Category Archives: when is bed time?

Marital Desires

Eight years ago today, we said “I do” on a perfect September evening surrounded by the aromatic and lush Fall leaves of my parents’ Upstate New York lawn.

We booked the babysitter weeks ago, just for this special occasion. She will arrive at 7pm and we’ll excitedly escape out the door for our long-awaited plans.

Our plans to…

Wait, what are our plans?  Oh. We didn’t make any.

At 6:30 this morning, our offspring called for us through their baby monitors and we rolled over to each make our case for why it is clearly the other’s turn to go to them embrace in a loving “happy anniversary” kiss.

“What do you want to do tonight?”

Without speaking, we knew from the burning look in each other’s eyes.  There was no question.

We’ll drive off into the sunset, find a nice, secluded hotel that wont frown upon a two-hour stay, slip into something more comfortable, shimmy under the sheets and do that thing we haven’t done since before the children were born…

Take a nap.

Eight years later…these are some tired people right here, folks.

Have a click!

Take the ‘Speed’ out of Your Witching Hour

We seem to have solved the little nap problem with my three-year old. By solved, I mean we have acquiesced to the fact that he will only take a nap every other day, leaving the “off” days as a training ground for the “Marathon of Patience” – A game of tolerance to test just how late into the evening we can go before falling apart into a mess of tears on the kitchen floor. I of course, am speaking of myself, not the three-year old.

I find that due to my competitive nature, everything is more fun with a challenge involved. Can we make it to 6:00? How about 7:00? 7:30? Now, that’s pushing it, but one day we’ll get there. I can feel it!

On these marathon days, we do our best to arm ourselves with good choices and a few unbreakable rules.

No play-dates

No over-stimulating entertainment (i.e. television, i-pad, etc…this “unbreakable” rule has yet to remain unbroken on any given evening, but is still on the list simply because it should be)

and most importantly…

NO SUGAR!

Over-tired mixed with a dash of sugar = The most dangerous of toddler cocktails.

A few evenings ago…

An “off” day…

3:00 pm

Let the games begin!

Somehow a box of popsicles made its way into our freezer. I believe this contraband was smuggled in by guests, although it’s entirely possible that I purchased them under duress, grocery shopping with a toddler while on the phone with the insurance company squabbling over a measly $14,000 bill. I don’t know, and it’s neither here nor there.

There they were. In all of their artificial-dye glory, seducing my children like a sparkling cut-glass candy jar.

“Aww. What the heck? Go outside. Slurp up your blue and red goo and be merry while I cook us up some sugar-free dinner, wont you? How bad can just one silly popsicle be?”

Approximately one hour later…

I cannot begin to describe the horrifying transformation that occurred as my son spun off his axle, wreaking unprecedented havoc like a mini Tasmanian Devil on speed.

SPEED

I actually fished through the garbage to find the empty popsicle box buried under chewed quinoa and spinach to see if “speed” ‘might be listed somewhere in fine print in the list of ingredients.

I didn’t actually find that word per se, but I’m certain that the combination of the 47 items I couldn’t pronounce was just another way of listing it.

Needless to say, the remainder of the evening did not win me the gold medal, but I took comfort in the fact that I would be allowed a re-entry to the competition in a short 48 hours.

Call me crazy, but I decided to revisit the popsicle idea.

This time however, I chose to be able to pronounce all of the FOUR ingredients.

I remembered that a friend of mine who works in the PR department for the Baby Bullet sent me one of these cool kitchen gadgets to try. I decided to put my own spin on their “Totsicle” recipe. Using fresh strawberries, pears (carrots and zucchini…shhhh), I blended up my own frozen dessert…sans uppers.

Huge hit.

Mr. Tasmanian did not make an appearance post-popsicle ingestion and he was not missed.

Ok. He looks slightly devilish here, but he’s calm. I’ll take calm devils any day of the week.

I won’t say that the evening rolled along without its bumps. That is far too much to ask from a nap-free day. But I would definitely say that I went to bed with the silver medal.

I sent this story to my friend to thank him for the Baby Bullet and he kindly offered a “giveaway” for my readers. Check out my Facebook page (to the right) and qualify for a free baby bullet system!

Because really, isn’t the witching hour hard enough without speed in our toddlers’ desserts?

Death of Nap. Death of Sanity.

I’ve heard tales of this sort of thing on the street.

A child under the age of three phasing out his afternoon nap.

An Urban Myth, of course.

