Friday, May 13, 2011

Why does everyone around me have to breath?

Every once in a while, I'll have an inordinately hard time falling asleep, usually on Sunday nights for whatever reason. This really irritates me when I know that I have to get up at 5:15 the next morning. I mean, this really irritates me, which only leads me to fume and toss and thrash and continue to just be awake. In the last month, I've had three such nights, which is rare. During the school year, I know that I'll be sufficiently wiped out mentally to be able to fall asleep pretty easily every night. It's a sleep-to-wakefulness ratio that seems to work.

So this is beyond irritating to me at this point. I'm at the point where I go to bed almost expecting to stay awake because even on the nights that I do fall asleep, it seems to take me a little while longer. Last night, around 11:52, while I'm settling into our surprisingly-comfy-to-sleep-on couch, I realized that this is a unique time of day for me, should I be awake. It is around this witching hour that all of this inevitably scrolls through my mind.

*Various shades of annoyance and downright anger at Ben. I'm an irrationally light sleeper in general, which has caused anyone who lives with me grief for years. But really, how can I be expected to sleep when he's laying there breathing beside me??? It's completely impossible! The loudest sound EVER! And he refuses to entertain the idea of either his & her bedrooms or a king-sized bed. I'm especially irate about this at 11:52 p.m.

*The dishwasher always seems to be running on nights when I can't sleep. Which means that I can't just move to the couch because it is a mere 10 feet from the offending dishwasher, which, understandably, is a million times louder than Ben's breathing. Hence, I am forced to stay in bed. My irate-ness continues.

*Normally, the dryer is good white noise for me to help drown out Ben's unfair breathing. But on nights that I can't sleep, it's another instigator of my irritatedness. Our utility room is across a hallway space from our bedroom, but I've already been trapped in my bed because the couch is too close to the dishwasher.

*Silence. This is the WORST!!! Mostly, because it allows me to hear BEN'S BREATHING!!!!!

So the couch has been my bed of choice lately, despite the clock that incessantly ticks. For some reason, if the dishwasher is done and if the dryer isn't running, then this is a good place to be.

But then again, I always have the baby monitor turned on because you never know when my child will turn rooster. And, then, you know what...I can hear Abby's b-r-e-a-t-h-i-n-g.

Sometimes, the hardest part of my day is trying to go to sleep.

Friday, May 6, 2011

It's nights like this

Supper was not a fun event tonight. And while I won't over exaggerate and say that it happens all of the time, it's not *infrequent* either. Part of me doesn't want to write this because my pride dictates that I only present a happy-at-all-costs facade, especially since I can decide what is put on this blog and edit out anything that isn't complimentary. But you know what, my parenting isn't that pretty, so I dare say that there would be little to write about.

Ben's 100% married to track right now, and there's still about 1/3 of the season left. They started on Feb. 14th, and it's been one never-ending season. Right now as I wallow in my own self pity, I want to blame this on Ben and say "Because you aren't here a lot, I have to do more than my fair share (yeah, I know...whatever that is!), and I need a break." I want to be able to blame someone other than myself for the veritable disaster at dinner tonight which left me in tears and Abby laughing. And while I know that she wasn't vindictively laughing at me, IT SURE FELT LIKE IT!!!

So it's nights like these that re-affirm how much parenting is fail fail fail fail. Are the good parents the ones who cover their failings the best or who hide them most skillfully? You know, giving an almost 2-year dinner who can adequately feed herself a little bit of food is fairly simplistic. Easy. So how did we end up in a standoff where she alternated between playing peekaboo (I turned my chair and ignored her), pretending to be asleep (really hard not to laugh; I turned my chair to ignore her) and poking (at) me saying "Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!" (I still turned my chair and ignored her).

I know that part of my sobbing is the determination that my daughter WILL learn to eat well and enjoy healthy food. So a mealtime like this feels like a slap.

I refuse to use dessert as bait. (I actually got her favorite lovey out of the dryer, which she had been neglected of all day, and used that instead. It worked insofar as she kinda took one bite.) I hate doing the "3 more bites and you can..." tactic because I want her to learn to listen to her own hunger cues. But then again, if she's telling me that she's not hungry, why am I trying to force her to eat even just a couple of bites of food? How do I learn the difference between "I know what's best for you" and "I must respect your own innate self"?

I crave "parenting talk" and seek it out a lot specifically for help, tips and validation of what I'm stumbling through. But it can be tough to be in a conversation with another parent and admit that I'm really struggling with whatever issue. So I'm going to put this out there seeking maybe not so much advice (though welcome) but commiseration. It's good to know that I'm not the only one who struggles with knowing how to parent. More often than not, it seems that I am. I think that "we" all have on the I-must-not-admit-my-failures filter. Well, I'm admitting one of mine, of which there are many. Maybe I'll slug though another one on a different day.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Art of Racing in the Rain

I know, this is late for the book that I read in April. And actually, that's something of a misnomer--"read."

April was a month of re-discovering free time for me. But what I'm still finding to be true is that I've had such a dearth of it for so long and I have so many things that I need to work on or want to do that my free time at night is about 1 1/2-2 hours and it's full full full full full of stuff. Suddenly, it's 9:30 at night and I kick myself again thinking, "Drat, I wanted to read tonight."

It was about 1/2 way through April and I hadn't really begun any new reading project when my kids started talking about this book, The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. Not only were they talking, but they were raving about this book, even kids who I know are non-readers. That sounded like high enough praise, so I tracked down a copy and dug in.

Actually, there's wasn't much to dig into, unfortunately. It's not as bad of a book as I'm going to make it seem, but here's my honest take on it.

It has flaws:
*The writing is often crass and at times monotonous. Sometimes, there are passages of poignant writing, but...
*The narrator is a dog. And this isn't Watership Down.
*There's a ton of detail about open car and open wheel racing (are those the same? I'm not even sure.) I like sports, but...
*This means that the whole philosophy of the book is based on fairly cliched sports truisms. Which makes the crass writing sometimes smarmy.
*The technical writing is around an 8th grade writing level, but...
*The content is definitely adult at times, which means that the content doesn't really match the intended audience. Bedroom scenes (yeah, plural), really?!?

Ultimately, I didn't have any desire to finish it even though it's a quick read and I was 2/3 of the way through. I found myself irritated with every character. There wasn't a single one that redeemed the book in my eyes. I mean, every character had flaws that were loathsome if not disgusting, the only exceptions being the dog (super crass) and the little girl (a flat character who wasn't even likable).

I'm not a person who has huge issues with the reading that is taught in schools. If anything, I'm the very opposite of that person, but still, I have issues with this book. I can see how kids would like it, but what are we sacrificing by using it? Morals? Propriety?

It could have been a great book...