The Bizarro World Golden Rule

Yesterday morning I set my alarm for 6am. All I wanted was an hour or so to myself before people would start needing me. (Although who are we kidding, I’m on call 24/7. Or my breasts are, anyway, with a newborn in the mix).

The baby was up at 4:45 to nurse. When I put her back down at 5, I felt strangely energetic. It was the first time in a long time the baby had slept this many hours (SIX POINT SEVEN FIVE HOURS! HALLELUJAH!) in a row. I had every reason to stay up and drink a hot, uninterrupted cup of coffee or blog or go for a run or take a shower or perhaps do all of these before the clock struck seven o’clock, at which point, Dan would need me to take over kid duties so he could get himself to work.

Instead of relishing in my two hours of freedom, I did what I promised myself I would not do when I set the alarm and turned out the light the night before. I drew my light blocking curtains a little tighter, crawled into our warm bed, tucked the covers up to my chin, held my pillow against my body, and fell back to sleep, as I am wont to do.

As I drifted back into dreamland, I made myself a promise. I would not wake up two hours laters and hate myself for being a lazy slob and sleeping when I could have been doing real things, especially exercising, because I have an admittedly irrational expectation that the baby weight needs to disappear as of yesterday. Instead, I would wake two hours later and be as kind to myself as I would be to a friend who was in the same position I was.

I would tell my friend, “Are you nuts!? You lost all the weight from your first pregnancy and you will do it this time too, but you shouldn’t expect it to happen in less than two months. Cut yourself a break. You have a SEVEN WEEK OLD BABY.”

I would tell my friend, “Yes it is awesome that your baby pretty much slept through the night but one night of decent sleep doesn’t make up for seven weeks of crappy sleep.”

I would tell my friend, “You have a lot on your plate right now. It’s ok if your blog isn’t updated.”

I would tell my friend, “Be honest. You nursed the same cup of coffee all morning and into the afternoon before you even had one kid. That cup of morning coffee, enjoyed while still hot, has always been nothing more than a fantasy.”

When I rose around 7am, I felt rested. I wasn’t exactly feeling like “Hurray for the day!” (to borrow a phrase from Sweet Pea). Yes, I had failed at the first order of business, the simple task of waking up at the desired time. But I wouldn’t hate a friend or consider her a sloth just for shutting the alarm clock off at 5am, after getting up with a baby before dawn.

We all know the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do to you. It’s not that hard to be nice to other people, really. Why is it sometimes so much harder to be nice to one’s self?  So here is my Bizarro World Version of the Golden Rule: Do unto yourself as you would do to others. I promise to be more mindful of it.

What about you? Are you unnecessarily harsh on yourself sometimes?

Tough Love

Ever since I can remember, my New Year’s resolution was to stop pressing the snooze button. And not just every January- every September too, because I celebrate the jewish new year in addition to the regular new year. Every year for the last 20 or so years, I’ve had not one but two opportunities each year to change my wicked ways. Every time- that’s 40 times- I have failed. If you’ve read my blog before you’re like, “no doy” because you know the snooze button is my mortal enemy.

 But love conquers all, right? Throughout most of my 20’s, I was on a mission to find my perfect mate. I saw many benefits to being in a committed partnership with someone with whom I could share mutual love and respect, including the end of horrible blind dates, no more heart wrenching break-ups, not having to go to weddings without a plus one and up the only person under 50 at your table, and one benefit most people probably overlook- I would finally give up the snooze button once I found that special someone.

Because if you really love and care about someone, how could inflict your snooze button habit on them?  I felt that subjecting another to one’s own snooze problem bordered on torture. At the very least, it was rude.

They say you learn a lot about yourself in relationships. I learned that I am capable of torture. Because nary a day has passed since Dan and I began our courtship over five years ago that I haven’t pressed the snooze button. Worse yet, I’ve never even felt bad about it. All I’ve ever felt was tired.

