Insomnia BLARGH

I have been dealing with insomnia for—let me do the math here, when was my first son born?  Oh yes, NINE YEARS now.  My biggest problem is that I have racing thoughts.  Ever wonder what that’s like?  Here’s a little snippet from Monday night:

It’s raining.  OMG, THE BOUNCY HOUSE IS GOING TO GET RUINED!  Oh yeah, I brought that in earlier.  OH CRAP I HAVE TO MAKE VINCENZO A SECOND BIRTHDAY CAKE ON SUNDAY.  That’s only six days away!!  I almost forgot!!!!!  What if I had forgotten?  I wonder if Rocco is constipated.  Hm.  I wonder if I’m constipated.  Gah, we forgot to make a Friday Field Trip list today.  Wow, it’s really raining.  OMG, THE BOUNCY HOUSE!  Oh yeah, it’s put away.  Vincenzo wanted a lemon cake with lemon custard filling.  I hope I don’t forget to make it.  What if I forget to make the field trip list tomorrow, and then I forget to do it the next day, and then I keep forgetting to do it and then we never go on any Friday Field Trips because I forgot to make the list?  I’m freaking out!  Sh. Go to sleep. Seriously, Rocco is spending a lot of time in the bathroom lately.  He probably needs more fiber.  Or OMG, what if he is gluten intolerant?  What if I have to start cooking gluten free food and we all have to eat rice crackers all the time?! Rain. I’m glad I brought the bouncy house in. OMG, THE HAMMOCKS! THEY’RE STILL OUTSIDE!

That’s about 60 seconds worth of racing thoughts there. Multiply this by 60 to 120 times, repeat two to three times per night, and you’ll know what my nights are like. I wake up in the morning feeling like I have battled demons. Like I had a fever that broke. Like I drank and partied all night. I eat an entire loaf of bread for breakfast (it really does feel like a hangover), then maybe a bowl of ice cream followed by another loaf of bread.  It feels like there are toothpicks keeping my eyes open and I really wish they weren’t, but as I am driving the kids to school at that moment, it’s probably a good thing they are.

At some point during my falling-asleep process I usually get up to make a list of all the things I don’t want to forget in the hopes that my thoughts will quiet down.  Then I close my eyes to go back to sleep and new list items keep coming, or things that I can’t put on a to-do list because they’re just freaking-out thoughts about global warming or sleeper cells or lemon custard cake recipes that turn out dry.

When Kevin comes home from work I ask him how his day was and he shakes his head and says, “It was rough.  We had to fire someone, but at least it wasn’t me…for now.  How was your day?”  I tell him I couldn’t fall asleep for my morning nap, so it was pretty much as miserable as his day was. He thinks I am joking. I tell him to look at my face.

I went to a sleep clinic this summer and they told me that my problems are not biological, and the doctor kept trying to find a nice way to tell me they’re mental. It’s okay, I told him. I already know that.

Sometimes I take a sleeping pill. Sometimes I listen to hypnotherapy.  That kind of works, sometimes.

I’m pretty good at staying asleep once I fall asleep, unless I get an interruption.  If I get an interruption I am usually up for about an hour.  Interruptions include, but are not limited to: Vincenzo taking a midnight bathroom break, Rocco screaming, “MAM!  MAM!” because he had another “nightmeer”; Leo yelling that he went poop, Kevin breathing loudly, and me having a “nightmeer.” I get them almost nightly. Don’t ask what they are about—they are about incredibly stupid things like being late for a play date.

Actually, sometimes they’re better than that, like last week when I found myself covered in bees in the middle of the night, or the one last weekend where I was drowning in a four-foot-deep pool.

Last night it took one bedroom change (technically a bed-to-couch change, since we don’t have an extra bedroom) and three music CDs before I finally, finally started drifting off to sleep an hour and a half later.  How do I know it was an hour and a half later?  Because at exactly 11:00, when I was almost completely asleep, the house alarm went BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP!

For absolutely no reason.