Or at the very least, a lack of parental know-how. They must not be timing things accordingly. Perhaps the lighting isn’t adequately creating a restful atmosphere. Overly stimulating post-lunch media? Maybe they serve juice instead of water?

At any rate, it couldn’t happen to me. Certainly not. I shan’t even entertain the thought.

Well, peeps. I’m here with my street cred to tell ya,

It’s real.

It’s true.

It’s horrifying.

Zachary’s naps have sprung with the spica. We fought it. We denied it. I bounced the kid silly for an hour the other day until he finally realized it was his crib or motion sickness. But, even that has stopped working.

“I’m just not tired, Mommy”

And I believe him.

He’s not tired at 12:00 pm.

Or at 1:00, or 2:00

It’s debatable at 3:00.

And at 4:00…

the sky comes crashing down around us all in a loud, thunderous, decimating explosion.

“Mommy! I’m tired! I want to take a nap!

OK.

What happens if the child takes a nap at 4:00 pm?

He’s up till 10:00 pm.

NOT OK

So, after much debate, discussion and tears (ours, not his), we made the painful decision to try something new this week.

No nap. Not even an attempt. An EARLY bedtime and all should smooth out within a few days.

How did it go?

God Awful

In fact, I made the mistake of accepting invitations for two play dates this weekend, planned for the early evening/wartime hours.

Twice.

I did this TWICE this weekend.  Because evidentially I didn’t embarrass myself quite enough on Saturday and felt the need to go back for more on Sunday.

Two different evenings.

Two different psychotic break-downs.

Two different calm, sane families as witnesses (both with a child who sits at the dinner table, quietly consuming prepared food for a period of time spanning longer than ten minutes-something I know nothing about even with all naps intact)

It would seem that I am trying my best to ensure no friends are made here in our new neighborhood.

My sweet, loving, slightly precocious little boy turns into a high-pitched, squealing banshee, who would be prescribed 17 different drugs if observed by a child psychiatrist during these episodes. (And I would certainly be prescribed a handful of my own, should I catch the doc’s eyes, even for a quick second.)

He is out of control.

I am out of control.

Isabelle joins the ranks of the ‘out of control’ just for uniformity, I guess.

She naps just fine-

Not three and four hour stretches I’ve heard parents claim their kids give them. I know nothing of that sort of luxury. Never have. Good Lord, what on earth would I do with that kind of time?

If one of my children has ever napped for more than one hour and 45 minutes, I’ve checked for a pulse.

So, that’s that.

Except it’s not.

This nap CANNOT go. It’s not working.  There is a reason why kids don’t usually drop it until after preschool begins. It is unnatural for any human to go through 13 hours of entertaining two toddlers without so much as a five-minute reprieve.

This just won’t do.

No siree.

Must figure out a new plan.

Until then, all post-3:00pm play dates are out of the question. I must salvage what friendships remain!

have a click!

Sleepwalking across the Border

I arrived home at 1:30 this morning from a business trip in Vancouver, Canada. I’ve been doing some concert work lately which has more than slightly softened the blow to our dwindling savings account. Gratitude abounds!

The shows went well, but the time was almost uncomfortably quiet. I find that on these few nights away from the kids, my body does not quite understand the rare beauty of uninterrupted sleep, and insists on tap, tap, tapping on my temple every two hours just to check in and give an obligatory hello.  So, occasionally my solution to this pesky visitor is to put a prescribed “Do Not Disturb” sign across my mind’s door in the form of a tiny pink pill they call Ambien.  As my pumped breast milk is sadly discarded on these trips, I worry not about poisoning my liquid gold and seize the opportunity to knock myself out.

At the indulgent hour of 9 am, I awoke yesterday feeling refreshed and all aglow with excitement about returning home to embrace my hubby and little cherubs.  I hopped out of bed and bounced into the bathroom to prep for the long journey back to the US. Being routine oriented (if not borderline obsessive compulsive), I follow the same ritualistic steps each morning, beginning with a daily dose of a calcium supplement.

I popped the vitamin in my mouth and as I reached across the sink for my hairbrush, my calcium bottle caught my eye. Wait..didn’t I just take……(Insert audible gasp)

(Bloggers note – the two pills look nothing alike, but let’s all attempt to look past the utter stupidity of this mishap and move on)

I reached inside my mouth as if my pointer finger and thumb were those of Elastigirl and instantly realized the pill was beyond my reach.

“Ohmygodohmygodohmygodohmygod”, I droned as I paced around the bathroom. It is strongly advised that one abstain from taking this medication unless there is a span of at least 8 hours with which to lie down and conk out.