Apparently Dan was tired too, but tired of the situation tired, not fatigued tired. So things have changed in our house. Now the alarm clock lives on his side of the bed. I feel like I am in a hotel every night (a crappy hotel with absentee maids) because I tell him what time I would like a wake up call in the morning. He sets the alarm to the desired time to the undesirable beeping noise. When it goes off before dawn, I bolt upright to show him I’m awake because he won’t shut it off until I’ve proven I’m awake.  I’ve tried casually draping myself over his body to press the snooze button myself, but he’s more alert than I am at that hour, and he has stronger, longer arms any minute of the day, so that doesn’t work.

There is only one thing I hate more than waking up early, and that is Sweet Pea waking up early. So every morning, I hear the beeping alarm, and I get a burst of adrenaline as my body goes into fight or flight mode. As much as humankind may have adapted over time, I am still wired like the cave women who came before me, with a biological urge to get up before my toddler.

It’s not pretty, but our new system works. For the third time this week, I have risen at a ridiculous hour to get to the gym, work out over an episode of “Orange is the New Black”, soak the hot tub, shower, and return home before Dan has to leave for work. Tough love doesn’t feel so tough when you’re relaxing after a workout in the hot tub at 7am. Maybe love does conquer all.

http://5280lensmafia.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/sunrise-with-moon-flatirons-boulder-colorado1.jpg?w=950
Sunrise in Boulder, CO image credit Stuart O’Steen of 5280 Lens Mafia

 

Please visit the FTSF (Finish the Sentence Friday) blog hop hosts, Stephanie at Mommy For Real, Janine at Janine’s Confessions of  Mommyholic, Kate at Can I Get Another Bottle of Whine,  and Dawn at Dawn’s Disaster.

Finish the Sentence Friday

If at First You Don’t Succeed…

After The Great Camping Fiasco of 2013, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to try camping as a family again. Ever. It’s not that I don’t love the outdoors. I do. But I also love a firm mattress, soft sheets, running water, and not having to choose between getting up in the pre-dawn dark to go outside and accidentally piss all over my ankles or staying in my warm(ish) sleeping bag and continue sleeping with a distended bladder bigger than my head. But Dan loves to camp and I love Dan, ergo… we camp and I make the best of it.

We had reservations this weekend at a state campground that featured flush toilets, showers, and it turned out, even a dishwashing sink and a parking spot only 15 meters from our campsite. We were feeling optimistic, considering Sweet Pea had become an excellent sleeper over the past month or so. In fact, she was doing so well, we forgot to be scared to mention it. We might have even bragged about it.

It was with hope and promise in our hearts that we gathered our camping gear on Thursday night, in preparation for a quick getaway right after work on Friday. We turned out the light early and settled in for a night of restful sleep. Until we were awakened by Sweet Pea’s cries at about midnight. From midnight to 1 or so she wailed. Unaccustomed to being awake when we should have been sleeping, Dan and I volleyed nasty remarks instead of lovingly passing the Baby Tylenol and a fresh diaper.

We awoke on Friday, groggy and apologetic, unsure if it still made sense to launch our camping mission on such a bad night of sleep.  Even after drinking a large cup of coffee and receiving a sweet card Dan hand-delivered to me at work (I know, right!?), I wasn’t sure we should go. I came home from work by 4 and hopped on the treadmill. For a whole mile. I just wasn’t feeling it. I then spent about 10 minutes doing abs, which was eight and a half minutes too long, given the fact that only now, four days later, is it possible to tolerate the slightest pressure to my abdominal area without flinching.

After my lame workout, I took a hurried shower and raced to pick Sweet Pea up from daycare, my to-do list swirling in my head. I was suddenly obsessed with everything that wasn’t complete from needing a gray and white chevron rug in my office which will eventually (hopefully) become a baby’s room, to filing the mail that came in the weeks after Sweet Pea’s birth (I know, it’s embarrassing),  to removing a load of laundry from the wash before it got moldy. Also, there was the stuff that needed to go to Goodwill plus the completely out of control junk drawer to organize.

