Archive for the ‘Sleep’ Category


Drifting childhood

This.

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This is, almost literally, the flotsam of last night’s kid baths. This is what I get to look at, circa 11:13 PM as I sit on the toilet before heading off to bed, except that I delay sleep a few minutes more to find my camera and document the Pokémon figurines lined up on the side of the tub. To document what may be some of the last vestiges of pure childhood.

We’re in what all the parenting books and magazines call the Golden Age: when your kids sleep through the night and no longer need you to accompany them to the bathroom, but they still want to talk to you. They still want to read you every joke from their Big Book of Jokes and Laffs. They still tell you everything — consequential or not — that happens at school, converse freely with their friends in front of you, make up silly songs in the back seat of the car. This is the age when they still sit in the back seat of the car, climb in automatically. It’s just occurring to them that they won’t always sit there.

This is the age where they are still completely happy to carry stuffed animals and security blankets through airports, where their pajamas still have trucks and space aliens on them (actually, that’s only Isaac now — already, Rowan has the logos of sports teams emblazoned across his sleepwear). There’s very little that they declare themselves “too old” for, but it also never occurs to me to, say, pack up a Tupperware container of Cheerios for a car ride.

One day soon, my nine-year-old will take showers instead of baths, will no longer wage sincere imaginary battles between Pokémon figures in the tub and then line them up before saying goodnight. One day, he’ll floss his own teeth. Or maybe he won’t. One day soon, he’ll lock the door to the bathroom.


Queer parenting and the tyranny of choice

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I remember sitting on the couch next to a napping Rowan. He was maybe a month or so old, blissfully unaware of the voices in my head duking it out:

“You’re such a good mother, staying right next to him while he sleeps.”

“What kind of mother are you, letting your baby sleep on the couch? Do you know that he could roll off and die? And he’s sleeping ON HIS STOMACH! Don’t you know that he’s way more likely to die of sudden infant death syndrome if he sleeps on his stomach?”

“You’re staying right by him while he sleeps, so he’ll be safe. Too bad that you have to pee.”

“If you really loved him and wanted to promote his healthy attachment, you would let him sleep RIGHT ON YOUR CHEST so your heartbeats could sync. What kind of unfeeling monster are you, putting your baby down to sleep?”

“If you really want him to develop good sleeping habits, he should be sleeping in his crib by himself so that he could learn independence.”

And so on. Fun times.

I won’t sugarcoat it: I had a rough time after my first son was born.

You can read the rest over at Today’sParent.com, where I ponder the irony of my choices to become a (queer) parent in the context of Jennifer Senior’s new book All Joy and No Fun.


Daylight saving(s) grace

I used to hate Daylight Savings Time.

By which I mean, I used to hate Daylight Savings Time as a parent. Before kids, who cared about an hour more or less in a given night? But AK, it was just one more thing to screw up the scant amount of sleep we didn’t get in the first place. It was an hour gone that we could’ve used, or, worse, that so-called “extra” hour that our childless peers spent having sex or going for an energizing, early-morning run, or — God forbid — sleeping in. Asshats.

But now, in a house where, most of the time, everyone sleeps just fine, my hatred of the timeshift is fading.

Last night was a mediocre night, by the way: Rowan up once and Isaac twice, me already sleepless for much of the night, my brain working overtime on All the Tiny Little Details. I realize how much this blog used to be about sleep deprivation, sleep strategization, and how that phase of my life has more or less disappeared. After a bad night, I remember that sluggish, hung-over feeling and how it used to feel like that all the time, how rare it is now, and it feels almost good, a reminder of how far we’ve come.

(If Rachel reads this post, she’s going to point out — rightly — that the kids wake up plenty; it’s just that I manage to sleep through most of their wakings while she springs out of bed and snuggles. And I thank her for that. I really do.)

So, Daylight Savings Time. Like the Halloween candy free-for-all, it ends today. I won’t be sad to see either of them go, but neither has scarred my soul this year, and for that I am grateful.

