Day 45: Amuck, Amuck, Amuck!

(I have an updated picture of the paper chain to put here, but I'm having problems with the system...again....so I will add it when I can.)

Last night before bedtime I really felt that our household was descending into Lord of the Flies status. I know the book was rife with serious social implications, but to be honest with you I think it was forced on me early enough in my literary education that my memories of it are only slightly more grim than A Series of Unfortunate Events, and the only specific recollection is of the pig's head and that the little twins in the story started out with separate names and ended up glummed together with one name because of whatever symbolism William Golding was going for. I don't even remember the twins' name(s). Not a favorite read of mine, as you can tell. But I do know when life on the Code Yellow island starts resembling it.

My sons, Calhenry, have been in serious need of some holy institutional terror since we returned from "vacation." I hesitate to complain because those closest to me know how I have whined for the last year and a half that I just wish I could sleep in - just one day! (And the fact that I whined about that when my kids are pretty much 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. sleepers - I am a slug, pure and simple.) We returned in the wee hours of the morning last week and I thought as I drifted off to sleep that the boys would be up between 6:30 and 7 like usual, so I had precious few hours of rest before then. Imagine my surprise when I seriously did not open my eyes until 9:50 a.m., and both boys continued to sleep until 10:30! Could my wish be coming true?

Apparently between the late bedtimes out west because the sun was still up and lots of family was around, and the time difference once we returned, waking 3 to 4 hours later than usual adds up to demonstrate that their little sleep clocks are pretty much on. That first day it was a blessing. But the pattern continued for four more days. The kids were getting rest, so was I, but guess who was going batty? The mom. I think I am unable to sleep in anymore. Well, I can sleep, but I can't tolerate the kind of day that comes after the sleeping in.

My boys were eating cold pizza for breakfast/lunch at 11:07 a.m. in front of the TV the other morning - we had all only gotten up 30 minutes earlier. That was the beginning of the end. My day was half over, so why start something productive, and since they just woke up, when should they nap? If I nap them when they are ready on this daylight saving time* warp (4 p.m.), they don't wake up until what should be dinner, bath, bedtime, so that gets pushed back to much later at night, and the sleeping in continues. If I don't nap them, the knot in the end of our rope comes untied. My one achievement of a structured existence - good sleep habits - dangled tenuously off a high precipice...

So I took control yesterday and it was a serious bawl fest for a little while. Cal ended up "prowling" a good part of the night, (drinks, potty, snuggles, his bed, my bed, etc.) but all in all, I think we are about back to what it should be - they went to bed at a reasonable hour last night, I stayed up much too late afterward reading and doing "me" things, and then they were up earlier than I personally wanted to be, but they had gotten a full night in, so it's my own fault that I am not rested. Yeah, sounds whacky, but that's normal and somehow better. My own view and use of the day is just much better if I don't snooze through half of it. It also prevents the feeling of being back in a college dorm...with two children. And, perhaps more than that, their sleep is my hiatus, so if we're all staying up together and sleeping in together, I never get to do any non-mom stuff.

Of course other things besides sleep habits have disintegrated around here.

One of the more difficult things about being the only parent around is that it seems I have to do twice as much correcting/disciplining, and Calhenry tend to arbitrarily push the normal limits since there's no one-on-one at the moment. And that causes me to "lose it" a little more frequently, and the "losing it" behaviors are what Calvin seems to replicate most readily. Not fun to watch, and really difficult to "un" teach. With no back up. So the outbursts of frustration are multiplied on all sides, and Calvin is now in a pretty perpetual hitting, pushing and YELLING mode, Henry follows suit, and pretty soon, I can't really say very firmly, "Screaming is not OK." Because well, it's what I feel like doing, too. Don't get me wrong, we're holding it together a little better than all that, but I think all of our coping mechanisms are a leetle frazzled.

My sunburned shoulder has peeled THREE times. I have the fair skin curse and forgot to reapply sunscreen after playing in the lake, or else the life jacket rubbed it off or something, but I got fried on just a small strip of my upper arms and a little on my back. Oh, and my shins. Guess how many times Calhenry have jumped on, grabbed, or otherwise touched my lobsterness? I also never realized how many times they kick me in the shins on a daily basis. YeoWWch. But now we're down to the itchy stage, so I just feel like a member of the wild kingdom, trying to get my young to scratch where I can't reach, or standing in doorways rubbing up against the doorframe like a bear against a tree.

And a great deal of the summer play fun has been curtailed since our return because the sandbox surrendered to the babies of the creature - literally hundreds of them, and they built tunnels and intricate systems of habitation in the sand while we were gone. So I am trying to figure a way to evict them so that the boys have a place to dig and play in our own backyard, since it's so hot that by the time we get to the park we just want to come home.

The car is in the shop because of the fender bender (actually, side panel bender) I was in a couple months ago that I didn't blog about because I don't want to talk about. (It involves admitting that I drove badly.) We dropped the car off today and it was supposed to be done by Wednesday, but it won't be until Friday now. Sigh.

So we have another quick succession of busy nothings mixed with a bit of grouch-induced havoc. Hardly your best-selling indictment of human nature, but a little more believable than a girl who invents things, a boy who reads voraciously and remembers everything, and a baby whose primary talent is biting things.

Of course, there is a bit of all that around here, too. Do I unwittingly have a book with movie options in the making?


Super Happy Girl said...

I'd watch the movie, after reading the book of course.

Sorry about the Lord of The Flies feelings, hope Calhenry get much better soon. It's tough with little kids and changes in sleep patterns...who knew?.
I had not seen you paper chain post before, that's so sweet, you are a good mommy...even if you feel like crawling under the bed sometimes.

In years (hopefully even months) from now you'll remember all this and laugh about it :D


someone else said...

It sounds like the overload letdown that happens following a really special time or event. I hope you return to "normal order" soon and let me know when the movie comes out.

rena said...

I agree with Morning Glory..sounds like Calhenry are still in overdrive. You have your hands full but maintain a cheery attitude, at least that comes through in your writing. I admire you. Not sure I could have done what you're doing, alone, with my husband gone.

Millie said...

I'd have a really, really hard time not letting them stay up late and sleep in (which is what we were doing until yesterday). It's summer, and I really love not being on a schedule and letting things take their own natural pace. So I admire you for being so disciplined! What a good mom.

Angela said...

Hey, this could have been my last month almost verbatim. I always forget to account for the chaos vacation causes, when the "vacation" is over. Combined with your own sheer exhaustion from vacationing, it isn't pretty.
I just got my laundry done from our trip in May. Oh wait, that was my sister who got it done.
My inability to cope with the post-vacay chaos creates wonderful parenting moments, repeated back 3 year old style, "Man uh-wive mom, dit a drip!" and "It is not otay to make me take a nap. EVOH!"
Yeah, that "ever! hollered at the end of my tirade is the pinnacle of my fine parenting, post-vacation.

T.S. Eliot said...

I love your paragarph on your sunburn. What hilarious mental images!

One of the books Elijah flipped through after hurling it onto the floor this morning? Lord of the Flies. creepy.

I'll totally watch your movie, but not before I read the book. The book is always so much better.

Are Calhenry too young for the water park at Six Flags over on 214? Isn't there one in Alexandria too?

Unknown said...

I remember that travelling from West coast to East coast--it just messes with their schedules, especially if you are gone as long as you were.

I'm glad that the chain is coming along.

The Amazing Trips said...

Sounds a lot like my college days. Sleeping in until 10:30, eating pizza at 11 AM - - peeling like an onion.

You're only on day 45?! Gosh darn. God speed good woman, God speed.

Nettie said...

Okay, all I can say is