Dan convinced me that all the things on my To Do list could wait, we stuffed my Jetta full of gear, and off we went. Bolting straight from work, in reality, meant backing out of the driveway by 7:30pm.  As we drove into the canyon,  the sun dipped behind the mountains and the bright blue sky faded to light purple, then gray, then dark blue, and finally black. As daylight faded, so so did the intensity of my need to do all the things.

When we arrived at the campsite, with the glow of the moon and our headlamps our only light, my singular focus was on setting up the tent and getting Sweet Pea tucked in for the night. No longer were my undone tasks begging for my attention.

We poured boxed wine into our camping-fancy plastic stemless wine glasses, sat down in our camp chairs, and enjoyed the quiet while Sweet Pea slept in the tent a few feet away.  I told Dan I was really glad we’d come after all. It felt good to escape my normal routine. Really, I love the outdoors.


Although the ginger-coconut scented liquid soap in the park bathroom didn’t hurt anything.

My two happy campers

Mission Impossible: Waking Up

You might think it’s easy to be a night person but you’d be wrong. It would seem reasonable that if the most dreadful part of your day is the simple act of waking up, HURRAY, you’ve conquered your most challenging battle before the crack of 7:55 PBT/5:55 BST (Pre-Baby Time/Baby Standard Time) and it’s all downhill from there.

What’s so hard about peeling one’s eyelids open, getting out from under the snuggly warmth of 500 threadcount cotton sheets, and standing up to greet the day? For starters, everything. Let me break it down for you:

Scenario #1: Wake up with Alarm Clock (a.k.a Public Enemy #1)
Set alarm clock the night before with master plan in mind. Allow time for eight mile tempo run, stretching, core work, leisurely drink of water, and shower before baby hand-off when husband leaves for work. When alarm goes off press snooze before first conscious thought forms. If had to choose between oxygen and Snooze Button at this point would definitely choose Snooze. Decide stretching can wait till another day.Nine minutes later, alarm sounds. Reach for snooze button before becoming aware that the sound is supposed to inspire wakefulness. Need to make it stop. Return to drowsing. Decide core work not necessary today.Nine minutes later, alarm sounds. Arm extends toward Snooze button reflexively. Feel ok about shortening eight mile tempo run to 6.5 mile run

Nine minutes later, alarm sounds. Resign self to getting up eventually and running with baby in BOB stroller. Will do tempo run tomorrow, slow jog with baby in BOB stroller today.

Nine minutes later, alarm sounds again. Rub eyes, stand up and feel guilty and ashamed of self for not following through with plans because only losers do not follow through with plans. Lack of discipline is obvious sign of being a shitty person.

Have first sip of coffee. Decide maybe can live with self after all.

Scenario 2: Wake up with Baby Crying
Hear “Eh-eh” from baby’s room. Hope whining will die down and baby will fall back asleep. “Eh-Eh” escalates to whine which escalates to cry. Hope cry will stop after five minutes. Cry escalates to madness within three minutes, then abates. Fall back to sleep. Cry starts again. Cry becomes singing. Fall back asleep. Cry starts again.

After thirty minutes decide continued taunting cannot be tolerated and retrieve baby and bring her to big bed in hopes of quiet mom baby snuggle time. Feel baby’s full weight resting on your throat. Reposition baby without opening eyes. Baby scratches your face with the toenail she has refused to let anyone trim. Place baby lovingly on chest where offending toenail is far from your face. Baby gropes your nipples like drunk frat guy. Can’t take it anymore. Get up.

Feel nostalgic for the times when baby would entertain self in crib for first hour of day. Wonder which of your parental failings have resulted in baby’s inability to play alone. Take first sip of coffee and decide  maybe you don’t totally suck at parenting.

