Sweet Dreams

When the kids go to bed, I usually have a lot of big plans that involve my being organized, efficient, and basically in control of my household.  I’m going to pick up toys, whisk through the living room and kitchen, maybe even fold a load of laundry.  Then I plan on sitting down with a good book or perhaps some of my needlework.

That never happens.

First of all, my older kids are sixteen and seventeen.  They often stay up later than I do.  However, their staying up late usually involves homework done in the privacy of their own rooms, where they think I don’t know that they sometimes play videogames or text their friends.  Hey, as long as they keep their grades up and I don’t smell anything that brings back 1980’s flashbacks for me, I don’t bother them.

My youngest fights bedtime.  One more snack, one more drink, one more trip to the potty.  Another drink, another story.  Turn off the dolphin lamp so we can see the glow-in-the-dark stars on the walls and ceiling.  Turn the dolphin lamp back on because Little Man is scared of the dark.  One more story, followed by my stirring rendition of Casey at the Bat, and his eyes finally close just as I intone “mighty Casey has struck out.”

By that point, I am done.

Besides, I am a morning person.  That’s not to say that I wake up cheerful.  Oh, Lordy, no.  I’m awake and functioning, but not very happy about it until I’ve been moving for a half-hour or so.  Definitely not before I’ve downed at least a cup or two of coffee.

But if I’m going to accomplish anything at all during my day, it needs to be done in the morning.  Cheerful or not, I am just more productive during the first part of the day.  Regardless of how long my to-do list is, things that aren’t done before noon are most likely not going to be done at all.

It’s not that I’m lazy.  I just . . . run out of steam.  Not really tired, either.  I just lose the will to go the extra mile in anything.  Hell, I don’t even want to go the extra ten paces.

Don’t get me wrong.  I can come home from work and burn my way through a list of daily tasks like nobody’s business. Make the supper, clean it up, check the backpacks, play some board games with the Little Man, pretend that I’m smart enough to help the older two with their homework while they humor me by asking questions they already know the answers to.   Make sure Little Man does his homework (homework in first grade?!) and then toss him into the bathtub and hope he comes out remotely clean.

So by the time he’s finally asleep, I have no desire to do anything.  Unfortunately, that’s the point where I get stupid.

Guys, I have become my mother.

I might grab the baby quilt I’m working on, although the intended recipient is almost ready for pre-school.  At this rate, it will be finished in time for her to give it to her own babies.  Possibly her grandbabies.

Or I’ll grab a book.  Right now, I’m working my way through Lucky, by Alice Sebold.

I might even decide to watch a little TV, although I have to admit that I have almost no idea of what’s on any more.  I’m so used to watching Disney Channel with Little Man that I haven’t even figured out the channels here.  Okay, so we’ve lived here for six months; that should give a pretty good idea of just how rarely I get to choose what we’re going to watch.

And that, my friends, is when it happens.  That’s when Mom comes back and takes over.  Because I sit on the couch with my feet propped up, all wrapped up and cozy in my favorite afghan, and I slip quietly into my coma in a matter of minutes.   Every once in a while, one of the older kids will wander through the living room and give me a nudge.

“Wake up and go to bed, Mother,” they will say, their voices practically dripping with disgust.

I wake up just enough to apologize and mumble an excuse.  Somewhere in the back of my drowsy brain, I remember my mother doing the exact same thing every night, while my sisters and I would try to wake her.

“Wake up and go to bed, Mother,” we would say, our voices practically dripping with disgust.

I don’t know why I don’t just go to bed as soon as Little Man is down for the night.  After all, I’m usually asleep about ten minutes after he is.

Finally, after a couple of hours of uncomfortable, crick-in-the-neck-inducing sleep on the couch, I’ll lurch to my feet, check the locks and turn off the porch light.  I shuffle across the living room and into my room to collapse on my bed, dragging my afghan with me like some twisted female version of Linus and his blanket.  Then I snuggle in, warm and cozy in my big, soft, comfortable bed.

Wide awake.

***

This post is part of Finish the Sentence Friday, in which writers and bloggers finish a sentence and “link up” their posts. This week’s sentence was “When the kids go to bed, I…”  

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16 thoughts on “Sweet Dreams

  1. *sigh* I wish I had the energy for half the things I want to accomplish before the kids are in bed (and mine are in bed by 8!). I’ve given up. Best to just veg in front of the TV or try to read. I’m too tired for anything else! Sweet dreams, indeed!

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  2. Ah yes. I have become your mother also then:). I fall asleep on the chaise in my bedroom, book on lap. Trying to get through Keith Richards’ autobiography, “Life”–which is full of sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll. You’d think I could stay awake for that, right? But no:). You’re not alone!

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  3. HA! I’m with you on every point except the falling asleep on the couch. That is my husband’s job. He sleeps so soundly on the couch I now put a program on that I know he will be interested in watching when he wakes up. then I sneak into bed…..ALONE. Well most nights, other than those that involve a 3am choke hold.

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    • Little ones are the WORST co-sleepers, aren’t they? There’s the choke hold, knees in the spine, kicks and punches….they steal the covers and push the pillows on he floor, too! It’s a lucky thing they’re so darn cute.

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  4. My girls are 3 and 8– I can’t imagine a day when they’re up later than I am, or maybe even SLEEP later than I do in the morning! And thanks for reminding me that I want to read that Alice Sebold book! 😉

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  5. Ha! Completely cracked up at the ending and being wide awake once you get to bed! For some reason, I fight going to sleep at night and try to get on the computer to write but recently I’ve been so tired that I think I’ll try to go to sleep earlier. Sometimes, I fall asleep when I am putting my son to bed…

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    • Aww, don’t be discouraged! Yes, there are a lot of rough times and less-than-perfect moments, but the good parts of parenthhod far outweigh the bad. The first time a baby opens wide to give you wet, slobbery kiss . . . Or your toddler climbs into your lap for a hug for no reason at all . . . Or the first time you stay up far too late, talking with your teenager because you’ve both suddenly realized the other one is actually a PERSON. . .

      I have spent much of the past 17 years sleep-deprived, poor, and often splattered with some form of something gross. But my kids are the best thing that ever happened to me. We parents may complain about some of the rough spots, but it’s all worth it!

      For the record, when I talk about feeling old and tired with my kids . . . I was 42 years old when I had my youngest. I am a non-traditional, OLD mommy with a body that thinks it’s grandma age, not mommy age.

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  6. I liked the ending to your post — although I have to admit that when I finally crawl into bed it’s Lights Out for Anna within a few minutes. Hard for me even to stay awake until my head hits the pillow! BTW, great to see you linking up on FTSF! Hope to see you next week!

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