As my youngest takes a much-needed nap, I feel compelled to lay next to him for a while. With each passing day, a phase of our lives as parents to newborns-toddlers-preschoolers wanes and, for all the excitement of what lies ahead, there is also a sadness of letting go of the chaos with all its imperfect beauty.
…so one weekend morning, I wanted to run out and get some ingredients to make a nice big breakfast but I needed to ensure Michele Lynn Sequeira could stay sleeping since she worked the evening shift the night before. How to prevent the kids from coming in and waking her up? A honey-trap!
In Photo 1, a kid’s eye view coming into Mommy-Daddy’s room, you will note the placement of the iPad in the lower right corner, already playing PBS Kids very quietly.
By Photo 2, the first wild Sequeirlet has been caught. On his way to jump on Mommy, he runs by at first, then slowly backs up and plops down in front of the screen, helplessly caught.
By the time I got home from the store, all three Sequeirlets were sitting right in that spot, unmoved, unblinking, while Mama slept peacefully just a room away.
We’re here in Sunriver, Oregon, for a family vacation and, unlike our other vacations here, we are sharing the house with my inlaws and thus Team Sequeira is contained to one room so that we can fit all of us in the house. It should work fine as we have a full size bed and twin bunk beds – the boys can share the bottom bunk, our daughter, the oldest, can have the top bunk, Mama and Daddy can share the full size bed, and we’d all wake up rested and ready for the next exciting adventure. Not so. Here is a play-by-play account of our last night here, which is a fairly accurate account of each and every damn night here.
We start off in the theoretical best positioning – daughter on top bunk, boys on bottom bunk, Mama and Daddy on full bed. But then, my daughter starts fussing because she hasn’t had a night to snuggle with us, which is true since she has been sleeping on the top bunk, surprisingly, each night so far. Our daughter has the most sleep issues of our kids, chances are that if a child comes into our room in the middle of the night, it’s her. I suppose the reason for her good sleeping is the six-foot drop that awaits her outside the top bunk.
Mama acknowledges the unfairness of it all and invites her down to our bed. At this moment, I realize that I have only one chance for a decent night’s sleep so I take it. As my daughter vacates the top bunk to climb into our bed, I vacate our bed and climb up to the top bunk. Things settle down for a few minutes but then my daughter gets scared because she’s sleeping on the side of the bed that is next to the wall and she fears a monster is lurking in the gap between the bed and the wall. Mama calls me down from the top bunk to soothe the scare child and as I climb down, I feel that last chance for a good sleep slip away.
I am now positioned such that I am blocking the aforementioned gap. Our daughter calms down but now we can hear the antics of the boys. Apparently my older boy, who loves building himself a sleeping “nest” out of pillows, is frustrated because my younger boy keeps messing up his nest. Mama solves this problem by taking the blanket off the top bunk and giving to my older boy for his nest so that the younger boy can use the other blanket, allegedly for sleeping.
Things calm down but then the younger boy climbs into the full bed next to Mama. Mama snuggles with him and this sends my daughter into fits of rage, since she wanted this to be HER night with Mama and Daddy. Mama “solves” this by moving to the bottom bunk with my daugher and sending the two boys onto the full bed with me. I am only vaguely aware of the boys coming into bed as I have been ignoring my family for the last half hour with my back to them and my attention fully placed on the monster under the bed that I was summoned to guard.
I’m not sure exactly what woke me, although I can narrow it down to one of several kicks to the head and balls. I carefully climb out of the full bed, which is no small task as I am the furthest from the open end (guarding the bed monster, remember) and I must carefully position each arm and knee so as not to wake the boys.
I tiptoe over to the bunk bed and climb up to the top bunk, excited for the opportunity to get a half-night’s sleep. Up top, I remember that Mama removed all the blankets for my son’s nest and decided it was too much work to put them back when she switched beds and now she and my daughter are sleeping on top of all the blankets.
I weep softly as a crawl back over the boys into my bed/wall gap.
At some point later in the night, I am awakened by my daughter crawling on top of me. I feel another child sleeping on my feet but I’m too tired to figure out who it is. I am next awakened by my younger son and daughter fighting in their sleep. My son loves to suck his thumb and play with someone else’s hair and, since I’m completely bald (probably from the lack of sleep), he seeks out Mama and my daughter to satisfy this little habit.
