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Thursday, March 30, 2006

Sleep Quest

My mood has been despicable since awaking this morning. My children have been in trouble for truly contemptible behavior, such as: laughing and playing nicely together (can you believe the nerve of them?).

Ok, so just to be clear, it is not typical for me to be so foul-mannered with my kids, but given that my sleep pattern the last few nights has been erratic and incomplete, I cannot tolerate even the most ordinary of situations. Last night Norah, for some reason, was awake screaming all night long. No matter what I tried she would not settle down unless I walked with her. Finally around seven-o-clock this morning, I laid with her in my bed, and she finally started to doze. So did I. At the exact moment that Norah's and my eyes began to close, two wide-eyed and animated children came bounding down the stairs and pounced onto my pillows, screaming "Good morning, Mom!! Good morning, Norah!!"

Now I knew that their behavior was justified since they had, you know, slept 10 hours at this point already, but my behavior was justified too, I believe, since I was critically lacking rest. I barked at them, "Be quiet, put your heads down and watch cartoons while I take a quick nap with Norah! Do NOT make a sound! Got it?!"

My cowed children slowly eased themselves under the covers, watching each other with astoundment. I comforted Norah until she fell back to sleep, and then I too closed my eyes... for four minutes. Apparently, it took less than five minutes for their fear of my conniption to be appeased, and then Abby and Georgie were back onto their feet, jumping all over my bed. And me.

Norah started wailing and my jaw immediately clenched. Abby and Georgie were banished to 'the step' until I could calm down. I was so tired at this point that my whole body was in shut-down mode. My brain was foggy and off-course. My muscles ached. I walked over to where my bewildered children awaited their release from time-out, and I asked them if we could try again. I explained to them that Norah had kept me awake the night before, and that we were both in need of a quick nap. I promised them both large-scale rewards if they would let me sleep for an hour. They seemed eager to please, so the four of us snuggled contentedly back into my bed. Norah was sacked out in less than three minutes. I was snoring in less than five. Abby and Georgie were whispering to each other and giggling quietly in less than seven. My eyes flew open and I could feel my blood pressure rising. When I look back on it, I know that they were just bored, and they were truly trying to be respectful of Norah and me as best as a five and two-year-old could, but at that moment I was too exhausted to be reasonable. They were immediately transported back to the step where I irately lectured them. I short-sightedly scolded them on topics such as courtesy and respect, obedience and good behavior, and a considerable amount of material that had no relation to the situation at hand. When I stopped for a breath and saw the frightened looks in my children's eyes, I saw that I was unrestrained and out of line. I quickly apologized to them for my impetuous behavior and excused myself to the bathroom. After washing my face and counting backwards from sixty, I took the walk of shame to apologize (again).

I am still on edge, but now, at least, I have stopped slamming doors and tantrumming. I am more aware of my short-fuse and can control it better when it begins to rise up. Norah just went down for a nap (finally) in her crib, and I think that if I keep Abby home from school today so that I have a better chance of uninterrupted sleep while Georgie naps, this evil quintessence will die out, and Abby and Georgie will have their mom back. Here's hoping.

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