Anyone who knows me well knows that I am definitely not a morning person. I try my best to fake it because we are now at the point where my kids are in school and need to get there relatively on time. The evolution of my sleep life is something like this. I was, way back when, at one time, a morning person. I remember being the first one up after my dad and playing with toys with my younger brother in the family room until my mom and sisters would wake up on Saturday mornings. That pretty much ended once I hit junior high and found that it was quite refreshing to sleep in on weekends. In high school, weekend mornings were a great time to catch up on sleep and I attempted to break all sorts of records by sleeping into the afternoon. In college, I learned that when you’re young you can pull all sorts of crazy hours, can get by on a couple hours of sleep some nights as long as you have a break between classes and can take a nap. You can thoroughly enjoy all the social aspects of college because you can “catch up” on your sleep on the weekend. And for my early and mid-twenties, my friends and I pretty much had a great routine perfected where somehow we still drank from the fountain of youth and could go out Wednesday through Saturday nights and were still functioning Thursdays and Fridays during the day at work. We would also manage to go out Friday night, crash at a friend’s apartment in Arlington, get a couple hazy hours of sleep, roll out of bed or off our friend’s couch or just plain old roll off the blankets that were on the floor and go play in one of our social league soccer games. We’d grab some sort of super “healthy” brunch or lunch food afterwards, go back to our friend’s apartment and lounge all day, going in and out of naptimes, then get ready to go out again Saturday night.
Now move ahead in time about ten years and you have me in a constant state of sleep deprivation. While most nights and weeks are not so bad on the sleep-o-meter, every once in a while there will be a week that leaves me in my zany, manic, I-feel-like-I’m- talking-too- fast, I-need- more-coffee, but-that-will-only- make-the-situation-worse state. And don’t get me wrong. I have four, make that five(gotta count my first baby Moxie), wonderful reasons for not getting sleep. If I didn’t, I would have definitely gone way more bonkers by now.
A sure-fire way for any bystander to measure just how little sleep I have had the night or week before is to have a conversation with me. The more nonsensical the conversation, the less sleep I have gotten. Friday morning was a perfect example of this. The boys and I were heading to a coffee date with some of the other moms and siblings from Josie’s class. I called my sister Nikki as we were heading out of our neighborhood. As we were driving, I passed Jimmy’s preschool director and waved and told Jimmy to wave also. Nikki said to me: “I thought you were meeting people from Josie’s class.” My response: “We are, but Jimmy’s preschool is in our driveway so his preschool director was on her way.” As soon as the sentence came out of my mouth, Nikki and I both burst out laughing. His preschool is close to our house(2 blocks away), but not actually in our “driveway”. Another time, about a year or so ago, the kids and I were over at my parents’ house. I was talking to my mom and sisters in the kitchen and in the middle of the conversation actually said: “Wait a minute! Who said that? Me?” I can’t even remember the exact conversation and my sister-in-law may have also been there to witness this insanity, but I can’t remember details either. These moments humble me and give me a good laugh that lasts long after the annoyance of having to get up in the middle of the night with any or all of my kids.
My techniques to combat lack of sleep or rather having a negative attitude towards it used to be much more reward based and thus not so good for my budget: treating myself to Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts coffee on the way to work. It was an instant gratification method to put me in a positive state before starting my work day. I also used to hate hate hate having to talk to anyone in the morning before I had about an hour of peace to shower, have a cup of coffee and listen to some radio in the car on the way to work. Once the kids came that changed because obviously you have to “talk” to people when attempting to get these little creatures moving and ready in the morning. So starting back when Josie was maybe a little over two and we had her in a Little Kickers class(a mommy/daddy and me soccer program), I started a different technique to get myself and my people motivated and moving in the mornings. I began singing annoying little diddies that I would make up related to whatever we needed to get to. Thus “It’s Soccer Saturday in the (insert last name here- keeping this private since blogs are public) House!” rang out and was repeated every Saturday we had soccer. Since then we have substituted other words for “soccer” like “cleaning”, not quite as fun. I also like to force other horrible renditions of childhood camp or church songs or nursery rhymes upon my family members’ ears(think “This Little Light of Mine”, “Rise and Shine” “Moxie- do your ears hang low?”). I used to be able to get Josie and A.J. to sing along, but now they just tune me out. I even have a greeting that I yell to our neighborhood as I am opening all the curtains in the living room and kitchen and letting Moxie out in the morning. “Good morning, (insert our neighborhood’s name here- again keeping it private!)!!”- this is said in the same tone of voice and manner that Robin Williams said: “Good Morning, Vietnam!!!” where he held the last syllable extra long and loud.
These techniques are truly annoying to my little ones and husband I know. And I swear I have even seen Moxie bury her head under a pillow from time to time. But for whatever reason, they help me to fake it til I make it which really means Mommy seems like she is in a really great happy mood until the coffee does its trick. And while I would be mortified if anyone outside of my little family actually witnessed me exercising these techniques, in the confines of my own home, there is no shame.