It is not a good day to be one of my kids. As is often the case, the whole current situation was initiated by my middle child Mira, sometimes known as Hurricane Mira, Mirasaurus, Genghis Mira, Mad Mira, Kobayashi Mira, or The Child.
The Mirasaurus has been transitioning away from naps, and if she can make it through the day without a nap, will put us through hell from 5-7 PM, but go out like a light at 7:30. If she manages to sneak in a nap, usually by falling asleep on the chair she is sitting in or by going off to her room for a few zzzzzs. If THIS happens, she is up and bouncing off the walls until at least 10 PM, if not 11 PM. During the first half of May, we were getting the former, because I was writing feverishly at home toward an impending deadline and Mira had to go through her unexciting daily life at home, with few if any field trips, and often filled with almost certainly unhealthy amounts of Dora on Netflix.
- Fun fact #1 on how oldest daughter Emily likes to exacerbate the situation. Emily knows the Dora formula, and uses it to teach Mira words that are not Spanish but makes Mira think they are. Example: “Look, Daddy is making lamb and rice for supper! We hate lamb and rice! To make Daddy stop say ‘Poopy!’” And then for the next day every time Mira wants me to stop doing something she holds out her palm and screams “POOPY! POOPY! POOPY, DADDY! POOPY”
For the last week however, I haven’t had to write because my manuscript is off to the editor. This means this is the part of the time-abusive relationship where I totally try to make things up to Mira by taking her everywhere — to the grocery store, the park, the YMCA, on a walk, etc. This wears her out to the point that she can’t help but fall asleep at some point in the day, and even if that’s at 11 AM, she still has the energy to power through deep into the evening each night.
Unfortunately, during the stretch where Mira was going to sleep for twelve hours beginning at 7:30 PM, we moved Kirsten’s Pack N’ Play, where she sleeps, into Mira’s room. We finally moved Kirsten out of our room because we determined that at Kirsten’s six-month appointment, instead of one of her regular vaccinations, the nurse accidentally injected Kirsten with an intimacy sensor that seemed to give off wake-up electric jolts whenever it detected elevated heart rates in the immediate vicinity. And now that she’s nearly nine months, she can push herself up and look around now, so…anyway, Kirsten’s in Mira’s room, and Mira doesn’t sleep. So Mira keeps Kirsten up, and the two together keep everyone up.
- Fun fact #2 on how Emily exacerbates the situation. during down times in the crying, screaming, and eternal reprisals of “Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a….BOWL OF SPAGHETTI!” Emily will make sure we are not trying to get any sleep in by presenting us with the hourly nighttime bug report:
“Dad….I’m pretty sure I heard a bug. And I’m not sure, but I’m pretty sure this one is poisonous because it sounded poisonous.”
“And what exactly does a poisonous bug sound like, Em?”
“I think just if you can hear it, that probably means it’s poisonous.”
So Becky and I have been frustrated beyond belief because our children have been going to sleep as late as we have, or even later. I’m serious. There was one night where we enclosed all three children, still awake, in their rooms/sleeping areas and went to sleep at around 11:30 because we just could not get them to shut up and go to sleep. So we took Kirsten into bed with us and told the kids that they were on their own, but if they left their rooms or tried to leave their rooms we were sending them to China to make shoes and do something useful.
Last night was a particularly bad night because Becky and I were both wiped out by unexpected malady. In my case, I had taken Mira and Kirsten to the Y during the day to get some walking track in. I wanted to do so alone, but Mira had reportedly taken the entire child care room hostage and was demanding a bottle of milk and a rescue pack that could turn into a boat of some kind or else the lifeless bodies of unprepared staffers under twenty-five were going to start landing in the parking lot. So I ended up pushing Mira around in a walking stroller for forty-five minutes. About thirty minutes in, my legs and back started protesting, and it only got worse for the rest of the day. Because of some previous back injuries, I often get nerve pain in my hips and legs, and by the kids’ bedtime, my left leg hurt to stand on or even touch.
Usually when either Becky or I is out of commission, the other can pick up the slack. Unfortunately, Becky got caught with a bad allergic reaction. We still aren’t even sure from what. It seemed to be from the homemade pizza dough I make every Friday. The only thing we can finger is the vase of flowers that was on the kitchen table. It had been dropping leaves and stuff onto the table all day, but if it was also dumping pollen, since Becky gets bad hay fever, if some of that made it into the dough while I was rolling it out it might have set Becky off. So I ended up limping like a peg-legged pirate and Becky was nauseous and feverish.
The children smelled blood in the water and mounted a massive counter-insurgency against bed time. Because neither Becky nor I could stand upright without pain, Mira engaged in what I can only describe as Preschooler Parkour off every piece of furniture in the house to get up as high as possible. Kirsten was crying because she had bad gas and neither Becky nor I could find the gas drops. I believe Emily was lobbying hard for permission for a slumber party. On her birthday. Which is next February. And when the answer shifted from “can we talk about it later?” to “no.” and then “NO!” she declared her life over and cried on our bed, and most likely wiped her nose and face with my pillow.
In the end (pushing 11 PM again), Emily fell asleep in our room wrapped in our down comforter, which had been taken off our bed this week and was on the floor of our room. With Emily there, we moved Kirsten’s Pack N’ Play into Emily’s room from Mira’s room. With Kirsten out of Mira’s room we shut Mira in her room where I think she eventually fell asleep in the light fixture. About ten seconds after I had located but not used the gas drops, Kirsten belched in my face and fell asleep on my chest, ultimately ending up in our room again in bed with us. And because kids are kids, they could all wake up again at eight in the morning and be perfectly rested.
I, on the other hand, had to sleep until noon just to get back to 50%. Well, after having to get up at six to take the dogs out, and then again at 8 to feed the baby, and one other time to do something. I don’t even remember what it was, but all my fingers are still here so who cares? So pushing noon when Emily spritely bounded up to me and asked “What do you want for lunch today, Daddy?”
“What does ‘demise’ mean?”
“It’s French. It means ‘leftover pizza.'”
And if you think that was cruel, I refer you to Fun Fact #1 above.