Yes, bedtime again. The boys are both in their beds, lights out, humidifier, sound machine and glow buddy all on. I used to be SO great at getting those boys in bed and walking out of their room no later than 7:00pm. Not sure what has happened over the past month or two – other than Brayden being sick, and Brayden being extra particular (yep, he gets that from me…).
I finally have them both quiet – well, semi-quiet – and just about comfy-cozy. Zack is tucked into his bed and Brayden and I are rocking in his chair with a blanket and the puppy dog he got from his ER visit a couple of weeks ago. Brayden is actually just about asleep, and I’m just about to put him into his crib, tuck him in and give him one last “I love you, sweet dreams” kiss.
Whack! (Zack slams his arm down over his covers)
I whisper as sternly as possible, “Zack, shh be quiet and go to sleep.” And Brayden whispers an echo, “Zack, be quiet.” Okay – time to start the “quiet down” process again. We’re almost there, Brayden’s eyes are heavy and almost about to stay shut for the night. He’s breathing slow and deep, and his head just starts to slip off my shoulder onto puppy dog. I whisper into his soft little ear, “Okay, ready to go in your crib?”
“I love you.”
Now what Mother doesn’t love to hear their child say this? “I love you too now stop talking and go to sleep. Good night, sweet dreams.”
“I will if you will.” Oh no, he didn’t just say that did he?
“Don’t you talk back to me!” Yes, I did – I got a little peeved. “I’m only talking to tell you to be quiet and go to sleep.” Deep breath… “I love you, sweet dreams.”
“I love you too.”
Brayden, luckily, stayed pretty still and quiet so getting him into his crib was not too difficult. I figured he was tired after a long day of school and playing out in the sun, hell I would be!
Bedtime was saved. 7:20pm and I walked out of their room (and came directly to my computer so I could capture this before I forgot). It wasn’t the worst bedtime. It wasn’t the best, but it could have been better. I managed to stay calm and regain positive energy and love (that’s what it’s all about anyway, right?), and the boys are now happily tucked into bed, hopefully off to sweet dream land, all comfy-cozy.
If you’ve been following along with me lately, you know that I’ve been up late these past few weeks. Well, this morning (and on most Saturdays – thanks, Hon!) I got to sleep in. It was just after 10:00am and I woke up and thought it would be good to get up and get my day started – with a cup of coffee, of course.
I opened the bedroom door and… OMG! What in the world happened in here?! Complete disaster! Toys, books, clothes, rags, drink cups everywhere – I’m not exaggerating – EVERYWHERE! I guess that’s the price I paid for sleeping in and not being in charge of “organizing” the boys (as if you can really “organize” a 4-1/2 year old and a 20 month old – Wow, I can’t believe my boys are already that old!).
I walk down the hall to the office / guest room and politely ask my husband, “What’s going on?”
“What do you mean?” he asks me back.
(Um, what do you mean, “what do you mean?” – open your eyes. Do you SEE anything wrong here?) Yes, didn’t actually say that. Instead, I said “the house is a disaster.”
“The boys and I were playing.” he calmly replies.
(Oh, okay. Because you have to play with everything all at once, right?). I didn’t really know how to respond to that without being a, well, you know, a B****, so I just smiled and went into the kitchen (trying not to injure myself along the way, through the mine field of could-be-very-painful items to step on).
Fast forward many, many hours (12 to be exact), and the house is once again calm. The boys have been sound asleep for hours, the dishes are clean, toys put away in their proper place (because there is a spot for each and every one of them and don’t even try to put them in the wrong spot…), candles are flickering, my feet are up and my husband and I just finished watching a movie – and yes, without having to pause it (what a treat!). The chaos of this morning has disappeared into the past, and my mind is clear, ready for sleep. I finished my work early today – despite the distractions (visual and the usual others of “I want a snack” every 5 minutes), so there’s no “having” to stay up late tonight. I might even indulge in reading a book in bed. A real, paper book that I have to hold in my hand and manually turn the pages – ah yes, that sounds divine.
I finally gave myself some time yesterday to do some enjoyment reading. I won’t say I’m caught up with the pages and pages of words that seem to multiply every time I turn around, but I read – for me, for pure no-strings-attached joy. As it often happens, whenever I read, it makes me want to write (is this a curse blessing that anyone else experiences?).
Tonight I find myself pondering a question that one of my fellow bloggers posed about finding time. My basic answer (which you can read in the comments on her blog…), I just don’t sleep. Healthy, probably not. My first choice, um, no definitely not. But do I do it (or not, if we’re talking sleep), yes. Am I confusing you yet? I’m confusing myself. Must be my lack of sleep! HA!
