“Sometimes the bee stings, and sometimes it makes honey.” Z, age 4, tiny Buddha (and recently stung by a bee for the first time.)
Watercolor pencil, pen and water
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.
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???
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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Just a few of the questions being asked lately by the resident 4-year old :
Do grasshoppers have ears? (Yes, on their legs apparently, according to my husband-scientist)
Why don’t they play more Queen Beyoncé on the radio? (I hear you and I have no answers to this)
What is God? (WHERE DID THIS COME FROM…ASK ME ABOUT GRASSHOPPERS)
How do my eyes see you? (Ask daddy-scientist)
Does the brain tell me to eat (yes)
And then my one question to her, after ranting for ten minutes straight about Trump:
Me: Do you think I like or don’t like President Trump?
4-year-old: You like him!
(Uh huh. . .sure I do. At least she won’t be reporting me to dear leader and sending me to a re-education camp!)
“I have to tell you some-ting.”
Today the shortest and most precocious member of the household woke me up full of ideas. Could we surprise daddy with early late father’s day? Could we get a cat and name him Sparky Fur? (Sparky is the first name and Fur the last name, in case you were curious.)
At first I was all like, no we can’t have early late Fathers Day! (We missed the actual father’s day because the father was traveling. And then the whole family was traveling. And then the mama had to wait for the custom-ordered mug from Walgreens.com to arrive.) But then I was like, hello of course we can have early late father’s day. Sure the gifts aren’t wrapped and the child is naked (ALWAYS) and the husband is in stinky running clothes. But let’s be wild and crazy and just do it!
So we did. And I realized I also forgot to write in the card I gave my husband. I told him to project whatever it is he wants to hear from me onto the card. I think it would say, “You are the greatest husband and father especially with keeping the house clean and I’m sorry I never do the dishes because I can’t stand your refusal to rinse the dishes before piling them in the sink!” Maybe that last bit was me projecting. It’s ok, I’ll own it.
Anyway, hope you all had a very special regular on-time (or maybe even early late) Father’s Day!
(P.S. We are not getting a cat. And no we cannot get rid of the dogs to get the cat named Sparky Fur! I’m now convinced the only person giving love to our old lazy beagles is yours truly.)
- Rush home from pre-school, grab your mother and pull her into her bedroom. Dogs are allowed to stay. Dads are not!
- Get on the bed and lay down on a pillow, telling your mother in a conspiring tone, “we need to lay here to talk about SURPRISING* DADDY!” Cross your adorable little feet. Watch your mom’s heart melt.
- Ask your mom to purchase a “pinn-atta” and declare that you will fill it with “all the candy!” Decide that purchasing two pinn-attas might be a good idea. (More candy, which you will eat! Cackle with delight.)
- Remind your mother approximately 1,546 times that you need to make a cake. Offer to help blow out candles. Decide that chocolate ice cream must be purchased.
- In hushed tones, tell your mother to hide your rainbow drawings from preschool. They are a surprise for daddy’s birthday!
- Repeat daily until your father’s birthday. (Currently twelve days away.)
*There is no surprise party, but don’t let this detail derail any and all plans for surprises. The more surprises the better! Same goes for pinn-attas. And candy. And cake. Speaking of cake, did you remind your mom to make a cake??!
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 are 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!
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 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??!
4yo: “Will grandma and pop-pop be here soon?”
Me: “Not until you sleep!!”
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.
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.
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.
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?!
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.
This morning my four-year-old woke up, strutted into the living room stark naked and declared “Good morning my little lovely!”
Now that’s what I call an entrance.
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.”
4YO: “It’s getting light out!”
Me: “No, it’s definitely not. Go back to sleep.”
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.)
4YO: “THEY ECKA-LOKAY!”
Me: “Yes, echolocation. Go back to sleep.”
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!*