going on 17). I treated Sarah and a few of her friends for an impromptu dinner the other night at a low-key diner. Let me repeat that this was impromptu, meaning my brain didn’t have enough time to register exactly what it was that I had agreed to do. (Something that happens every time I go shopping with my kids, which is another story.) The dinner started our innocent enough. Four little girls were drawing quietly and politely swapping stories about their teachers, recess and pop songs, etc. Let’s jump to the part where we ordered beverages. We don’t allow soda in our house. (Only mommy’s and daddy’s emergency supply of Diet Coke for those extra sleepless nights.) This was a special back-to school treat, so I allowed it. They have this thing called Blue Blast at this particular chain, which is a syrupy mixture of cotton candy flavoring and lime soda. Blue Blast is the equivalent of liquid speed for beings under 4 feet tall. They each had a plastic cup filled with the stuff. Big blue mistake. It hit their brain 30 seconds after it reached their lips. They were overstimulated on the stuff, not listening, talking loudly, jumping in their seats, giggling, not finishing their meals and causing us to get dirty looks. I hinted to the waitress that we were ready for the check before their blue mustaches even had a chance to dry. I had them buckled in their car seats and in their driveways within one and a half KidzBop songs. As soon as we got home, my daughter was running around the house with our Golden Retriever chasing him as he chased his tail. My husband looked at me and says, “What in the heck did you do with our daughter?” I had never seen her so hyped up. I had to give her two cups of water and a shower and it was another 45 minutes before she finally crashed. She passed out as soon as her head hit the pillow. For the love of blue food coloring and coca cola, I will never let my kid have this stuff again!
Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds, While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads. And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap, Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter. Away to the window I flew like a flash, Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below. When, what to my wondering eyes should appear, But a miniature sleigh, and eight tinny reindeer.
With a little old driver, so lively and quick, I knew in a moment it must be St Nick. More rapid than eagles his coursers they came, And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!
“Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen! On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen! To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall! Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly, When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky. So up to the house-top the coursers they flew, With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof The prancing and pawing of each little hoof. As I drew in my head, and was turning around, Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot, And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot. A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back, And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.
His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry! His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry! His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow, And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath. He had a broad face and a little round belly, That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf, And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself! A wink of his eye and a twist of his head, Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work, And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk. And laying his finger aside of his nose, And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle, And away they all flew like the down of a thistle. But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight, “Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”
Speaking of Young and the Restless, my best friend and I used to watch this soap opera in the summer. We would come home from the neighborhood pool and watch an episode while we ate toasted cheese sandwiches. (All while when our moms were at work.) I caught 15 minutes of it at the doctor’s office the other day and I can tell you, the story line has not changed much in 25 years.
Does this clip from Young and the Restless (1984) bring back any memories?
Check out this Huffington Post article on parents and sleep.
OK, so I fell asleep at an embarrassingly early hour last night (while reading a bed time story to my daughter) and then got up in the middle of the night, causing me to have a terrible time falling back to sleep. This mother is not done venting on this subject. The fact that my husband needs and often gets exactly eight hours of sleep a night blows my mind. If I could get that many hours of sleep a night, every night, I would honestly not know what to do with myself. I would probably start another consulting business or patent all the ideas that have come to me when I was up at night, trying relentlessly to get back to sleep. I recently was blessed with seven hours of straight sleep. The next morning, I went for a run, did laundry, made homemade pancakes for my kids, made their lunches, worked several billable hours (without checking Facebook once) and didn’t feel like dog poo all day. Uninterrupted sleep: what a concept.
Check out this news clip about Mommy Insomnia.
When I actually sleep through the night, I feel like a human being. When I don’t, I feel like I need to eat carbs and drink caffeine continuously throughout the day in order to get through even the most mundane tasks. It used to be if my children slept through the night, I felt half-way human. Rolling into the office on four hours of sleep was a norm, so Ibuprofen and tea were my best friends. (Not so good for my health, hence why I chose the independent consulting route, although I still like to consider tea my BFF, after my husband, kids, dog, and dearest family and friends.) My hormones recently turned 40 too, causing me to experience random bouts of hormone-induced insomnia. When I do sleep, it’s glorious. I’m talking about 6 ½ straight hours. Nothing major, just uninterrupted sleep. Sleep without being awakened by my kids. Sleep without making that ubiquitous mommy list at 1 a.m., circa Sarah Jessica Parker. Sleep without freaking out about how much I need to do the next day or stressing that I’m going to be too tired to do it. Sleep without glancing at the clock at 12:13 a.m., 1:23 a.m., 3:02 a.m., 4:02 a.m. and counting how many more hours I can sleep without oversleeping and forgetting to get up in time for get my kids ready for school. I once slept until 7:52 a.m. and was the ONLY person up in my family. (This NEVER used to happen when the kids were little. They would run into our room at the crack of you know what and get me out of bed. I loved seeing their little bodies jump in the middle of our bed, but didn’t look forward to the exhaustion that followed.) Now that they are older, 7 and 10, they tend to sleep later, which is a blessing and a curse. Basically, this means if I don’t get up, no one else does. (Including my husband, who has a gift of being able to fall asleep instantly.)
Cartoonist Cathy Thorne has a way of capturing what a lot of us may think but can’t always say out loud.
Check out her web site at http://www.everydaypeoplecartoons.com
What are some favorite things (not necessarily productive) that you like to do when you have kid-free moments? Please note that working, food shopping , folding laundry, exercising and ironing are not allowed on this list, girls!
Some of my favorites:
- Going to the pharmacy and wandering the magazine aisle aimlessly.
- Watching Friday Night Lights on Netflix (one of my friends claims she has taken this up as a new hobby, in place of reading.)
- Going to lunch with girlfriends.
- Driving around and playing my music on the radio, and not KidzBop songs.