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surviving without sleep - a prerequisite for parenting

We had a great start to February here in the toddler den. January seemed to find either me or Harvey sick at all times. There was a lot of throwing up, and crabbiness, and on days when we seemed kind of okay we still couldn't go outside. It was rough. But as the month drew to a close it seemed we were pulling out of a funk. Harvey spontaneously started acting pleasant and independent. I found I could actually sit down for three minutes at a time without screamed orders to stand up or get some toy or food item. Harvey learned how to play on his own in short bursts. He also magically became compliant in helping with household chores. Suddenly I could use his nap time for resting rather than accomplishing every possible thing that needed to get done in they day. It was absolutely magical.

For like a week.

Then yesterday Harvey decided to give up napping. He's just, like, over it. Only, he absolutely NEEDS to nap because by noontime I can see his brain leaking out his ears. Along with all his independence and pleasantness and anything that can do anything but hang onto my leg and whine. But despite that fact he just. won't. sleep.

My air of cool calm restedness left me this morning. Look, starting at midnight last night I was back and forth to his toddler bed three times. The third time it took me an hour to put him back to sleep. I don't remember if I slept at all after 3am. So how it felt by noon today when he refused to nap was that I'd been on the job for 12 hours straight without so much as a pee break. I mean, I peed sure, but while holding a conversation the Harvey side of which read, "mama done? mama all done? mama all done soon?"

At lunch he cried for rice in a non-stop monologue of "RICE COMING? RICE COMING?" while I was scooping out the goddamn rice, so I threw the spoon on the floor and yelled, "I'M GETTING IT! STOP SCREAMING AT ME!" When he shook the table with the lamp on it for the SECOND TIME after I ALREADY TOLD HIM TO STOP I picked him up, ran up the stairs, and threw him in his bed for a time out. I didn't do it altogether gently.

I am learning that a 30-minute break in the day goes a loooooooooong way. With it I am composed and loving caretaker, a creative teacher, a skillful housekeeper. Without it I am an authoritarian tyrant, or worse, a bipolar maniac. I give up on the concept of dinner.

Just this weekend I was telling someone how much easier life gets as Harvey gets older. Ha ha ha ha ha.

The truth is, I guess I just gotta take what I get from moment to moment. Sometimes life is lovely and sometimes it's about surviving.

Harvey is sleeping now. I tricked him into a late nap. Dan will be home in an hour. Maybe we'll go out for McDonalds, and then I'll go to bed at 7pm. For the remainder of his nap I have 3 books laid out in front of me: the bible, a knitting pattern, and a library book on backyard chickens. Hey, I'm nothing if not optimistic.

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