I have had insomnia my entire life. I am of the cannot-fall-asleep in the first place variety but once I am asleep I can usually stay asleep. I mean, provided that I am not woken up by Patrick's middle of the night theories on dark matter or Edward's sudden realization that he is not being held or Steve brushing his goddamned teeth (no one will ever ever convince me that this habit does not take oral hygiene beyond the realm of Attentive and into the reaches of Crazy - although I admit he has nice teeth) or Caroline's distress when her reasonable desire to breathe through her nose cannot be accommodated... provided none of these things occur to wake me up I can usually rely upon a solid five or six hours. In other words, I have not had six consecutive hours of sleep in years. Which is fine; one deals as one needs must. But knowing that the likelihood that I am going to have another abbreviated night is in the neighboorhood of 1000% I try to do what I can to fall asleep quickly in the first place, which for me includes avoiding caffeine after a certain hour. I find that even a small cup of tea in the afternoon drastically impairs my ability to doze off before dawn.
I'm sure you can see where I am going with this: namely, the reason that I am sitting here eating coffee ice cream out of the container at 9:30 in the morning is because I suffer from chronic insomnia. All very reasonable. And thanks for asking.... STEVE.
Now that I think about it, a couple of you left comments recently asking about insomnia. Having taken anywhere from one to four hours to fall asleep for over thirty years I can tell you that it ranges in suckitude from merely boring (you are ten years old in a dark quiet house listening to the furnace for hours) to full-blown panic (you are thirty-seven years old and your husband is out of town and you are getting sick and you know that the children will be waking up in five, four, three, two... hours and you are going to have to deal but you will be so tired you will want to cry so you. must. fall. asleep. NOW. damn. it) but beyond that I have absolutely nothing to suggest. I heard exercise helps but I have never seen a difference, personally. Tylenol PM works for me a little but what am I going to do, take it every night until I die? Besides I cannot take any at this point in my life because if you are woken up too soon it makes you feel like you are trying to climb out of a bucket of glue. With Caroline and Edward still treating me as their personal concierge it would be a disaster. When I was younger I would read until they made me turn the light off. Then I would lie there. Now I read until I cannot keep my eyes open (this is how I go through about a book a day, depending upon the size and the subject - I tend to skip over plot lines that bore me. like War and Peace I finished in a few days but I skipped, you know, the war.)
Tangent: I got an email a while ago from a nice woman inviting me to be her friend at Goodreads. I had never heard of it so I went to check it out and thought it was charming. You review/rate books you liked or hated and then you have friends who do the same. I am always looking for new things to read (see above: nineteen hour days) and this seemed like an excellent way to receive reliable book recommendations. So I signed up, neglected to accept the friendvitation and forgot about it. Then a couple of weeks ago I got a second invitation from another woman. I was enchanted with her likes (chockablock Dorothy Dunnett and Austen) and amused to see that she also could not finish Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, a book into which I invested weeks before it slipped under the bed and stayed there. Again I thought about what a good idea this was for me, neglected to accept her invitation and forgot about it.
Today I managed to accomplish six impossible things before lunch and one of them was to log onto Goodreads, accept my invitations, and add the first five books I could think of to my profile. So I am officially open for good reading (via the same email address I have linked over there) and if you want to swap book stuff with me please do. Let's be reading buddies.
Speaking of which, when he was here over Christmas my brother mentioned that he had gotten in touch with an old friend of his via Facebook.
"Hey Jules," he said. "Are you on Facebook?"
I threw a glass of wine on my lap and had to excuse myself.
Once changed I returned to the group.
"Hey Jules," said my brother. "Are you on Fac... ."
"OH MY GOD IS THAT THE BABY?" I screamed and raced upstairs.
I dodged him all week but eventually he cornered me: "So I've been meaning to ask you - are you on Facebook?"
At which point I had to explain to my beloved brother that while, yes, technically, I do have a Facebook profile I would be forced to decline any attempt on his part to add me to his list of online well-wishers. To paraphrase Fred Astaire: I don't friend; don't ask me.
I have an addictive personality. I will always accept just one more glass of wine. I downloaded an arcade MAME a little while ago and played Q*Bert until four in the morning. I have never kept a pack of gum for more than an hour - recently I bought one of those little tubs of bubblemint thinking that five times more gum would last me longer but it just meant that I chewed my way through 60 pieces of gum at a rate of, like, one a minute. So within about two days of joining Facebook I realized that it was not going to work for me. I had been lured on by my oldest friend who mentioned that someone had posted pictures from elementary school visible only to friends; in much the same way someone might casually tell me that they just this minute opened a bottle of 1994 Screaming Eagle cabernet... was I sure I didn't want to try a little? Who can resist pictures of people they haven't seen in twenty... uh, fuck, twenty-five years? Not me. Thus, I joined and friended and was befriended and I had a rollicking time getting virtually reacquainted with all of my favorite people from the dear old school. And then there were the old pictures and people added other old pictures and current pictures and then new people joined and they added stuff and there was updating and chatting and the next thing I knew an entire weekend had passed during which I barely spoke except to say, "Oh my god look at who this is! It's old so-and-so, did I ever tell you about so-and-so, no, wow, I should, really, remind me, later, can't talk, friending... ."