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The Yoga Class Incident: Part I

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Picture it: Two women, a man, and baby in the summer of 2005, in a beautiful, but stinking-hot second-storey apartment in the High Park neighbourhood of Toronto.

Rachel and I — the two women — have fled to this baking summer sublet after our freezing first winter in Thunder Bay, Ontario, the coldest winter the city had seen in a decade, a winter in which I use a credit card to scrape the ice off the inside of the car windows on the rare occasion I manage to get it together enough to leave the house, what with the new baby and never, ever sleeping and not really having any friends anyway to hang out with. I didn’t have any friends because I was brand-new in town, although I would hazard a guess that the vibe I gave off — sort of, how would I describe it, grieving, desperate, sleepless and obsessed, talking endlessly, about it — didn’t help me in the friend-making department. I’m sure I exuded some kind of manic, scratchy sadness that made people smile and back away slowly instead of inviting me out for coffee or offering to come over and hold the baby while I napped.

Anyway.

By the time May rolled around, by the time I was able to cobble together the occasional five-hour stretch of sleep, by the time I finally crept outdoors with a blanket and lay it across the scrappy grass in the front yard and sat my baby down on it for the first time, I was so ready to be gone from The Lakehead, ready to be somewhere warm and familiar and decidedly urban. So we hightailed it to Toronto, where Rowan’s sleep schedule morphed into an almost-bearable two wakings a night and where good Indian food was a half-block away.

Rob came from Vancouver to Toronto to visit us that summer, our first as co-conspirators in this parent/donor/family thing we had created. We were all pretty new to the game, only five or six months in, so perhaps we could all be forgiven for what has come to be known as The Yoga Class Incident. But maybe not.

Picture: two women whose collective sleep deprivation has rendered them just a tad grumpy, whose lives have been utterly savaged by parenthood, trundle back and forth in their baking-hot High Park summer sublet, attending to their baby, eking out bits of work here and there, figuring out what’s for dinner, changing diapers.

In the centre of the room, the man sits at his computer, trying to find a yoga class to attend somewhere in the Greater Toronto Area.

As the women trundle and caregive, eke and change, the man narrates his yoga-class quest: There’s a class across town but he’s not sure he likes the look of the studio’s website. … click click click … There’s one around the corner, but he may go see a movie after, and the timing won’t quite work. … click click click … There’s one a few neighbourhoods over … click click click … “Oh, but they do Iyengar, and I’m really looking for more of an Ashtanga feel.” He mentions a class at Yonge and Eglinton, to which one of the woman replies, “But it will take you at least an hour each way to get there and back.”

To which the man replies, “Oh, that’s okay. I’ve got plenty of time.”

At this point, the collective storm clouds that have been gathering in the humidity of the Toronto summer reach maximum saturation.

“Listen to me carefully,” says the woman. “I need you,” says the woman, “to pick a fucking yoga class and go to it and never say another word about it again as long as you live or so help me God I will smash your computer into a million little pieces right now, Mr. I’ve-got-all-the-time-in-the-world.”

And he does.

* * *

To be continued.


Six-year-old (II)

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Dear Isaac,

I’m writing this from Montréal, where your other mother and I have gone to get away from it all, to live our alternative, child-free, urban life for a week while you and your brother stay home under the care of your Rob, whipped into shape from a week of doing this last year.

Still, I woke up this morning the way I usually do, at 6:30 AM, even though you weren’t there to quietly open my bedroom door and carefully close it behind you to keep out the cats and the light before climbing into my bed. (And why is it that you can so carefully remember to close the door but you still “can’t remember” to lift up the goddamn toilet seat?) This morning, no skinny little boy stole my covers and vibrated relentlessly and whispered question after question (“Where am I going today?” “Is this a family day?” “Is next day a family day?” “Can we go to Egypt? Next day can we go? And if we find treasure there do we have to give it back?”) Into the quiet room while I — depending on my mood and just how much sleep I had— either gritted my teeth and secured my sleep mask and turned over to try to eke out a little more rest or managed to revel in the sweetness that is you.