Well, for one reason: so I could draw Creeper and Skeleton faces on two dozen plates, since I was already wide awake.

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I was finally ready to sleep again at 12:30, so I put on my CD and laid there for an hour and finally, finally, drifted off to sleep. And then…

BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP!

So I made this.

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In conclusion, insomnia: not great for moods, marriages, or life spans, but excellent for planning the perfect party.

It comes highly unrecommended.

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE*
Roasted fall vegetable and ricotta pizza
Tomato/roasted red pepper soup
Banana bread

*Back by popular demand!**

**(One person asked me if I was going to start posting dinners again.)

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Keep Calm and Perler On

A couple weeks ago I bought a big tub of perler beads in preparation for Vincenzo’s Minecraft party.

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I had no idea what I was starting.  The kids have been even more obsessed with making Minecraft characters out of perler beads than they are with actually playing Minecraft, which I didn’t think was possible.  We come from a long line of obsessive people, so whatever you’re imagining: double it.

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It’s not hard to do—Rocco just asks me to “Bring over the Internet,” so I set my computer on the table and we look up images of Minecraft perler beads and the boys get to work.

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Even Leo gets into it.  Here is a finished work he calls “A zombie and a spider.”

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In order to get the beads all melty, I have to iron them.  When I discovered this, I racked my brain for what the word “iron” meant and in some dusty corner of my brain the concept of ironing returned and I went to the depths of my closet and even found an iron that we actually owned!  So now the kids spend hours perler beading and I spend hours ironing.

The thing is, I realized I kind of like ironing.  It makes our clothes look so brand new, and the kids don’t bother me when I’m ironing because they have great respect for an activity that sometimes produces stuck-together perler beads.  And so, peace has reigned in our kingdom since the discovery of perler beads.

We did run into a little hiccup the other day, though.  Let’s identify some of the parts of this picture:

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I looked over one afternoon to see Rocco blissfully perler beading next to an empty glass laying sideways on the table, the table itself looking like a shallow lake and my computer sitting there nonchalantly in the shallow lake, all la-ti-da.  Only things weren’t all la-ti-da.  Things were broken.  Very broken.

Rocco had broken the Internet.

The good news is that Kevin is some kind of soothsayer who predicted this very event two years ago when he purchased the computer, and he had bought an extended warranty.  He took the computer back to the Microsoft store where they let him pick out a brand new computer!

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(If this computer were a car, it would totally be a low-rider with a thumping base, am I right?)

Peace has once more been restored to our kingdom.

In conclusion, I highly recommend perler beading for any of you with kids.  The kids will be happy making creations, your clothes will look sharper than ever, and if you play your cards right, you will end up with a brand new computer to boot.

For once, my kids are the reason we can have nice things!

MrsMouthy Gets a Little Sad

This, dear readers, is making me so sad this week.

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No, not the mess or the three shades of paint in the wall—it’s the deconstruction of our nursery that is fairly breaking my heart.

I have always loved this room.

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I remember installing the hardwood floors, pregnant and nauseous but full of optimism, hope, energy, dreams.  I remember the furniture trickling in with each holiday and baby shower that passed that first pregnant year.

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Everything in this room has a beloved relative’s name attached to it, a story, a purpose.  It was all chosen by a young mother-to-be who knew nothing yet of babies but who couldn’t wait to learn it all. 

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A mother-to-be who had time to carefully fold, put away, and label everything in the room, once upon a time.

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Everything in this room comes with a story, like the beautiful cross-stitch from a good family friend and how she brought tubs of Ben & Jerry’s and we sat there eating ice cream and marveling at this tiniest of creatures I had made. 

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And the chicken on the floor rug that our cherished cat, Rocky (rest in peace), always attacked with a move we called “kangaroo pants.”  It was always the chicken.

And the changing table where baby Vincenzo consistently peed on Aunt Jeanette and only Aunt Jeanette when she tried to change him there.

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And this tile I added to the room after Angelo’s birth and death to remind me to keep moving forward.