So I backed away slowly and have not logged on since, which is a pity because I was about to join a virtual snowball fight with half of the people I loved best when I was 12. Facebook is a many-splendor'd thing and it's too bad that I am not to be trusted within a hundred clicks of the place.
Steve was gone this weekend and Caroline woke up Saturday morning with a weird swollen blister thing on the inside her lip that bled at the edges. It was all very plagues of Egypt and went a long way towards explaining her nonstop screaming the night before. With Steve in Florida my urgent care options were limited (don't go; go but take all three children - BLECH) but my friend Noelle not only answered her phone at 8:01 on a Saturday morning; she arrived at my door within half an hour. Her respected opinion was that the sore was part of Caroline's overall virus-cold thing so there was nothing to be done; but she tactfully supported my desire to go to urgent care anyway and agreed to let me leave her with two of her kids and my remaining two. Next she managed to make me not feel stupid when I returned with the news that the sore was part of Caroline's overall virus-cold thing and thus there was nothing to be done. Then she helped me decipher the cryptic ibuprofen dosage that the doctor gave me (I had been seriously underdosing Caroline; thus the inconsolable screamy screaming) and finally gave me the hint via her family practice doctor husband that made the rest of the weekend so much less nightmarish: when there is a need for extended pain management (like when a bloody little wound exists right on your sucking lip) one can alternate ibuprofen and acetaminophen, meaning motrin every six hours and tylenol in between. I tried it and that afternoon Caroline took her first nap in three days.
I love my friend Noelle.
This is one of those posts that I pick at all day long. I started with ice cream for breakfast and I am now at dinnertime for the babies. When I talked to my mom tonight I mentioned that I hope neither of the twinks has a shellfish allergy as they were getting shrimp for dinner.
My mother allowed for a significant pause before asking what, exactly, the plan was if either of the wonderbabies IS allergic to shellfish?
I cheerfully said, "Emergency room!" and she replied, "Since it's been two whole days since your last visit?" And although, DUH, GOD, it was URGENT CARE not the ER, and I TOTALLY know what I am doing MOTHER, I suppose an abominable shrimp allergy would fit neatly into the Old Testament weekend we were having. Next up: frogs!
So I gave Caroline and Edward pasta and carrots and shrimp for dinner and Caroline acted like it was an all she could eat shrimp buffet. She loved it. Then she got fussy and I went to take her out of her high chair and saw a red mark on her wrist with little welts forming. So I freaked out and started yelling about hives and fatal reactions and whatnot before Steve came over and realized that she had just gotten her wrist pinched by the seat. Thank heavens he's back or I would have called long-suffering Noelle again.
When Caroline isn't in horrible pain she has developed the following little habit: she climbs into an empty popcorn tin that the boy scouts conned me into buying this year and she gathers all of her toys around her.
I don't know why she feels this is something to be defiant about but clearly she does.
Edward initially thought this was a little weird.
But eventually decided to play and let play. She might be odd but she's his sister, damn it.
Edward has his own quirky habit which I regret I have not yet captured on film. He loves circles. They got a wooden shape puzzle for Christmas and Edward immediately gravitated towards it. At first he just chewed on the pieces but then it was like a light was turned on and he was, all, hey, if this piece can come OUT it can also go IN. So he started putting the pieces back into the puzzle. Or rather, the piece. He could only do the circle, which made me laugh every time. If you create a small enough sphere of expertise you can totally dominate it. This is how I became the world's leading internet expert on trying to conceive with a reciprocal balanced translocation between chromosomes one and four. But I digress. He has since gone on to nail the square and the triangle and the oval and the rectangle (no child born of man can fit that octagon in place; 'tis the devil's polygon) but his love of the circle persists. Last week he put the purple lid back on the jumbo desitin jar. Tonight he delicately picked up the cap to the baby shampoo and placed it back on the bottle.
"Are you done being compulsive so I can rinse you off?" I asked. He smiled.
Finally, a Patrick story which amused me:
I tucked him into bed the other night and he said, "I love the way the moonlight is shimmering on the icicles. It's so pretty."
I looked and agreed it was indeed very pretty. Then I complimented him on his phrasing.
"Maybe you'll be a writer," I said.
"No, I'm going to be an astronaut."
"Well," I said, like the tool I am, "then you'll need to do well in school and get into a good college. Lots of people want to be astronauts so it is a pretty competitive field."
"I know where I am going to college," said Patrick.
"I'm going to [community college whose building Patrick has seen from the highway] because I don't ever want to learn how to drive. That way you and Daddy can take turns driving me."
Ah. Well. Good luck with that.