Alert, alert: off-the-chart parental stress detected. Seek Peanut Butter immediately.

Imagine a parental stress continuum. At one end is the mythical and totally unatainable smiling happy family lounging on a white couch.  At the other end: stress-eating peanut butter out of the jar at midnight.

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Folks, you can guess which end I’m at right now. (There may or may not be a sticky peanut butter spoon in the sink from last night.)

Ever since Irma decided to come to town –which I am now realizing was nearly three and a half weeks ago (HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE)–life has been something, let me tell you. We had a lovely labor day where we were like, huh it looks like maybe a hurricane is forming or something, anyway, can you pass me some chips? And then Tuesday we we were like, huh, we should stock up on water shouldn’t we. Oh everyone is sold out? Cool, cool. From there it was off to the races.  Should we stay or should we go. Will there be enough gas to get us where we need to go. Will the sharknado destroy our house? (No, because there was no sharknado, sadly.) Will we all be stressed out and tired of living in a series of hotel rooms? YES YES WE WILL. Will daycare be closed a super long time? (OF COURSE IT WILL.)

And–this question needs no answer–will all this in some way impact my four year old??? 

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Why yes, all along this journey there was a bright-eyed and sensitive four-year old absorbing it all like a tiny little sponge. OH MY DEAR LITTLE SPONGE WHO NOW REFUSES TO SLEEP. And has been acting out, angry, defiant, and in one especially low moment spit her toothpaste foam onto my feet. 

It’s been a trying week to say the least. She hasn’t wanted to sleep, insisting that mama be with her. All week we were trying to solve the puzzle. What is UP with our kid? We asked her, are you scared to sleep? No. Are you afraid of monsters? No. (Spits on my feet.)

Meanwhile in adult-land, I’ve talked with several friends who agree with me that we (ADULTS) are just now starting to feel back to “normal” after Irma. By the way, you should get a load of my crazy kid, what on earth is up with her?!

Funny how hard it is to see what is often right in front of us.

And then, last night. Nearly midnight, I sat on my daughter’s bed with her, not saying much. Just chilling out. I’d finally surrendered to the situation. It was what it was. She wasn’t going to sleep, she wanted me with her, and there wasn’t a whole lot I could do about it.

Guess what happened. As she flipped through a book she started telling me that she’d been having nightmares. She couldn’t remember what exactly, but she was scared to go to sleep. Simply by being and letting her be she was able to let it out. Shake it off, shake it off (to quote the wise Taylor Swift). She went to sleep shortly after that.

Maybe she needed a week of letting off steam before she could reveal the fears underneath it all. Maybe I was too wrapped up in my own stress to be able to just sit and be with her until that point. It doesn’t matter in the end. We did what we had to do to get through it. We’re doing our best to get back to normal.

Regardless, I’m happy to report we’re no longer at peanut-butter-eating-out of the jar status. We have lowered several notches to the piled-up-laundry and copious-coffee-consumption levels–definitely an improvement, and definitely another inch closer to ‘normal.’ For that I’m grateful.


P.S. Shameless plug alert–  speaking of hurricanes, I’m donating 50% of the proceeds from Etsy shop sales through Sunday to support Puerto Rico recovery efforts. The funds will go to the Sierra Club’s Maria Fund that supports just and sustainable rebuilding for the most vulnerable communities in Puerto Rico. You can donate directly here as well.

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“I am the cheese monster!”

As my four-year-old stated last night (at 4am): “I am a little bit tired and a little bit awake!” She was very excited because grandma and pop-pop arrive today and arecheesemonster staying at our house for several nights while the husband and I go to KEY WEST to celebrate ten years of marriage! So exciting! I look forward to the sleep that I get there.

p.s. I seem to be accumulating posts dedicated to middle-of-the-night conversatons with my daughter–I think it warrants its own category.  Today, the category “4am kid convos” is born!

4:02 a.m.

Child climbs into bed with me. Husband is blissfully asleep in guest bed “getting over a the stomach flu.” Please, you know he is psychic and predicted this event transpiring.

4 y.o.: “It is dark!”

Me: “Yes Z, it is the middle of the night.”

4yo: “I AM THE CHEESE MONSTER!”

Me: perplexed. Laughs.

4:23 a.m.

4 y.o.: “I bet Jupiter is GLOWING!” (She is referring to a model kit of the planets that my husband bought her and is not-yet-assembled.)

me: “It doesn’t glow honey. You have to paint it to make it glow.” ( The kit comes with glow-in-the-dark paint you can put on the planets.) 

4y.o.: “BUT DADDY SAID THEY ARE ALREADY PAINTED!”

Me: “Yes, they are painted, but not with glowing paint. You need to paint them with the glow paint.” Thinks to self, why am I having this conversation??!

4:53 a.m.

4yo: “Will grandma and pop-pop be here soon?”

Me: “Not until you sleep!!”

5:01 am.

4yo: “I found Jupiter!!! It isn’t glowing.” Holding a model of Jupiter. Definitely not glowing. 

me: “You have to paint it.”

4yo: “But daddy said it is already painted!”

I give up. 

5:09 a.m.