That’s a big difference from last year to this: you sleep hurrah hurrah in your own room, but only because we kicked you out unceremoniously year ago and then left Rob to deal with the consequences while we left the country. I swear, the fact that he took on this final phase of sleep training ranked just as high for me as the fact that he took care of you and your brother for the week. Now, you’re still a regular night visitor, but more often than not my bedroom is adults-only space, which is great given that your other mother and I have so much energy left at the end of every day.

But aside from the bedroom development I’m having difficulty deciding what about you, at six, is different from you at five, four, three and so on. Because change a few details here and there, but you are so quintessentially, consistently, you that it’s hard to see you as doing anything but continuing to grow into yourself. You’re still all about the bling: the more sparkles and stick-on jewels and shiny things and buried treasure, the better. You’re still all about the breakfast, spooning up massive bowls of oatmeal most mornings while I watch your blood sugar levels rise from “Everything you do is wrong” to “[insert positive parallel construction here].” You’re still all about the cuddles, although the blanky and thumb-sucking are falling by the wayside, shedding slowly like an old skin that was too small. (Speaking of which, I finally bit the bullet and hid away your two, too-small, favourite shirts just as you inherited a windfall of hand-me-downs to replace them — I love how you look in new-to-you clothes that are on the larger rather than smaller end of your size, how you instantly mature by a few months, the same way you do when I cut your hair. I’m getting better at that, by the way: the last time I set you up in front of some cartoons and trimmed away, I didn’t even nick the top of your ear ONCE.)

Speaking of clothing, you seem to be officially done with the pink (though not pink pajamas) and the party dresses, and I am ambivalent about that, can’t tell if it was something that would have happened no matter what or if the giggles and long looks and questions cast the deciding vote. I’ll never know. (You’re also full on into weapons, just to confound any gender essentialist. Anything vaguely long or pointy is immediately transformed into a gun, a sword, a light saber. You beg us relentlessly for a Nerf gun and we keep saying no because we have drawn the line at buying toy guns. Sorry.)  At least you’re still full on into jewelry. Your current career plans consist of becoming a jewelry designer and selling your creations from a stand in our front yard. You will live with us forever, you explain, and thus contribute to the family economy. You will help clean, but you will not cook, because you don’t know how — and you don’t seem to be convinced that you can learn. You’re equally unconvinced of the fact that you will one day read on your own or ride a bike that is not attached to the back of mine — you would rather, I somehow get the sense, get your books via a warm maternal body cuddled up next to yours, travel through the world still tethered to one of us. And that’s okay — you’ll read on your own just fine and I swear the first time you take off on your own set of two wheels, no training wheels, I will weep tears of both joy and sorrow.

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And yet, you don’t miss us right now. I talked briefly on the phone to your brother this morning, and he ended the conversation with, “I love you. Have a good day,” before passing the phone over to you. You screeched, “HAVE A BAD DAY!” and then cackled wildly before passing the phone back to Rob and running off like the booty-shaking, ninja-kicking, sugar-seeking, crayfish-catching, soccer-dropout, diamond encrusted little maniac you are.

Which I guess makes you entirely well-adjusted.

Happy sixth birthday, Isaac! I’m sorry I didn’t get you a Nerf gun.

Love,

Mama


“What are you going to do about Charlie?”

