Well, it was bound to happen. At least one day while Michael was gone, I knew we were going to end up blowing off my carefully planned routine.
The trouble started last night. Cassie went to sleep at 8:30 PM, and I thought I had Sam asleep at 9, but then the little pooper woke up twenty minutes later, doing the usual fussing and farting. Turns out she was hungry, in spite of having nursed an hour earlier. At 10 PM, Sam was still hungry, but my boobs were completely tapped out so I put her on her tummy in the bassinette to let her fuss it out for a while. She fell asleep after half an hour and I was able to transfer her to the car seat, but because she was up so late, I didn’t get to bed until 11:30 PM.
Of course, Sam woke up at 2 AM demanding to be fed again. And then she woke up at 4 AM... 6 AM... 8 AM... If you’ve ever breast fed a baby, you should be familiar with this pattern. It’s called a growth spurt, and let me tell you, an infant can suck down a lot of breast milk when they’re going through one of these things. I was supposed to get up at 4:45, but with only four and a half hours of uninterrupted sleep, it just wasn’t happening. Cassie crawled into bed with Sam and me around 6:30 and nearly smothered me in her attempt to cuddle. Sandwiched between both kids, I got no sleep at all from that point on, especially since Sam kept kicking me in the ribs and Cass kept digging her pointy little elbows into my spine. Family bed my ass. Kids need to sleep in their own beds so Mommy doesn’t chop off her hand the next morning by accidentally sticking it into the grinder while trying to make coffee. Yes, the sleep deprivation really is that bad.
The good news is I have a rule for days like today. If I’ve been up all night with the baby and haven’t had at least six good hours of sleep, I can declare the day to be Blow Off Day. Blow Off Day means I can toss the whole plan out the window if I want. The only things I have to do are feed the kids and make sure nobody kills themselves or burns down the house. Cassie can watch as much TV as she wants, eat popsicles all day, and run around in her PJs for all I care. I can spend the entire day sitting on the couch doing nothing but nurse Sam and contemplate my navel. Let the dirty dishes pile high and the cats puke all over the carpet. I don’t care because it’s Blow Off Day.
There are, of course, various degrees of Blow Off Day. Some days I blow off more than others. The worst case scenario was back in April when Michael and I both came down with this really nasty stomach flu. We spent all night passing each other as we ran to the bathroom to puke up our guts. I was so sick I couldn’t even take a sip of water without vomiting. My husband and I spent the next day passed out on the couches in our living room. Cassie sat on the floor between us, eating sherbet and popcorn and watching ten straight hours of The Wiggles. We were so sick, we didn’t care. To make matters worse, I was seven months pregnant with Sam at the time. I don’t ever want to be that sick again as long as I live.
But that’s the worst case scenario, as I said. Being sleep deprived and on my own with the kids isn’t quite that bad. So I only blew off the morning routine - wake up at 4:45, shower, dress, feed the cats and write for an hour. I decided to sleep in (as best I could, anyway, with two kids piled on top of me) and just pick up the daily routine at whatever point I got out of bed.
The beauty of this is, it didn’t matter if we got back into our routine or not. It was Blow Off Day, for crying out loud! But if I did get us back on track... well then, I would deserve a little reward for that, wouldn’t I? Say, an all expenses paid trip to the bookstore, courtesy of my loving hubby's credit card? Ka-ching!
So in spite of a rough night and a late start, I did work to get my act together. We got out the door by 10, hit the YMCA for a bit of exercise, and then met with some other moms and kids for our weekly play date at a nearby park. Both kids went down for their naps at the proscribed hour. I made up the hour of writing I had skipped in the morning and was able to follow that with an hour of sketching after Cassie woke up by convincing my darling daughter that she really did want to draw with some of Mommy’s special pencils. Dinner was on the table by 6 PM, bath time was at 7:30, and Cass was in bed by 8:30. Sam is still in my lap right now, fussing and nursing. She feels a little warm, so I’m wondering if she’s coming down with something. She doesn’t have a fever yet, but if she gets one and we’re up all night again, it’s okay.
Tomorrow can be Blow Off Day too.
Here's today's artwork. This is actually something I finished last week. It's from my "Waiting Room" sketch book, the little sketch book I keep in my purse that I doodle in whenever I'm waiting for an appointment. These sketches take a while to complete, but the results are always... interesting.
Motherhood, 18 Aug 2006