People joke about standing around talking about the weather, but you know something? I think it’s a pretty damn important issue. It’s been like spring the past couple of days here, and even though I know full well we have a cold and wet March and most likely February coming, the weather has made me feel happy. I don’t mind cool weather, and I like grey rainy days most of the time, but spring coming feels really really nice.
Last night I woke up and heard the next door neighbor’s bathroom fan. It’s a very faint noise, but our bathroom exhaust fans share an outlet or something, so occasionally I can hear when it’s on. Anyway, I figured it was about 6 a.m. because that’s when they usually get up. I was in the girls’ room with no clock. I thought I’d get up and quickly clean up the bathroom since I didn’t get to it the day before, make some coffee, and pay bills before getting the kids up. I was feeling good and awake by this time and I was irritated to discover that it was 3 a.m. I knew I’d be up for a long time, but I didn’t want to wake John up by turning the computer on, (I’m not so into the book I started, but I’m not ready to give it up, either) so I just got in bed next to him where I fidgeted and thought about all the things I usually do in the middle of the night. Of course, those are the sorts of things that make me worry, and make it hard for me to sleep.
Tonight I’m still up past 1, but only because I so wanted to chill out and read blogs even if it means not sleeping when the kids are.
Doctor Sears is right at the top of my shit list right now. I didn’t read any of his books until after I became a parent. I just fell into the attachment parenting style out of instinct and laziness. Then I got hold of one of his books and I was converted the rest of the way. It made sense to me that if you meet all a child’s needs for dependence, the child will naturally strive for independence. That is logical, right? And when the boys were little and I worked thirty hours a week, I really enjoyed co-sleeping because I missed them during the day. I thought, sure, when a child is getting older, of course he or she will want a bed! to sleep in! alone! And breastfeeding. The child will wean him or herself. It’s a growing process and when the time is right the child will decide it’s time to move on. Maybe some kids do. Maybe Doctor Sears is full of it. (maybe I’m slamming Doctor Sears when it should be LLL, I’m too sleep deprived to think straight) And I’m not so sure I believe the part about his wife, Martha, getting the toddler to quit being a little troublemaker by giving him a special look.
Because here I am, over eight years later, crammed into a bed with four kids who NEED ME ALL NIGHT. Two of them still nurse, one of them (Nathan) not too long ago snuck in some nursing when I was sleeping, and the oldest one very recently asked if he could just nurse for a couple of seconds. I said, "WHAT???? NO!! Dude, you are eight years old, forget about it!" and honestly I had to make a concious effort to edit the f-word out from between most of those words. Sophie is interested in weaning so that she can go to preschool (I told her they don’t let kids who nurse go to school. Which could, concieveably, be true. Do you think there’s a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy?), until she wants to nurse, and then she says she doesn’t care about school.
Maybe I could find out the next time the neighbors will be away for a weekend and wean everyone from the breast and the bed. Maybe then I wouldn’t think about sticking hot pokers in my eyes when I’m being clawed by a three year old whining, "nee, nee, nee." Maybe the neighbors would have to be gone longer than a weekend. Oh, I don’t know, I just have this sinking feeling that I have been an over indulgent parent when I wanted to be a loving one and I’ve created little horrible monsters who need me to function. In other words, after four kids and eight years, I think I’ve been doing it all wrong. I’m not advocating the other extreme, but I think a more moderate approach would have been better.
I’ll ponder that more while I lie awake later.
Nate’s homework (besides making valentine cards) was to put together a little worksheet that tells some things he likes and what he’s good at. At the top is a place to paste a baby picture, but the name goes on the back, and the other kids have to guess who’s who. I had a hard time finding any copies of his baby pictures. I gave all the double prints I had to his dad when we split. But when I was looking, I came across the one where he looks like ET. It was taken just after he was born, and the doctor has one hand under his bottom and one supporting his head. It looks like he’s sitting up. He is purple. And bloody and gooey. His neck is way stretched out from having the cord wrapped around it. His eyes are scrinched shut and he’s crying. Overall, not really what his teacher had in mind. For some reason, it struck me that it would be very very funny if I put that picture on the paper. I can only imagine his teacher’s reaction. I laughed about it, so much, in fact, that I started to think I am finally entering the final phase of severe sleep deprivation, which is where you turn into a babbling idiot. I’m really really close.