So, my friend Judy – godparent to my children, one of approximately three people who have seen my entire nuclear family at its individual and collective highest highs and lowest lows over Sunday brunches and other occasions the past eight or so years – sent me a wee message a few nights ago on Facebook:

my stress dream last night: you had a 3rd baby (charlie) but you were bummed that he was interfering with the lovely dynamic that you had as a 4-some, so you mostly left him at home. (like, you would come for brunch and not bring him.) i spent the dream fussing about what to do about charlie and the million possibilities of what i could be/should be doing. you were so nonplussed about the whole thing. Oi. woke up exhausted and so wanted to write and say thanks for not having a third baby. xox. i told some people at work about the dream, and so now the code for any decisions i need to make about students is “what are you going to do about charlie?” ha ha

Now, we’ve been through this: it’s not like anyone around here was considering having a third baby. We are a house of big kids now, the rhythms and needs of babies and toddlers vague, distant memories. Pregnant women, women with babies, look so young to me now, so unbroken, so sweet with their strollers and their round-faced children with those tummies who don’t know how to open doors. We are a house wherein, most of the time, most people sleep through the night in their own beds and wipe their own bums. Etc. Simply put, we are a household that is — more to the point, we are two 40-plus parents that are —no longer equipped to handle the crazy that would be another baby, a third child.

And yet, there’s something slightly disconcerting when other people are having stress dreams about me having another baby. I mean, I realize that dreams are dreams and open to interpretation, but still. It makes you wonder about the kind of angst I must have projected into the world as the mother of infants.

Because, as I recall, there was some angst. Or, as Judy put it in our ongoing chat, “Can you imagine if you had another baby????? Oi. the sleepless nights the feeding the helplessness. i get panicky just thinking about it for you. or maybe anyone.”

So, the short version is: we are going to do nothing about Charlie. And yet still, there it was, there it is: a tiny part of my brain that immediately thought, “Oooh, sweet baby Charlie! Mama would never forget to take woodums you to brunch!”

 


Manny Poppins of the Night

When the kids were babies and I was three-quarters (okay, seven-eighths. Maybe nine-tenths) psychotic with sleep deprivation, I used to fantasize about hiring a sleep nanny, someone to come into the house in the early evening and do whatever it took to get them to sleep through the night in their own beds.

And where would I be during this sleep training, you ask? Somewhere else: maybe in the basement, maybe ensconced in the spare room of some understanding friend, maybe, in a pinch, at a hotel. Anywhere except near the screaming and the dreadmiserypanic that engulfed me after being awakened constantly, relentlessly, night after night.

I don’t think there were any actual sleep nannies in Thunder Bay at the time (there was that nurse at the health unit who called me back, twice, to chastise me about even considering letting my baby “cry it out,” but I don’t think she counted), and I’m not sure that I would have been able to stomach coughing up several hundred dollars a night for the privilege of having one (although, really? In hindsight, it would have been worth every penny in terms of preserving my mental health and my shortening telomeres). But I fantasized about them, these Mary Poppinses of the night, fantasized about bunking down somewhere orderly and quiet while someone else instilled decent sleep patterns in my children.

Reader? Seven and a half years after becoming a parent, the fantasy has been fulfilled.

You may recall that Rachel and I took off for Copenhagen at the beginning of May, and that Rob stayed with the children. But I have neglected to mention until now that Rob — who shall henceforth be known as “He who trained the untrainable” — also spearheaded and saw out Isaac’s long-overdue move out of my room and back into his own.

Had I not mentioned recently that Isaac moved into our room in October of *cough* 2010? As in, for the past 18 months, a small child has slept, with varying degrees of soundness, in a little bed next to his mommies’ big bed. Mostly, his tenure of bunking with us has been marked by certain amount of relief, but mostly by grudging acceptance on my part, and often by sheer frustration. For several months, it seemed that he was there by the very skin of his teeth, especially during the weeks upon weeks of nights during which he still woke up multiple times to kvetch about the state of his pillows and the fact that we still would not let him cross the line from his mattress to ours.

(I did empathize with his frustration. I mean, he’d got so far, only to be thwarted at the last great divide: out of his room and into ours, from a stingy air mattress on the floor to a foam bed, to the foam bed topped with the stingy air mattress. Onto which he piled pillows so that he would be at the same level as — if not just slightly higher than — us. Like a cat asserting its dominance. And then, he’d slowly, slowly sneak his head onto our mattress. From his vantage point, the logical next step was obvious: just roll over into the maternal bed and cuddle on up.

