Sunday, November 16, 2008

A dark and windy night

(Note: I wrote this on Friday night, but due to the storm mentioned below, our modem got fried. Like, all-out gone-a-rific. Because, truly, in a month like this one, we NEEDED to go out and buy a new modem. That giant sucking sound you hear in the background is the last shred of this month's budget disappearing. Geronimo!)

Ooooohh, it's so wiiiiiindy out there tonight. A cold front (and we use the term "cold" very loosely around here) has blustered in from somewhere and arrived with a vengeance, sweeping emphatically through the trees, stealing our electricity for a little while, and making me feel, as I snuggled in the bed with a sleep-resistant toddler, that houses, warm and cozy with four solid walls, are very good things indeed.

The girls both had trouble falling asleep tonight, possibly due to their chocolate chip and peanut butter consumption this afternoon. Ah, the magic of caffeine. Caroline in general will never win awards for champion sleeper, and I'm guessing it's the chocolate that's disturbed the fragile balance tonight. It baffles me, though, how a child who has not slept during her naptime for over a week doesn't just push off for the Land of Nod when the sun goes down.

This sleep thing has tested me repeatedly during my parenting career. Apparently I'm a bit thick in the head, or I'm like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, destined to repeat the same fate over and over again until the lesson is truly learned. Here's what I think it is: Children are people, not robots. They have no "off" switch for our convenience. As much as it seems that "other people's children" drowse off to dreamland compliantly, at the same time, every night, it ain't necessarily so.

So when they're tossing and turning and wanting to discuss hot topics with you about an hour after you thought they'd nod off, and they're all worked up because the lights went out and THERE MUST BE MONSTERS IN THE HALLWAY, and the bed is deemed "boring," and they're in a fit of indecision about whether to use the iPod for their nightly "Golden Slumbers" marathon or not, and you just want to shout, for the 43rd time, "LIE DOWN AND GO TO SLEEP!!!"

Yeah, right then? Because that's such a soothing thing for children to experience when they can't settle?

Right then is when you face the hard truth that while it's easy to be a good parent when the children are charming, it's time to be a wise parent when they're, well, not.

I can fuss at them and sigh loudly and sit there resenting the fact that tonight of all nights, BOTH girls want someone with them right there until they fall asleep. I can whine to my husband while he whines to me (we're mature that way). I can question my parenting choices and abilities. Oh yes, I can.

Or I can lie there, reading a book or not, breathing in the smell of baby shampoo, feeling the small arms tighten around my neck, ignoring the clock, letting sleep come when it's good and ready. Remembering that this is a life, not a job with shifts that end at 8 p.m. Not just enduring, but embracing.

"I love you, Mama," the almost-three-year-old whispers, her warm, milky breath tickling my ear.

"I love you, too," I whisper back, meaning it.

P.S. The MRI results came back today. "You don't have a brain tumor," the nurse announced soberly over the phone.
"But you do have a sinus infection."
I was at CVS scooping up my antibiotics faster than you could say "two-week headache." Hurray!


Julie said...

I'm so glad your okay! Very sweet blog too!:)

Tracee said...

glad you are ok. i needed to read that part about our job not being one that ends at 8. thanks.

Melanie said...

ok, thank you for the update that is scary!!