Now that I’ve accounted for two of my children, I realize that I’m missing a third child. I crawl out of bed and find him sleeping on the bottom bunk. Okay, so now where’s Mama? I leave our room and find her, sleeping peacefully on the couch, using that damn blanket she purposefully withheld from me earlier in the night, curse her!
I crawl back into bed for the last time.
Unable to fall back asleep, I crawl out of bed for the last time, grab my glasses and laptop, and start writing this story. As the sun starts to reflect off the tops of the tallest pines here in beautiful Sunriver, I think to myself, “Yep, another day in paradise.”
My life is sometimes a fairy-tale. Unfortunately, that fairy-tale is entitled, “Baldylocks and the Three Boors” … Once upon a time, there was a kindly old soul named Baldylocks and he had three boors. Every morning, Baldylocks woke up to make breakfast for the three boors. The first boor complained, “My oatmeal is TOO HOT !!!” The second boor whined, “My oatmeal doesn’t have enough MILK !!!” The third boor sat quietly, because in his oatmeal just happened to be perfect on this day, so why bother saying anything if you don’t have something to complain about.
My daughter, at age seven, is already learning how to game the system. For Lent this year, she is giving up “screaming at my mommy.” Such a carefully crafted sacrifice, while doing nothing to guide her towards civility, leaves me to bear, in full force, the vitriol of her displeasure. This is akin to me giving up “Tanqueray martinis with a twist of lemon” after stocking the house with Bombay Saphire and blue cheese stuffed olives.
…so it’s been a rather unpleasant week with sick (and grouchy) children coupled with an ant problem that required rearranging the house to help address that issue. With all the disarray, I’ve been misplacing things like my phone, wallet, and computer, which really drives me nuts because I try to be diligent about putting things in the same spot so I can find them the next morning.
Today was a particularly bad day as my youngest stayed home with a fever, thus I didn’t get the house back in order and didn’t get other work done that I’d hoped to do. To top it all off, I lost my work phone right when I had a call to make. After searching on and off for over an hour, I finally gave up and used my personal phone for the call – something I don’t like doing because I like keeping work and personal life as separate as practical.
By night time, I was ready to put this day behind me. As the kids crawl into their beds, my youngest says to me, “Daddy, you left your phone in here,” and he pulls my work phone out of his bed. I realize then that it must have fallen out of my pocket when I lay down with him earlier in the day – he was horribly uncomfortable with his fever so I snuggled with him in his bed until he was finally able to go to sleep.
As I take my phone back and put it securely in my pocket, I smile to myself, happy that in the midst of all the chaos, I was able to keep my priorities straight.
I am convinced that the best way for young firewalkers to learn their trade is to walk across a floor filled with random Lego® pieces. And by the intense pain I am feeling, I think it would be for advanced students only.
…so it’s a lazy Saturday morning, mama is at work, I’m reading, and the kids are … uh, I don’t know. They’ve been quiet for a while. Too quiet. My daughter had come to my bedroom door a while back saying something about leaving them alone in her room for a while but I couldn’t quite hear what she was saying since I was in the bathroom and valued my privacy over the details.
Going over the happenings of the past half hour in my head, I realize that this could be an issue so I decided to, y’know, be proactive about things ‘cos that’s what parents do.
I go to her room and call out to them, asking if they are okay.
Daughter: “Yes, we are okay. Please don’t come in.”
Me: “No worries. I just wanted to make sure you are okay.”
– quiet pause for a couple of seconds –
Son: “We’re cleaning everything up.”
Okay, so now I’m scared.
You are getting ready to prepare dinner for your family. Your spouse and the kids are at gymnastics class and will then be coming home in about an hour and a half. What comes first?
Do you put on some Eric Clapton so you can listen to it while mixing a martini or do you mix a martini so you can sip it while getting the Eric Clapton cued up?
oh, and then make dinner.
…so we’re just wrapping up a vacation in Hawaii. Sitting on the beach, I knew that, in my mid-forties, I am no longer a bronzed Adonis tantalizing passersby with my amazing physique, but nothing could have prepared me for what I saw reflecting back in the mirror upon returning to my hotel room – man-boob tan lines.