Cool stuff is supposed to happen when one deals with prolonged sleep deprivation. I mean, besides weight-gain, cognitive impairment, chronic crankiness, and death. I’ve got most of those covered already. I’m talking about the genius, hazy moments of inspiration…or at least an occasional funky vision quest that doesn’t feel like I drank a 5-hour energy drink.
That would make it somewhat worthwhile. To be inspired. In-spiration. Breathed into. Because right now I’m out of breath. Compressed. Despired. Conspired. Antispired. Barely-spiring. Spiraling. Spinning.
Tired and bitchy.
All three of my poor kids are sick. No one has told them that when you’re sick, you’re supposed to want to sleep and laze and occasionally pick your head up from the comfy couch pillow to eat a popsicle before resuming a marathon of Ruff Ruffman. Nope. My kids want shenanigans. Drippy, coughing, respiratory-adverse shenanigans. Germ-dripping, mama-snipping shenanigans.
I’ve spent since 6am corralling them, wiping them, separating them, calming them down. Lather, rinse, repeat. The baby wants to be held, the oldest wants to play cards, and the middle wants to sit on everyone’s head (don’t ask). Normal voices all replaced by vocal scabs, laryngeal monstrous whines. Manners? Out the door. Respect for adults? On vacation. Capacity to understand that I am not a tender-loving octopus? Gone.
This dragon has been poked too many times today. This dragon became a dragon when last night we hit the four-week mark of my not having a full-night of uninterrupted sleep. Huzzy went on a trip, the babies were fussy before that, my own worries, my family issues, his family issues, and now midnight calls of “Mama!” that contain the under-rumblings of a full-out tantrum, rather than the middle-of-the-night calls for comfort. They are demands. They need and want.
And I am breathing fire today. I hate being the dragon. I want time to stop. To sit. To comfort. To pick up the tissues on the floor. To make dinner for my mother-in-law. To type up minutes from the last school board meeting. To answer emails. To read stories to the boys. To teach them checkers. Instead, I’m in response mode. Requests seem perfectly timed for the moment my ass hits the toilet seat.
Their illness plus my sleepiness (and lack of creative inspiration) is not putting me up for any parenting awards today. I want them still so I can be still.
There will be no stillness today, or any day until all three are feeling better.
I want to be a champion mama, one whose kids’ heads rest up against her while they are sick. A champion mama who can be tender and gentle, not a fetcher of things.
But that is not my task today. They need to feel crappy, I know. And, as I get them more ice water, more tissues, more blankets, more games, more room….I gently am trying to show them that when they feel lousy, there is no need to spread that into the world…they should just try to find and accept the comfort all around them.
My job is to first model that behavior. I find it hard to find comfort all around when all I see is dog fuzz, all I hear is noise and need, and all I’m afraid of is that there is no good creative juice left in my body.
May I have some juice, please?