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I remember sitting in the green glider before each baby was born, rocking and dreaming of what life would be like.  Then later I’d rock in that chair holding my newborn baby and wonder and wonder at how the reality was  so much sweeter, so much bigger than the dream.  Because I had really dreamed big.

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It’s been ten years since we laid down those hardwood floors.  Four awful pregnancies that I sometimes thought I wouldn’t survive.  Four beautiful babies who were so worth it. 

And now, three big boys.

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The quiet sacredness of newborns has been replaced by the loud hilarity of young children.  Like now, as I am typing, Rocco has made Leo a fort and Leo emptied an entire bag of gnaan into it, followed by a box of shell noodles (yes, opened and yes, all over the floor).  He followed that up by sticking some beads on a board and telling me he made “a doggie and a zombie.”  Vincenzo and Rocco are cracking up.  We all laugh a lot.

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But also, as I type, Kevin is ripping off the wainscoting in the nursery, getting it ready for its “big boy” status. 

While I am feeling crushed about the deconstruction of the nursery, I’m not exactly laying down in my grave to die.  I am still a young-ish mother with optimism and hope, only now with a few gray hairs mixed in.  I still have energy (though maybe not as much).  I still have dreams, if a little bit smaller than before. 

I have more now, too.  I have wisdom, confidence, maturity, and an ocean’s worth of love that I didn’t have ten years ago.  I have stories and memories that get us all laughing again.  I have the family of my dreams to go through life with.

But still.  Nobody in my house needs to be rocked anymore or falls asleep on my chest, heaving tiny breaths while I sit there feeling like I am falling in love for the millionth time, knowing that this baby is falling in love even harder because it is his very first time.

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Kevin tells me he’ll fill in and heave tiny breaths on my chest if I want.  I roll my eyes.  (At least one of my boys will never grow up.)

I’ve just always hated goodbyes and somehow, taking down the nursery feels like a forever goodbye.

So MrsMouthy is a little sad this week.  And look–now you are too. 

But it’s all right.  With these three stooges around, we’re too busy laughing to sit around feeling sad for long.

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A Day In the Life of Leo

This kid is a trip and a half.  I have taken to calling him “My Drunken Little Friend” lately because…well, read on.

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Leo wakes up early and when I go into his room he tells me, “It’s mine burfday!” (He does this every day.) He adds, “It’s your burfday too, Mom!” We sing happy burfday to each other, just like we do every day.

Then Leo has to go to the bathroom and when I am not instantly there to turn the light on he throws his naked self onto the floor and lays there in the fetal position, ranting and railing, until I turn the light on. He pops up and cheerfully walks to the potty.

We go to the play kitchen set and make birthday cakes. When I ask him to put sprinkles on mine he sets the whole jar of sprinkles on my cake and says, “There you go, Mom.”

His brothers wake up and we make waffles.  Real ones, that is.

At 7:30AM Kevin comes home (from hot yoga) and Vincenzo asks why he’s home so early. I tell Vincenzo that maybe it’s not early—maybe he slept all day and Dad’s just coming home from work and the sky outside is actually getting darker outside, not lighter. Leo snaps to attention and says, “I’m not tired! It’s blue one! It’s blue sky!”

The waffles are ready. Leo brings me the exact cup he wants his milk in. I give him milk in that cup. He then gets a different cup and pours his milk into that to drink. He spills it all over the table, so I toss him a towel to clean it up. The towel lands on the ground. “Can’t reach it, Mom.” I tell him to pick it up. “Can’t pick it up, Mom.  I’m too strong.”

Rocco tells me his tummy hurts and I ask if it’s a need-to-go-to-bathroom hurt or an I’m-gonna-puke hurt. Leo yells, “Puke! I puke Rocco!”

During breakfast Rocco gets a time out for making Leo cry by repeatedly saying, “It’s everyone’s birthday.” He is issued a time out and has to wish Leo a happy birthday once he is out of time out.  On one hand it feels like the wrong thing to do, but on the other it makes perfect sense.