From our vantage point, he had to stay on his own bloody mattress so as to avoid scuffing our shins with the slip-proof bottoms of his footed pajamas.

At least, until after 6 AM, when nobody felt like arguing anymore.)

“He is so out of here,” I muttered pretty much daily. And Rachel would nod and look concerned and say, “I hear what you’re saying. You sound pretty frustrated.” Which is basically a line out of the Parenting 101 script that means, essentially, “I’m going to acknowledge your unhappiness in an attempt to satisfy your needs without actually changing anything.”

Her point was that at least she didn’t have to actually get out of bed in order to deal with the wake-ups. I countered — neglecting to acknowledge that it was my idea to bring him into our room in the first place — that we should force Isaac to sleep in his own damn bed, in his own damn room, all through the night, so that we wouldn’t have to get up in the middle of the night at all. Ever. Of course, I had no suggestions for how to actually make that happen, given that Isaac had successfully resisted all known forms of sleep training for the school of I’ll Do What I Damn Well Please, to the point where we started calling him “Isaac the Untrainable” (a moniker later adopted by our friends for their two-year-old daughter, who was Totally Not Down with spending the entire night in her toddler bed).

But by the time May rolled around, we were both fairly fed up with sharing our space with Isaac. By this point, it had become a habit rather than a necessity, but neither of us could actually stomach the thought of losing the several nights’ sleep that would inevitably accompany the switch.

Enter Rob. Whose basic condition for staying with the kids for nine days while we went to Europe was that he not have to sleep in the same room as Isaac. I’m not sure if this had anything to do with Rob’s own sleep preferences or if it was simply a way to get us to get the kid out, but it seemed like as good an opportunity as any to cut the cord. The clincher, though, was that Rob offered to be our sleep nanny (or should I say “manny”?): You girls go off to Europe, he said, and when you come back, the transition will be complete. Or something to that effect.

(This is usually the point in the conversation where all my female friends with husbands and children — you know who you are — start seriously re-contemplating their life choices and wondering if it’s too late to enlist a sperm donor retroactively.)

Not that I didn’t help. The day before we left, I dug out and hung up (using fun, fun power tools) the crazy bed canopy with glow-in-the-dark stars I had purchased online in a moment of hopefulness. And because the canopy looked a little too stark, I jazzed it up with some red and yellow ribbon accessories. I stuck glow-in-the-dark stars all over the ceiling. And I made up the bed with kid-friendly sheets. And then, Rob went out and bought not one but two crazy-ass nightlights, the four-year-old equivalent of a Zeppelin-inspired sound and light experience. I mean, what kid wouldn’t want to sleep in this?

That kid would be Isaac.

Oh, he liked his new bedroom. But he liked it as, he told us, as a place to visit, not a place to actually spend the night, alone. But we persisted, persisted right through the hours and hours of screaming and protesting through the wee hours of the night until we snuck out of the house, shattered, at 6 AM, to go to the airport. Never have I been so happy to get to an airport, to a plane that would take me far, far away from the children. Rob texted me from the airport at 6:30 AM: “Isaac awake. Says to tell you he slept in his bed the whole night so he gets a star.”

I texted back: “Tell him to go fuck himself.”

From there, however, things got better. I mean, Copenhagen. A basic tenet of life is that going to Copenhagen with your girlfriend is always better than listening to your nearly-five-year-old scream from 2 AM to 4 AM in Thunder Bay, Ontario. But each day, we received text updates from Rob on the progressively better quality of Isaac’s nights in The Room. And if Copenhagen was the cake, then the inch-thick frosting was the idea of coming home to a kid to not only (a) slept through the night in his own room, but (b) did so happily and (c) fell asleep on his own without needing or even agitating for someone to lie down next to him.

