Category: Sleep

Pass the Unity Cup, Please

Today has been a kitchen day. I like kitchen days. I feel, mostly, competent in the kitchen. I feel free to experiment, to explore, to attempt. And I’ve got some devoted helpers, suddenly, too. Fooey’s been all over the kitchen ever since last weekend’s supper extravaganza. And I’ve been letting her help more, too. There’s more mess, but so be it. She helped last night making Christmas cookies, unwrapping candy canes and smashing them with a rolling pin, then sprinkling them into our stained-glass cookies. And she helped again this morning, following along with a children’s recipe, and reminding me at various points: “I can do this, because the little boy in the picture is doing it!” And she can.
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It was Albus’s turn to plan and make supper. He chose lasagna, and was agreeable about what went inside. “Meat and cheese,” he wanted, and agreed to chicken and roasted red peppers (both of which we had frozen in the freezer), and even though he’d never heard of ricotta, he went along with the suggestion. He set up “stations” at the counter. One station for resting and drinking water. Another for grating cheese. A third without a stool. He also spent a long time chopping veggies for a raw veggie platter, which I’ve served with great success on a couple of recent occasions. But only because I’ve been cheating and buying non-local sweet peppers and cucumbers which might be grown in greenhouses in Ontario, but are probably harvested by exploited migrant labour.
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Supper was dominated by Fooey and her kikombe cup, which she made at school and brought home with chocolates inside to share. This is what the label said, for those not familiar with the Kwanzaa celebration (like me): “This cup represents a kikombe – a unity cup used in the celebration of Kwanzaa. There is a wrapped goody for each family member in the cup. Pass the cup during the holiday celebration to symbolize your family’s unity.” We passed the cup as soon as Kevin got home from work on Wednesday (Fooey’s last day of school before the holiday). She’d barely managed to wait for him to get home, she was so excited about it. So, the cup obviously means something special to her, and it’s not just about the chocolate. Tonight, she asked me whether we could pass the cup and put chocolates in it. I said we could pass the cup and put cucumbers in it, as we were in the middle of supper. She thought that would make the cup messy (she was right), so she agreed to pass it with imaginary chocolates for everyone. But we didn’t follow her rules properly, and so every attempt to pass the cup was prematurely halted by a Fooey screech: “Nooooooo!!! Now we have to start again!” “Mmmm, my favourite chocolate candy,” was a verboten phrase, for example. This went on and on to the point of intense comedy, until we were all in stitches, even Fooey, who apparently could at least dimly grasp the absurdity of her demands. I’m not sure we ever successfully passed the cup. (Kevin and I both told the kids that neither of us had learned anything about the celebrations of other cultures and religions, when we’d gone to school. The kids were genuinely puzzled. “Hannukhah can be spelled at least seven different ways,” AppleApple informed us.)
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And there she is, moments ago, fallen asleep in our bed, where we let her read till Fooey falls asleep (they disagree about whether the door should be open or closed when falling off to sleep; plus AA likes to read at length before bed–where did she get that from?).
And if you haven’t guessed, yes, you are looking at a genuine Fooey-made replica of a kikombe, above.

I Don’t Want a Blow-Drier

The itch to write exists. But our week is dull and commonplace. No, that’s not being fair to this fine and worthy week among many. In fact, when I think about it, lots is happening that is good and blog-worthy.

Such as: new haircut! AppleApple’s been taking photos in the evening, which we let her do with the caveat that we may erase all/any–so I’ll have to check out her most recent batch to see whether there’s one of Mama-Carrie-post-haircut-and-pre-last-night’s-sleep, because sadly, I can never replicate my hairdresser’s blow-dried look. It would help to have a blow-drier, I do realize that. But I don’t want one. So I’ll be satisfied with the bed-head version and reminisce till the next cut about what was, oh so briefly, my swingy fresh new “Mom” hair. (Note: Have found and duly posted pic, above, but wonder where she found that chin I’m wearing.)
Which reminds me–Fooey has started addressing her parents on a first-name basis. Such as, “Good morning, Carrie!” Um. And good morning to you, too, daughterly acquaintance.
Also blog-worthy: I have not nursed CJ these past two nights. He’s woken and requested the service, but in my overwhelming weariness and desire to sleep more than two hours at a stretch, I have declined. The first night, Kev was still as hockey, so I went in solo, picked up the lad, explained that we would not be nursing till morning, and that it was sleeptime, and then spent approximately twenty minutes gently laying him back down, and waiting beside his crib (we have a method–he knows the method, and he understood the futility of debating at length). He woke at 7, and I brought him into bed to nurse and snuggle before getting up to start our day. Last night, I sent Kevin in. This was rather more painful because CJ kept yelling for me, and because he woke up poor Albus, who shares his room, and also woke up AppleApple who woke up Fooey. Hello, 1:30 in the morning. But within half an hour, everyone was back to sleep, parents included. And CJ slept till 7, again. With a few extra consecutive hours of sleep caressing my brain-cells, I definitely wake with a greater desire to get out of bed in the morning.
But … must get back to work. Make hay while the sun shines. Metaphorically speaking, of course. Out my window it’s a damp grey. Permanently everlastingly grey. Tonight’s my last class. I’ll miss the outing, but perhaps not the preparation required to make it happen. And … what next? Honestly, I haven’t a clue beyond Christmas.
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Just remembered that Nina and I each chose a word of the year last January. I’m pretty sure mine was Imagine. I wonder whether that’s been put into use this year, at all. In some ways, I think, yes, it has. I’ve imagined myself doing different things, and have tried out doing them. But much of what I’ve ended up doing seems to fall from the sky in the form of luck and happenstance. And could just as easily drift away. There’s no anticipating this stuff, and no grabbing it either.
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Finally, if you scan down the right-hand side of this page, I’ve added a link to my review of Annabel Lyon’s The Golden Mean. Through a connection from my long-ago job at the National Post, I’ve gotten work reviewing a couple of books every month for a magazine called Lake Simcoe Living. More reviews coming soon.