Ok.  My flight was 6 hours in duration, but didn’t depart for another 5, and I needed to pack, call a car, check out of the hotel, check in at the airport and get through US customs.

“This is a disaster.”

I don’t have much experience with the drug outside of these little jaunts and a short span of time from my pre-pregnancy and breast-feeding years, but I do recall hearing my husband recount entire conversations I had while under its influence, of which I had absolutely no recollection.

Being someone who is unable to regurgitate even when struck with the nastiest influenza virus, please understand the horror of the following event.

I became intimately acquainted with the contours of my epiglottis and discovered just how difficult it is to navigate around it with a tooth-brush. Although I managed to spit up slices of  my throat, pop blood vessels in my eyes and possibly ruin my chances of ever again getting paid to sing, the 10 milligrams of sedation wickedly slid undisturbed down my esophagus.

My only option was to pull a Guy Pearce in “Memento” and complete as many important tasks as possible in the next 30 minutes before my memory became null and void.  I packed in a fury, called for a car, called my husband, my mother, and the poison control number on the bottle.  The last step was possibly a touch dramatic, but seeing as I can’t remember what he said, possibly not.  My mother suggested I write a note, and place it on my person. I got off the phone and wondered what this note would say.

“I’ve just taken sedatives.  If found, Please get me across the border”

I decided to scrap my Mother’s suggestion, however well-intentioned, and rush off to the nearest Starbucks instead. I ordered a triple grande (upping the ante from my usual double tall) latte and downed the beverage on the way back to the hotel as my eyes grew heavy.

I took a quick snooze in the car on the way to the airport and once at the curb, gave myself a mental jolt and tried my best to focus on the next part of this challenge.

I made it through the check-in line and through US Customs without problems, although I believe I talked a bit too much to the officer about why I couldn’t remember the name of the theatre at which I performed.

“I do these a lot, and the theatres all blend together..blah,blah,blah…have you seen Wicked?”

Emily, stop talking. He doesn’t care, and you were in the show four years ago. That card is expired. Thankfully your passport is not and that’s really all he needs.

He granted my entry, probably to shut me up, and I reached my gate with a sigh of relief, only to find that my flight was delayed an hour and a half.  I wandered off in search of a meal and souvenirs for the kids.

The plane landed at 1 am in Newark, New Jersey.

What happened in between?

Interesting question.

When greeted by my relieved husband, I expressed my surprise at how well the day actually went.  Aside from the double vision, I really handled it quite well.   I checked in on both kids and fell into bed.

But, as I sit here at my keyboard, attempting to give an accurate account of the day, it’s puzzling that I can’t remember where I ate that airport meal and what exactly I had.   The more I grasp for pieces of those few hours, it seems as though I am missing a considerable amount of time.

I do, however recall declining the complimentary alcoholic beverage offered by the airline as an apology for the delay.

Thank God for small favors.

Garbage Day 2

This whole blog was born from a garbage day melt down, where in a frantic expulsion of frustration, I began to vomit onto my blackberry keyboard as I held my trembling son, daughter left to wail alone in her bed. In case you have forgotten days of yore and my blog’s infancy 4 eternal months ago, feel free to refresh by clicking on the dreaded, underlined words above.

As I write this, I am holding my trembling son, daughter wailing alone in her crib on a weary, garbagy Thursday afternoon.

Nope. Nothing has changed.

We have tried everything. Changing nap schedules (the sanitation department seems to catch wind of our new plans before we even put them in place, and change right along with us), buying miniature replicas of collection vehicles (lacking the earth shattering clamor, they’re just neat toys having little relation to the actual crisis causing machines), napping in the car (they find us…turn by horrifying turn).  Today we even flagged down an actual garbage truck driver, and he was kind enough to disembark and chat with us on the side of the street for 10 minutes. Zachary thought he was just swell, until he reinstated his post as the evil operator and drove off in the obtrusive sonic monster. It seems quite apparent that in a past life, my son was swallowed by a giant green transformer with a mechanical arm.

I give up. Thursday is a miserable wash, and just for the record, Isabelle thinks so too. Her brother clawed at me in a panic and refused to leave my arms today, leaving her pretty much Mommyless.  Poor second child.

And now for the truth of all truths…this is our honest and real reason for moving back to the New York Metropolitan area. From what I remember, the streets are as quiet as a chapel and loud vehicles are scarce.  I’m certain we are all about to get some much needed sleep.