We’ve been working on the early mornings. Now, the deal is that he can’t come in until his alarm goes off (or, as he puts it, “My clock starts talking to me”). At 6:35 AM, mind you, but this is still an improvement. A few mornings ago, I woke up early to pee and found him lying on the floor outside our bedroom, sucking his thumb and cuddling his blanket. “How long have you been here?” I asked him. “Oh,” he said, “only about half the night.”

“Great,” I whispered. “Come get us when your alarm goes off.” And I went back to bed. In my own room. With my door closed and nobody but Rachel beside me.


Not a single resolution in this post

Well, hello there, 2012. I missed your debut, of course: I have not voluntarily stayed up until midnight for approximately seven years now, but on this particular New Year’s eve I flopped into bed at about 9 PM in the hopes of catching at least a few solid hours of sleep before our 3:30 AM wake-up call.

Of course, there was no solid sleep to be had. My brain is tricky like that: faced with a wee-hours deadline, it tends to go into panic mode, calculating and then recalculating at regular intervals throughout the night just how many potential hours of sleep the body that houses it may or may not get and at what point it might just be a good idea to cut everyone’s losses and wake up anyway and stumble through the rest of the day like a grouchy zombie.

Fortunately, at this point in my life, I am wise to my brain’s proclivities and have learned how to mostly ignore it. I imagine it as a gerbil running frantically to nowhere in its wheel. “Cute little gerbil,” I think to it, “you just go and run away over there until you’ve tired yourself out and meanwhile I will focus on my breathing.” This mindset, while far from perfect, is still a vast improvement over the sheer panic that constituted my mental life when Rowan was a newborn and the scarce chance I had to sleep uninterrupted (more formally known as hours between 3 and 8 AM when Rachel was on duty; I had the 9 PM to 3 AM shift) was entirely spent joining my brain on its gerbil wheel to nowhere, fuming and angsting about how tired I was and would be and would always be and whose idea was this baby anyway. (I remember writing thank-you notes for the piles and piles of gifts we got when he was born and suppressing the urge to write, just once, “Thank you for the so-called ‘sleeper.’ Unfortunately, it does not work and we are returning it. Please send a functioning one.”)

And now, I just think, Well, this sucks, but the worst thing about it is that I’m going to be tired tomorrow.

PERSPECTIVE. TOTALLY. RULES.

Okay, fine, but where were you going at 3:30 in the morning, Susan? Well, Toronto, of course. And Cleveland, obviously. Followed ultimately by Florida, where we finally stopped. And stayed for a glorious week of lounging and swimming and ping-pong and Solitaire playing. (“If we just moved to Cleveland,” Rowan mused as we climbed onto our third airplane of the day, “then it would take a lot less time to get to Florida.” This is true. It is also true that perhaps we should have booked our flights a little earlier on in the season. And it is also true that it was a lot nicer when there were direct flights to Minneapolis from Thunder Bay, but I’m not in charge of that.)

Our first night in Florida, the kids’ grandparents ever so graciously babysat (a favour they granted twice more during the week we were there, bless them) while Rachel and I bucked up and went out for our now-traditional dinner at the totally awesome Rhythm Café in West Palm Beach with Fiona and Jen, Toronto friends whom we see, naturally, only in Florida. (Increasingly, this seems to be the way things roll in my circles: why would you see someone in Winnipeg or Toronto when South Beach or Deerfield or Delray beckon?) “Fake it till you make it,” Rachel and I vowed to each other as we got in the car and navigated the I-95, bowing to the premise that if we acted well rested, we would be. It totally worked: the four of us ate and bitched about travel and — lovingly — our children and caught up in general and then rounded out the meal with three desserts and four forks ( the peanut butter pie was the surprise favourite). Our waitress looked like Leslie Feist (I told her that and she had never heard it before). And you know what? After 18 consecutive hours of wakefulness, we closed the place. Because, apparently, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

Happy 2012!