tired, so tired

There are a bunch of good pics on my camera which I haven’t downloaded because they include a couple that aren’t so good–of some baby animals the kids found in the woodpile that looked a whole lot like newborn rats. I’m too squeamish to look at them.

So today’s post will be unillustrated. Next time.

I’m deep in the throes of sleep deprivation, and it feels so prolonged, so never-ending, that I’m feeling semi-defeated by it. Last night, I was cleaning up puke (another story, not so long; it wasn’t mine, it was a child’s), off and on till 1am, every hour or so till the source was declared completely empty, when finally I slept. Then was woken every hour till sometime after 3 when I managed to string two full hours of sleep together, then it was back to the broken stuff–in and out of bed, answering multiple calls. I’m a firm believer that to feel really well-rested, you need three consecutive uninterrupted hours of sleep. This has become so rare as to feel like a meaningless prescriptive. CJ still nurses twice a night, or more, and Fooey is often up once to use the bathroom, and last night … well, when the puking started I really thought I might suffer a nervous breakdown. This is the fourth time since December that someone (usually a solid family majority) has gotten “the barfing thing.” Look, I know that life with six people in one house is complicated. I accept this. Life generally is complicated. Bodies are vulnerable and imperfect. I get all of that. But I feel suddenly sapped of my ability to appreciate the fun. There is fun, right? Everything feels so damn serious. I’d like to appreciate, for example, getting dressed up and dancing. I’d like to rest, to let my mind slow down, to read a book all the way through, to stand still in the sunshine, to sit down.

To go and whine no more.

First Tooth


He’s sprouted his first tooth! Given our other children’s record with cavities, we decided to waste no time. The bristles probably felt good on those gums. Fooey is this evening’s photographer.
In other news, Kevin’s acquired a cane. Next, he’s getting a top hat and tap shoes and a monocle.
Sorry. My brain is getting mushy from prolonged sleep deprivation. Today I lost the car keys three times in the span of five minutes, just by putting them down different places while thinking about something else. I had to use a spare set to pick the kids up from school. But we were delivered a supper which I’m going to stretch into two: veggie lasagne. With garlic buns tonight. How about with salad and bread tomorrow night? Thanks, neighbour chefs, small and tall.
The viral thing that’s plagued our two youngest seems to be abating. And CJ has officially learned how to fall off to sleep all by himself. This is an unexpected side effect of the broken knee: we no longer had time to rock, sing, walk, or otherwise coddle the lad off to sleep; turns out he didn’t need all that fussing around anyway.

President Obama, Are You Getting Enough Sleep?

This is me trying to capture a particular expression that’s been haunting my face recently; not a good one: a pair of verticle frown lines pressed between my eyebrows as I worry about something or other, not even realizing I’m worrying or frowning. Sometimes accompanied by muttering, too.
An Obama dream this morning: President Obama and his chief of staff come into the room, and President Obama sits on a plushy sofa, relaxed, humourous, but clearly exhausted. An aide holds a cellphone to his ear and he has a brief conversation. He tells us that he’s just been kidnapped and released, but that it wasn’t very serious. I say, “President Obama, are you sure you’re getting enough sleep? There are so many people counting on you, and you really need to get your sleep.” He admits he probably isn’t. I’m worried. He shrinks to baby-size, and I put him into a stroller and go to pick up the other children and their many many friends for a giant playdate.
Wake up. Say to Kevin, “Oh, I was having such a great dream.” It’s early morning, CJ is in bed nursing, and he’s feverish. As I describe the dream to Kevin, he starts to laugh: “If you’re dreaming about sleep WHILE you’re sleeping, maybe you need more sleep.”
Oh, yes I do. Can I have a dose of the kind called Beauty, please?
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