Monday, October 13, 2008

Sleep Is for the Weak?

There's a great-looking book floating around the blogosphere these days called "Sleep Is for the Weak." It's a collection of essays written by an assortment of well-known mommybloggers (and daddybloggers?) about parenting. It's been on my book list for a while now, but I haven't gotten around to reading it yet.

I see links for this book daily, but it would probably stick in my head anyway, because the title is just so catchy. It is half joke, half reality -- a battle cry that unites us all as we venture forth into the frontlines of babydom.

But I there a point in time where the joke falls flat? Where that phrase brings tears of exhaustion to one's burning, bloodshot eyes? Where that book is shuffled to the very end of the reading queue, based on the title alone?

Because, let me tell you, I think that time might well be creeping up on me. If I were to see that book on the shelf of a local store, I would be equally likely to snatch it up in delight...or knock it to the floor and roll my car right over it, with nary a glance, depending on the day. (Which, translated, means, "depending on how much sleep I got the night before.")

Which brings me to my point: sleep issues. Nothing's working. Frustrated. Tired. Annoyed. Need solution. Yada yada yada, Round Number Seventy-Jillionty-Five.

Now if you find yourself in a similar situation, you already know what I'm talking about. Your specifics might be a little different, but that's relatively unimportant. You speak my language. You feel my frustration. You live my exhaustion.

You might be sleeping in a chair with your metal-braced or casted child. (hi, Rach) Or nursing during the night for the 7th year in a row. (hey, Gwen) Or simply up at 3 a.m. because your child is. (Penny, Lisa - greetings. *yawn*) Or coaxing your child to sleep each night, only to find yourself repeating it all over again several hours later. For nights upon months upon years on e...

Oh, sorry -- I nodded off for a sec. Now where was I?

Right. Seriously, what happens when the sleepless baby months stretch into years? Decades?? (Oh, goodness, I feel faint -- is it possible to last that long?! If any of you decades-weary parents are out there, I'm not sure I'm prepared to hear about that just yet, mmkay? Thanks. Let me stagger along in my steady belief that this will end. Somehow. Some day.)

What makes that book title clever is that the people saying it are, in fact, strong people who happen to be bravely and proudly doing without for a bit. But when the deprivation becomes chronic, those previously strong people might just find themselves quite literally shrivelling up into weaklings.

At least, that's what I find happening to myself these days.

Words -- nay, entire concepts! -- escape the tongue. Deadlines go unmet. Important papers are forgotten. Emails are unanswered. Partnerships disintegrate into scorekeeping. Patience is, itself, trying. Kindness masquerades as Optional. Sanity crumbles.

Blogs are hopelessly neglected. (*cough, cough*)

But back to the title -- "Sleep Is for the Weak." Hearing that phrase as one of the weakened, it begins to morph into a brilliantly simple solution. A soothing balm. A delicious promise. A lullaby, whispered gently in my ear. A Psalm.

Sleep, and you will be strengthened. Dream, and your visions will be restored. Snore, and the door shall be opened unto you...

I would like to propose a companion book, titled "Sleep Is for the Strong." I envision essays contributed by mommybloggers (and daddybloggers) who write about parenting children with disabilities. About living fully when the inevitable return of peaceful slumber hangs in doubt.

The irony is still there, of course. Because the people saying it are, in fact, weakened people who happen to be bravely and proudly -- strongly -- doing without for a bit.

It takes strength to sleep through the alarms or bleeps of life-assuring machines signalling problems. It takes strength to sleep in interrupted segments until the next scheduled feeding or necessary repositioning of an immobile child. It takes strength to sleep through the fear of what the next minutes or hours or days might bring. It takes strength to sleep when your child is not.

Again, the specifics are relatively unimportant; the common bond is still there. It takes strength to remain chronically sleep-deprived yet continue to seize the day.

Am I breaking down? Am I in the midst of a crisis? No, don't worry. It's simply Monday.

But I'm just sayin' --that hypothetical book? Sleep Is for the Strong? Well, that is a book that I would certainly snatch up in delight and shuffle to the TOP of my book list, regardless of the day.

Is anybody out there awake enough to write it? I'd like to pre-order, please.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Aaarrr, Me Mateys!

Recently, Max got off the school bus with some new eye patch, a fake earring, and a plastic sword. His bus driver was wearing a pirate hat, and she Aaaarrghed a farewell to him before setting sail.

Max's class celebrated International Talk Like a Pirate Day in school. (Isn't that a hoot?!)

They hunted for treasure & colored pirate-themed pictures, the Physical Therapist came into the classroom to help the kids walk the plank and crawl through tunnels, and, of course, they engaged in lots of crazy pirate talk. I love that his teacher finds such fun ways to work on goals while keeping the daily routine exciting.

Here's a glimpse of Max in full pirate mode:

He continued "Aaarrr-ing" all week. The sword was broken long ago, the earring is lost, I think the eye patch is around here somewhere...but the Pirate Talk lives on!

**Edited to add: Later, in the grocery store's dairy aisle, Max spied a pack of yogurt drinks decorated with the Backyardigans in pirate hats. He was really excited and grabbed a pack to carry through the store, insisting that we take them home.

-Avast! Do ye yellow-bellied sapsuckers a'fear the likes of the Dread Pirate Max?

-Uhm... Ahoy, there...let's just say I was fully supportive of that particular purchase.

So, anyhoo. Now snacktime is a rather noisy affair, as it inspires me to call out, "Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Ru--nny Yogurt! Aaaargh!!" And Max responds with his own gleeful "Aaaarrr!"

We're getting a LOT of mileage out of this one...

Saturday, October 4, 2008