Mommy Protective Services

First let me preface this by saying, I love my children. I wouldn’t change a single hair on their heads or aspect of their characters.

K. Now that the disclaimer has been formally written…

They are not in any way, delicate or gentle creatures. They seem to barrel through life thus far like little baby bulls in the proverbial china shop, smacking, flailing and pounding about, leaving mass chaos and a slight amount of pain in their wakes.  Not surprising, as their mother lacks her own sort of finesse, but may I still vent, even if I am the tree that dropped the reckless little apples?

Today, I have been kicked in the esophagus and the rib cage during one of the 17 diaper changes, my hair has been pulled out of my head by tiny infant fingers, and those same fingers have left scratches on my neck from the razor blades of nails she refuses to let me cut. Zachary flops around and inadvertently kicks and hits whatever is in his way, and Isabelle, since the day she was born, gets great joy out of pinching skin until you have to pry her little death trap hands open before she draws blood.

This morning, I managed to disengage myself from Bam Bam and Ellie Scissorhands during some floor time gone out of hand, and whined in somewhat of a 12-year-old voice, “Why are you hurting me!?”.  Of course they giggled in confusion. They most certainly aren’t masochists by nature, although it feels that way at times.

So, I implore you…please call Mommy Protective Services and see if they can remove me from this unsafe home, if maybe just for the weekend. Perhaps they could place me somewhere that has spa services and gentle massaging hands. My bones and skin need some TLC.

Let me know what they say.

Pay it Forward

I was standing in the checkout line at Target today, ponytail askew from little fingers tugging at it, my complexion, a broken out mess from I don’t know what, Isabelle whimpering, and Zachary screeching in a blood curdling manner, annoyed by the constraints of the stroller.  I normally would have put more effort into keeping him entertained as to not pierce the ear drums of fellow shoppers, but it’s been a long week (yes, I know it’s Tuesday) and instead, I looked into the eyes of the woman in front of me and pathetically said “I give up today. Sorry.”

I was blessed with just the right audience, as she looked back, and said “Oh.  I remember when…my kids are 6 and 8.  It gets so much easier!”  “Really?” I said.  “Cause it’s 11 am on a Tuesday, and I’m putting in my notice.”  “Yep.  I remember those days.  You wake up and think, ‘they are in control, not me.’  And, that’s what wine is for!”  “Exactly!”  She hit the nail on the head and walked off with an encouraging smile.  I paid for our bubble juice (did I mention, the whole trip was for Zachary?) and left with a jolt of courage to face the remainder of the day.  A beautiful gift from a stranger at Target, reaching through the bars of my playpen of insanity to assure me that there is life on the other side.

On the drive home, I was thinking of how I couldn’t wait to join the ranks of the helpful, and offer such a flashlight to those in the thick of it. She, after all, shifted the course of my day for the better and I’m certain is completely unaware.   It’s tiresome being the one who’s always reaching out, always needing, always frustrated and struggling.  But, an hour later, as I was calmly nursing a sleepy Isabelle, a recollection of the very same Target trip popped into my head, only this was upon entering the store.   A woman waddled toward us, her belly swelled with her second baby, as her toddling 18 month old sweetly smiled and waved at my son.  I could feel her desire to connect with me concerning my obvious familiarity of the “2 under 2” scenario.   It took me a bit to pick up on her anxious cues however, due to my embarrassment over Zachary spouting “No! I don’t want to say Hi!  I don’t want to wave!”  He’s not in the most adorable phase at the moment.  But, Isabelle was cooing and grinning, and thankfully saved us from seeming like an off-putting bunch.

We chatted for a minute, and after she asked me how I was handling my two, I honestly told her that it is a lot of work, but all worth it, and that she would be amazed at how much of which she is capable.   I added, that although I have yet to hit a consistent stride, I wouldn’t change it for the world.  Their age difference, as insane as it is for me currently, is a gift to them, and in time, I believe will show itself to be more of a gift to me as well.  I ended with a “Good luck!” and said goodbye.  But, I quickly yelled after her and said “And Congratulations!  It’s gonna be wonderful!”

I don’t know what effect I actually had on her this morning.  I don’t know what kind of path her day was taking before it met with me and my double stroller.  But, perhaps she’ll remember my words in a few months, during an overwhelming moment, as I will remember the words of the woman who would cross my path not 20 minutes later.    In this case, I guess it was paid “backwards”, but you get the gist.  Pay it forward, backward, rightward and leftward.  Just spread the love…the honest, and encouraging love!  It really does make a difference.