After breakfast Leo spies a bottle of wine I was given in a cloth wine bag. He mistakes it for a birthday present. We give him the bag (without the wine) and he fills it up with toys then says, “I’m weddy speech fuppy!” (He’s ready for speech therapy—we often bring toy bags with us.) I tell him great, we’ll leave in five hours.

After breakfast we go blackberry picking on the trail behind our house. Leo picks exactly two blackberries, eats them, and then retires from blackberry picking. He keeps asking me to fill up his container so he can eat them, saying, “More booberries please!” He insists on calling them blueberries all morning and laughs at us when we say, “They’re blackberries,” like he’s too clever to fall for that one.

At 10 we are back home and Leo has both hands in his hair, which is a definite sign he needs a nap.  He happily lies down in his crib and sleeps.

Later, on the way to “speech fuppy,” Rocco decides to quiz Leo to get him ready for his lesson.  “Leo,” he says, “Say twwwaaain.”  Leo says, “Twwwaaain.”  I remind myself to schedule another two years of speech fuppy for Leo.

As we pull into the driveway Leo throws his hands in the air and yells, “WE DID IT!!  WE DID IT, MOMMY!”  We all celebrate, even though we’re not exactly sure why.

At dinner the boys get to talking about Minecraft.  It goes like this with Leo:

Leo: I play Minefwaft.
Me: Minefaft.
Leo: Fwaft.
Me: Fwaft.
Leo: Fwaft
Me: Minefwaft.
Leo: Minefwaft!  Minefwaft!
Me: Minecraft.
Leo: Yeah.  Minefwaft.

After dinner Leo crawls onto my bed to read books with his brothers and his cheeks are all chimpunky so I say, “What do you have in there?”  He opens his mouth.  Inside is an entire, full-sized carrot, all chewed up.   Before I can even say “What’s up, Doc?” there is carrot juice all over Leo’s shirt, his hands, my pillow, our bed.  I make a mental note to flip my pillow upside down before going to bed.

After a few minutes Leo runs off saying, “I go potty!” and comes back a minute later saying, “I go standing up!”  I groan, then yell to Kevin, “Clean up, aisle bathroom!”

After story time Kevin tells the boys to put on shoes so they can go outside.  Leo puts his shoes on like this and insists he’s doing it right:

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I go inside to get my bag of gym clothes.  When I come out, Vincenzo is hanging from a tree laughing at the place Rocco chose to go potty outside, which was on the Totem Pole; Rocco is pulling up his pants looking cross and hotly defending his decision; Leo is standing in the grass with his bare buns to the neighborhood, peeing outside because that’s what Rocco did; and Kevin is looking at me, shaking his head.

If when I get older I only remember one thing from my days of raising young children, I want it to be that exact scene.  I want it to be the last thing I see before I die.  I want to live in that moment of hilarity and seriousness sweet baby buns forever.

Anyway.  Leo.  My Little Drunken Friend.  It makes sense now, right?

Third grade. THIRD!

It’s too weird to think about having a third grader already, so I will instead tell you about curriculum night and how Kevin and I always behave so badly at these things and go home feeling like our parenting license should probably be revoked. 

This year V’s teacher left a blank piece of paper on each student’s desk so we could write our babes a little note for the first day of school.  Before I show you what Kevin wrote, think about what you might write on your note.

I’ll wait.

Right?  Something like, “Have a great first day!  We’re so proud of you!  Listen to your teacher!”  Something like that.  But no.

Here is Kevin’s note to V, front, middle, and back (FYI I am Mamba, and yes I did read):

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Some of the humor probably escapes you, as much of it is based on previous jokes and harassment by Kevin of Vincenzo’s friends, but you get the idea.  I sat there on curriculum night giggling and giggling in the back of the classroom while other parents asked questions about workload and number sense.

I don’t think V’s teacher be biased against him though, since we were sitting in a different kid’s seat.  That’s always important on curriculum night, we have found.

And now, my baby boy, on his first day of third grade.

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And can’t forget about these guys who are always hanging around him!

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