 

The very rare spoonbill we saw at the Wakodahatchee Wetlands.

 

And the alligator lurking not 10 feet away. And I thought, "This could end badly."


Maybe it means “You behaved badly in a previous life”

I’ve been going through some old journals recently and came across this description of a recent morning:

Sunday, 11 September, 2011, 7:10 AM

Moved over to the bed in Isaac’s room at 2 AM, after he woke us (“Can you cuddle me?”) and I couldn’t fall back asleep. He woke me an hour ago because he wanted some “private reading time” in his own bedroom. Because, you know, he can read and all. After he kicked me out, I went back to my own bedroom, where Rachel was lying in Isaac’s little bed because he had crowded her out of our bed. So I crawled in with her. And then Isaac wandered in, asking if anyone would read to him or play War with him, and we said no. And then he berated us for cuddling together, without him, and crawled in between us, which was sweet for a while but eventually got too crowded and so I left.

This is a metaphor for something, but I’m not sure what.

 


Octoberrific!

It’s October. Shut UP. No, really. Not even October: mid-October. I know — crazy.

It’s been like that, lately, where I think something that happened last weekend happened the weekend before. Or the one before that. Or, say, last month. Which was September. And in September, we just got kind of busy. It hadn’t occurred to me that we weren’t busy in the summer but, clearly, I had no idea, what with second grade and junior kindergarten and preschool and babysitters and music and sports and Hebrew school and the like and why do I feel all of a sudden like I live on planet Suburban Mother? Because I do. I live on planet Suburban Mother in September October and thank GOD for our calendar with its very large squares and stickers, the calendar that is designwise a blight on my delicate aesthetic senses but without which I would not survive.

Excuse me while I go fill the station wagon and get that meatloaf in the oven.

Yeah, so we’ve been Septemberized. I just made up that word. And, actually, it was a lovely month, gone all tickety-boo (cf CALENDAR; also setting the alarm). A lovely month made lovelier by a certain four-year-old’s 180° shift in attitude about extracurricular (not to mention curricular) activities. Last September was dominated by Isaac’s utter misery over preschool, his sheer dread of which permeated every waking moment. But this year? This year, he has scampered off gladly to every new activity and classroom September has thrown at him: five new things in one week, and the kid who held onto my leg and sobbed last year walked in, cracking jokes, only looking up to say, “You can go now, Mommy.”

And so we went.

I should point out, however, that this newfound independence has not extended into sleeping arrangements. In other words, Isaac is still sleeping in our room, curled up happy as can be on a single mattress next to ours. It’s been at least a year, now, minus a brief but valiant effort on Rachel’s part this past summer to get him back into his own room. (“But then we wouldn’t have a guest room,” I protested, completely inured by then to the idea of a child depriving me of a bedside table for the foreseeable future. I needn’t have worried, given that Isaac has historically, and successfully, resisted all known forms of sleep training for the school of I’ll Do What I Damn Well Please, to the point where we started calling him “Isaac the Untrainable” (a moniker since adopted by our friends for their two-year-old daughter, who is Totally Not Down with spending the entire night in her toddler bed).)

At this point, though, I will admit that it might indeed be nice to sleep through the night in my own room while Isaac sleeps through the night in his. Instead, he wakes at some point in the middle of the night several times a week and, depending on what side of the bed he wakes on (get it? Ha ha), requires varying degrees of coddling to go back to sleep. A few nights ago, he wanted Rachel to cuddle him, but reluctantly settled for her holding his hand. Except that (and don’t tell him this) he wasn’t really holding her hand. Realy, he was holding my hand in the dark while Rachel stayed securely on her side of the bed, murmuring aphorisms to him like Cyrano de Bergerac about how nice it was to hold his hand, too. He finally let go, saying, “Rachel, you don’t have to hold my hand as long as you stay right next to me.” “Okay,” she said, and we all went back to sleep again. We’re totally winning this one, obviously.