Okay, now I’m not a walking insomniac, I do actually go to bed – just late – and I usually don’t sleep that well, but that’s another story. I used to not be this person. I used to be in bed by 10pm, sometimes even earlier, but since having kids and becoming accustomed (as much as my body revolted to) lack of sleep, my bedtime keeps getting pushed later and later, until (too much lately) I’ve been going to bed in the wee hours of early, early morning. There is just so much going on, so many things to do during the day that I don’t want to miss, that now my nights are spent “working.”
I say “working” because I don’t have a traditional go-to-the-office job. I’m not an employee, I don’t clock hours. I have freelance work that I do, I have Get Your Woman On! work that I do, and I have the work I’m doing to get my own business launched and underway (ooh, yes exciting!). Add on top of that the laundry, the dishes, the shopping, the cooking and cleaning, oh and the kids – yes, let us not forget my number one job of being a Stay-at-home-Mom (the hardest BEST job in the whole wide world!). It’s no wonder I don’t sleep.
We’ve all heard of the saying “time flies when you’re having fun.” Well if this is true, then I must be having A LOT of fun! There are just not enough hours in the day to get it all done. By the time I’ve finally caught a glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel (which my tunnel is a really, really, really long one), it’s 2am and I’m tripping over my eye lids. If only I could have a dozen few more hours in the day. If the clock just wouldn’t go so fast. If time just wouldn’t fly!
I guess I just have to do the best I can, and sleep when I can (later). We also all know that kids won’t stay kids forever (well, maybe at heart). In the blink of an eye my boys will be all grown up and going off to college – although I’m not ready to even think of that yet (let’s stick with getting to Kindergarten first!).
So time is flying by, really FAST. I’m enjoying every moment (mostly – hey, I’m being honest here). I’m present with my kids, my family, my friends. I’m doing what I want (mostly – again, mostly I really just want to sleep!). Most of all, I’m having FUN! Life can be short, so enjoy it. You only live once!
It was a long night. I don’t mean just a went to bed late and had to get up early kind of long night. I mean an up most of the night long night. Brayden has molars coming in. From what I can see there are at least two ready to erupt through his innocent, pink (well, actually more like swollen, bright red) little gums. I can’t get a good enough look inside his mouth to see what’s happening on the top, but those bottom molars, boy are they RIGHT there!
I showed Daddy Brayden’s (bottom) gums when we got home last night (went out in the ffffrrrreeeezzzziiiinnnnggg cold last night to see Santa – which we did, and we got a somewhat decent picture, although we were all bundled up so tight I shouldn’t have even bothered putting the cute little holiday sweaters on the boys because they’re little faces were pretty much all you could see poking through their puffy jackets and little beanie hats). “OMG!” was his exclamation. Yes, Oh My God! The poor little guy, his gums are so red and swollen it’s like Rudolph split his nose in half and placed each side inside my little baby’s mouth. I could almost see the throbbing.
I don’t blame him (if my mouth were pulsing in pain I wouldn’t want to either), but when Brayden’s teething all bets are off for if he’s going to want to eat or not. I tried everything – all his favorites, and even the not-so-favorites that he sometimes surprises me with. I finally got him to eat some frozen corn. Frozen peas are one of his favorites, and maybe he’s just tired of them and boycotting for a while since I give them to him ALL the time, but he barely ate a tiny handful. However, the corn, it was “more, more, more,” until he had probably consumed a whole cup of the frozen kernels and I was afraid he was going to poop out a giant corn-on-the cob (sorry for the visual…). This happens to be one of my tricks (ah ha you say, tricks? do share!). Frozen anything does wonders on tiny little not quite made their appearance into the world teeth. I’m telling you, all the Moms are doing it – ha ha ha!
So, after our adventure out in what felt like the North Pole (although not sure the North Pole is as windy as it was here last night) to visit Santa (which, by the way, Zackery got to talk to twice – what a lucky little boy! – and tell him what he really wants for Christmas is a ship; a cruise ship for Mommy and Daddy to sit in the sun on the pool deck listening to reggae music and sipping a yummy tropical concoction with rum and a little pineapple slice and paper umbrella? – um, no probably not what kind of ship he had in mind, oh well, maybe next year huh Santa?).
Where was I??? Oh yes, when we got home last night after that dreadfully cold wind (which made my eyes water like a broken sprinkler the whole drive home), we gathered on the floor and played quietly for a while before getting the boys into jammies and into bed. Brayden was happily snuggling on Daddy’s lap, but clearly starting to get overtired and uncomfortable (from the monstrous teeth knocking on his gums).
The boys’ room was all ready. That I did before we left the house – yes, sometimes I’m on it! (“That” being the production of making sure the humidifier is full with fresh water, the curtains are drawn, blankets and lovies are in the respectful beds, diapers/pull-ups and jammies are laid out, etc.) It was quickly into jammies for them both. Daddy took Brayden with his warm milk and sat in the rocking chair in their room. It was less than 10 min before he came out and Brayden was (it seemed) passed out. I finished helping Zackery brush his teeth, we read a short book and then I tucked him into bed. All was good (evil, suspenseful music… flashing lights… something bad is going to happen soon…).