Scenario 3: Wake up Naturally (Obv a Fantasy)
Merely considering this causes urge to weep for pre-baby life, in which weekend mornings were often spent lazing in bed with husband and Styles section of New York Sunday Times, sometimes coffee. Feel guilty for yearning for old life especially upon noting your beautiful, healthy daughter is one of life’s most precious gifts and you are total ungrateful asshole. Repeat cycle of self-loathing/coffee drinking.

 Before Coffee
Seriously? My hair isn’t even awake yet.
 After Coffee
Much Better

This post was brought to you by the Finish The Sentence Friday link up. The prompt this week was “The hardest part about my day is…”

Please visit the FTSF hosts:
Stephanie at Mommy For Real,
Janine at Janine’s Confessions of  Mommyholic
Kate at Can I Get Another Bottle of Whine
and Dawnat Dawn’s Disaster.
Finish the Sentence Friday

Fourth Time’s Not A Charm: Our First Family Camping Trip

“Yeah, maybe I could hold this position for four more hours,” I whispered to Dan.The scene was not a tantric sex retreat but a camping trip gone awry.  It was 2am and we’d been awake with Sweet Pea since about midnight. I lay on my side, propped on my right elbow, her head nestled between my bicep and the inside of my forearm. My headlamp was buried somewhere between the air mattress and the tent wall and the location of my sanity was completely unknown. Which would explain why I thought I might maintain this pose until daybreak.

“Are you sure?” Dan whispered.

I was not. Tentatively, I moved my right arm. Perhaps I could transfer her from my body to the Pack and Play without waking her up if I did it one millimeter at a time. I’d tried this stealth maneuver unsuccessfully about 358 times over the past couple of hours but I thought maybe this time would be different.

She let out a whimper, which escalated to a shriek.

Over her cries, we heard an unmistakeable “F*ck you!” from the guys a few campsites away.  The first time, we allowed ourselves to believe it was not necessarily directed at us. This time, however, we were pretty sure it was.

I figured probably they were drunk, angry and armed and it was only a matter of time until they busted into our tent and held us at gunpoint, the natural result of our crying baby interrupting their drunken shenanigans. Or at least they were going to slash our tires and beat us up.

I whispered to Dan, “I am worried about those guys.”

I figured he would tell me I had read too many Ann Rule books and I should relax, they were probably harmless.  (It was actually the beating scene with the brother and the marine from The Paperboy I had in mind).

“I’m not really comfortable with them either.”

With that, we gathered the necessities: baby, diaper bag, wallets, and car keys and scurried into the night like the pair of bleary eyed, desperate adults and sleeping baby that we were.  We drove 17 miles to the nearest motel and settled in for the night. Thankfully Sweet Pea didn’t cry in the motel room because we didn’t have a Plan C or even the Infant Tylenol, which, in our haste, we left in the tent.

I wish I could say we were shocked to discover that camping with a 15 month old did not offer the restful, rejuvenating sleep we’d anticipated, but we had tried camping in the backyard, not once, not twice, but three times, all with similarly bad results.

Optimism being a powerful force in our household, we hoped the fourth time would be a charm. Surely, real camping would be different, we told ourselves. Spending the day at the camp grounds breathing fresh air, frolicking in the woods and swimming in the lake would fatigue Sweet Pea to the point where nothing could keep her from sleeping.  Except swimming was thwarted by cooler temps and higher winds than we’d expected and Sweet Pea’s frolicking took place mainly in the Pack and Play, as she played peek-a-boo while we attempted a much-needed mid-day family nap in the tent.

While our night did not go as intended, we were pleased to return to our tent in the morning to find it untouched by our neighbors. And we got to swim a little in the morning, before our reservation at the campsite expired. Sunday’s weather was perfect- exactly what had been predicted for Saturday, actually, though we were too sleep deprived to fully enjoy it.

At least now Dan can’t say I’m being a princess if I’m not enthusiastic about camping. I’m just being reasonable.

Seriously, though, do you camp with your kids? At what age did you start taking them? Have you had disasters? Successes? Have you learned any tips or tricks along the way?

Where was our sleeping cherub at 2am?