4yo. Starts to slowly breathe in that “about-to-fall-asleep-nobody-make-a-damn-noise” way.

Smart dog: “Ouuurrr. Ourrrrrrrrrrrr. Ouuurrrrrrrrrrrrrr!” Standing by the lanai door. Wants out. 

Me:  mutters under breath. Takes dog outside. Beautiful night! Should be sleeping though! Dog pees. Return inside the house. 

4yo: AWAKE AGAIN. Yes, predicted that. 

5:12 a.m.

4yo.: Twitching in that “about-to-go-to-sleepyland-nobody-move” phase. 

Smart dog: “uuuurrrrrrr. Urrrrttt! Urrrrrrrrrrrt!” Standing by his empty water bowl. 

Me: DAMNIT DOG! I fill the water bowl. 

4yo: You guessed it: awake.

5:20 a.m.

The-less-smart-dog: “Rrrrr! Rrrrrrrrr! RrRRRRRRRR!!!!!” Standing by the bed. Too fat or old or duffus-ey to figure out how to jump onto bed. Need to purchase dog ramp. Not yet ready to remove his last shreds of dignity. 

Me: Mentally muttering swear words. Lifts dog onto bed. 

4yo: Laughs and laughs and laughs. Is this funny to you kid?!

5:55 a.m.

4yo.: Snores/drools.

Me:  Snores/drools. 

7:00 a.m. (sharp!)

Alarm clock: “EEEP! EEP! EEP! EEP!”

Me: (Shaking fist into air) “Darn you husband!” (He forgot to take alarm clock with him to other room.)

Time to make the coffeeeee!!!

 


Did your cheese monster let you sleep last night? Feel free to share your own stories–but not until you make the coffee. 

The Post-Easter 3:01 a.m. Sugar Hangover

3:01 a.m.

4-year old: “Maaaaaaaah-meeee, it’s time to watch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!! Time to make the caaaaaaaaawwwwfeeeeee!”

me: “No, it’s definitely not. Go back to sleep.”

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Still learning the lesson that chocolate contains sugar and CAFFEINE. (Photo credit: “Easter Bunny!” Photo by Sarah-Rose, Creative Commons license, at https://flic.kr/p/9DkYVa.

4:22 a.m.

4YO: “It’s getting light out!”

Me: “No, it’s definitely not. Go back to sleep.”

4:48 a.m.

4YO: “Mommy, how do bats see in the dark?”

Me: “I don’t know. Go back to sleep.” (Meanwhile, thinks to self, hmm, bats have poor vision right? But they echolocate. . . why am I thinking about this.)

4YO: “I’ll ask daddy!” (runs to daddy, who wisely retreated to the guest bed to avoid this nonsense.)

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“Kid, we don’t see in the dark. But if we did, we would fly to your bed and tell you to go the Fork to Sleep!” – Sincerely, batty. (Photo credit: “DSC_0530” by Bat-Wrangler, Creative Commons License at https://flic.kr/p/5EkDf4.)

4:49 a.m.

4YO: “THEY ECKA-LOKAY!”

Me: “Yes, echolocation. Go back to sleep.”

6:22 a.m.

4YO: (Snoring.)

Me: (Snoring)

7:01 a.m.

4YO: “Mommy it’s light out! Time for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!”

Me: “Time to make the caaaawwww-feeee.” (Yawn.)


How did your child’s chocolate hangover go? What’s that, you wisely did not let your youngster consume copious amounts of chocolate late in the day?? *All hail your wise parenting choices!*

Who Killed JR? His toddler who refused to sleep!

Flashback to 1983. My parents are watching Dallas in the basement with their friends. I’m at the top of the stairs, trying not to squeak the steps, hunched in a nightgown with my knees pulled tight. Of course my mom sees me and yep, she is upset. Despite her frustration she lets me sit on the floor  and join them in watching the number one show of 1983.600x600bb-85

My mom had to do this a lot–put up with a kid who was awake until all hours of the night. Usually it was just the two of us. She’d let me watch Love Boat on the tiny black and white TV in our kitchen while she made popcorn. Initially she would be exasperated (Of COURSE she was, adult Sarah gets it now!) but she always softened and lovingly let me join her in her late night routine.

Let me write it out right here in case my prayers haven’t reached my mother: MOM I AM SO SORRY FOR WHAT I PUT YOU THROUGH. MOM HOW DID YOU DO IT. MOM YOU POOR WOMAN YOU NEVER. GOT. A. BREAK!

Why the mea culpas? Because now I’m in her shoes. My almost-four-year-old is having what I jokingly refer to as the “four-year sleep regression.” She is awake approximately 99.98% of our waking hours. No break from the kid. No down time. And let me tell you, as an introvert this is so hard.

How am I responding to it all? I’m trying to model my mom’s love. (She still teaches me. When people say love never dies, that it extends forever, this is what they mean.) Lately I’m following her lead as much as I can. Like her, I’m surrendering to the fact that my kiddo won’t sleep and there isn’t much I can do about that fact. I might as well make some popcorn for her while she sits on the floor to join in watching Jane the Virgin.

I have a feeling she may someday look back fondly on these moments. I have a hunch I just might, too.


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