Jump ahead a few hours to around midnight. I’m just shutting down my computer, turning off the tv and ready to lay in bed tossing and turning for hours until I finally fall asleep, despite my constant exhaustion and fatigue. I guess it was “good” timing on Brayden’s part that I wasn’t asleep, or even into bed yet (Daddy had been off in dream land for a while now – he’s a lot better than me about going to bed “early”). I watched him (Brayden, not Daddy – that would be too weird) in the monitor as he sat up, grabbed his bunny and Clubby (the little monkey with two club feet which we I appropriately named, Clubby) and proceeded to call for Da-Da. When the little guy isn’t feeling well, or pretty much anytime he wakes in the middle of the night (I used to get jealous of this fact, but now, well, hey I’m over it) he calls for Da-Da. I can try to comfort him, and a small percentage of the time my Mommy powers work, but generally it’s Daddy who ends up having to put him back to sleep.
I do just that. I try. I fail. I get Daddy. Daddy tries. Daddy fails. Now we are all up (except Zackery who is a trooper and for someone who never slept as a baby, is definitely making up for it now by sleeping through the loud, screeching cries that alternate between cries of pain, cries of being tired, cries of probably being hungry from only having eaten frozen corn earlier, and cries of adrenaline and excitement about being awake in the middle of the night in the living room with Mommy and Daddy, surrounded by all these wonderful toys!).
The next few hours are relentless. There is no comforting or pleasing Brayden. Daddy and I are completely exhausted, longing to go to bed ourselves. We finally get Brayden to toddle down the hall back towards his room with Daddy and another bottle of milk. Again, Daddy tries. Again, Daddy fails.
During all of Daddy’s attempts, I peel myself off the chair and ottoman (hey, yeah, that same chair I drew in my “original artwork” last week!), into an upright position, and stumble into bed (remember, this is the 1st time I have been to bed so far – and it’s probably 1:10am – actually I know it’s 1:10am because I look at the clock as I always do when I go to bed after Brayden being up – the curse of a Mom, always knowing what time it is). I think I might’ve fallen asleep for a couple of 5 or 8 minute sessions (definitely not 10, that would have been way too long and something would’ve have been wrong with me to sleep for that long at a time, I mean, really?) before Will comes stumbling back into bed after his 3rd or 4th attempt (I’ve lost count by now) of getting Brayden back to sleep. I can hear Brayden still crying (our house is not that big, and at the volume that Brayden was protesting, I’m sure the aliens on Mars heard it too); I get up.
Mommy tries. Mommy fails. Mommy tries. Mommy fails. Mommy tries. Mommy almost succeeds… Mommy fails. Mommy tries AGAIN… Shhh… Mommy quietly tiptoes out of the boys’ room, down the hall, into Mommy’s bed – 3:46am – goodnight.
5:something am (okay, I know, I failed at knowing the exact time), guess who’s up and not happy (aside from Daddy and I)? I think I got up 1st (I knew Daddy had to work today and I didn’t have to go anywhere except to take Zackery to and from school, to which he was late this morning; I had decided hours prior that I was going to skip the next day’s Mom’s group outing to the Discovery Museum again). I went into the boys’ room, Zackery still sound asleep (good little boy, I hope Santa brings him that ship!), and was greeted with “Da-Da, Da-Da, Da-Da!” I admit, I gave up quite quickly and went to summon Daddy.
We changed Brayden’s diaper, changed his jammies, since he thought what fun it would be to pee all over himself during our early morning diaper change in the dark (honestly, he hasn’t peed during a diaper change in forever, but of course, he chooses to pick tonight to remind us that he still has those super powers, much like Zackery’s “magic pee.”). I think Daddy got him back to sleep sometime before the sun came up. At this point I didn’t care about what the darn clock said! I just wanted to sleeeeep.
Now it is 2:03pm (to be exact). Brayden is now still (YAY) napping after I dosed him up with camellia, vick’s baby rub and lavender oil. We have 57 more minutes (56 now and dropping fast!) before having to get in the car to go pick up Zackery from school. That’s time for another few cups of coffee, don’t you think?!
I tucked Zack into bed, gave him a couple more (there’s always more than just one) hugs and kisses, told him I loved him and to have sweet dreams. He told me he loved me too and wished me sweet dreams. I turned out the light and went into the living room to grab Brayden. He was waddling around carrying a “choo-choo” book (Thomas the Tank Engine) and his little bunny, wearing the coziest blanket over his green, white and yellow fleece polka-dot jammies. I just wanted to snuggle him right up and never let go!
I carried him into the boys’ room, closed the door so only a crack of light seeped through, and sat down in the chair with him on my lap. I could faintly hear the lullabies playing in the living room over the sound of the humidifier and white noise machine. I took the “choo-choo” book from Brayden’s hand (much to his disliking), and right as his protest reached a peak, with stiff, arching body and wide, open-mouthed crying (it was a good thing Zack wasn’t quite asleep yet), I gently finessed the bottle of warm milk onto his lips, at which point he immediately ceased and calmed.
I could feel his body relaxing in my arms, as his head began to lean into me. I put my cheek to his forehead – so soft, so precious. I snuggled him as only I do, kissing him gently, holding the bottle as he rhythmically drank. We both drifted off to peacefulness, I, still awake but aware; Brayden becoming limp but also still awake. We were like one. One heartbeat, one soul, one being.
I began reminiscing about how tiny he was when he was first born, and how he used to hold my thumb as I nursed him. Just then, his hand slid onto mine, as if he knew my thoughts, and he reached to pull my fingers up to his heart. At that moment, I just wanted to hold him forever.
He finished his bottle (what he was going to drink of it) and gently pushed it away. I turned to set it on the table next to me, and then turned back to look at Brayden. He was getting so big, but he was still just a baby. I thought the same of Zack, how he was getting so big, but still so little and innocent, all tucked into bed with his footsie jammies and snowflake blankie.
I usually put Brayden right into his crib after he finishes his bottle, but tonight was different. I couldn’t let him go. I just wanted to hold my baby. I wanted to feel the soft skin of his cheek once more against mine. I wanted to hear the sound, smell the sweetness and feel the blow of his breath. I wanted to hold him until he slept. I wanted to hold him until I slept.
My conscience told me to “put him in his crib and let him put himself to sleep, like always.” And then my heart spoke back, “hold him as long as you want. You are his Mother, he is your baby. Love him, hold him, be one with him.” And so, I held Brayden as he rested his tired head on my shoulder and my arms cradled him off to sleep.
I sat there holding him for a while, until I knew he was dreaming of puppy dogs and horses and, of course, choo-choo trains. I don’t know exactly how long it was, and it didn’t matter. I knew I had poured my love into him tonight, and had filled my heart up at the same time. I did what I needed to do – I held my baby.
The other day I found a chance to relax (I know, right?) and watch one of my Tivo-ed episodes of The Oprah Winfrey Show. Her guest was Bob Greene, talking about his new book and lifestyle program 20 Years Younger. Bob says his program is “a practical, science-based plan for looking and feeling your best as you age. The cutting-edge program details easy and effective steps we can all take to rebuild the foundation of youth and enjoy better health, improved energy, and a positive outlook on life.” He continues by saying “you can look and feel younger by revamping four areas of your life: exercise, nutrition, skin care and sleep.”
It was interesting (and inspiring) to see 20 of Oprah’s Ultimate Viewer’s take on the 2 month challenge. Armed with Bob Greene himself, and a team of experts to help educate, guide and support them, these 20 women learned about the 4 pillars mentioned above: exercise, nutrition, skin care and sleep.
Watching with an open mind from the comfort of my own home, I too learned the basics of a healthy lifestyle based on those 4 areas. Now I mean no disrespect at all, and I applaud anyone and everyone who has followed or even tried the 20 Years Younger program. I remember Bob Greene saying that if you aren’t at a place in your life where you can fully commit to all 4 areas, then you should wait to start the program, which is exactly where I’m at right now! I can’t compare myself to someone who’s ready to take it on.
Acknowledging myself for being aware of my circumstances, and tapping into my sense of humor, I decided to take a closer look at my life in the areas of exercise, nutrition, skin care and sleep.
Yes, I exercise, if you consider chasing around a pre-schooler while carrying a 25 lb baby. And let’s not forget the constant up, down, up, down…
Yes, I eat, in between fixing a plate of broccoli, dinosaur chicken bites and pasta wheels (Zack eats pretty well – and probably healthier than me!) and feeding Brayden a gourmet selection of whatever I have pureed in the freezer. Who knew that a grown woman would need her food cut up into bite sized pieces? I must say I’m getting pretty good at feeding myself with my left hand while I’m feeding Brayden with my right.
Yes, I do use soap when I get to take a shower every now and then.
Yes, I know what sleep is, but I think it’s been about 4 years since I’ve gotten a full night’s sleep without interruption. WOW!
All in all, I can’t complain. So I don’t run 5 miles and lift weights for 30 min every day. So I eat a little feverishly and don’t always make the best food choices. So I don’t exfoliate and apply a nightly rejuvenation mask every evening. So I still get up several times a night to take care of my boys. I am the luckiest woman in the world to be the Mother of Zackery and Brayden and the wife of Will Zimmer.
Someday, I will be ready to take on the Bob Greene ’20 Years Younger’ challenge with full gusto. But for now, I’m “just” Mom and I’m happy being me.