There’s only so much energy to spare

If I’m not posting on this blog as often as I’d like, it’s only because I’ve discovered how remarkably little can be accomplished in the brief time between dropping your kid off at kindergarten after breakfast and picking him up in time for lunch — especially since I insist on a regular exercise regimen. In the remaining fragments of hours, sometimes it comes down to a choice between a little writing, or nailing shingles back over that new bald patch on the roof.

Complicating the issue is sleep deprivation. Every parent knows about sleep deprivation from that first difficult year when you emerge from a brutal schedule of night-time feedings and naps snatched while leaning against the wall to realize, to your astonishment, that you haven’t run the car into a utility pole or given the kid up for adoption (although dropping that bundle of joy somewhere certainly came up in conversation with your significant other, didn’t it?)

Thunder and lightning (very, very frightening)

Animation by Sebastien D'ARCO

But sleep deprivation still pops up in odd ways. Take last night’s thunderstorm. Upon the first crash of thunder, Max, the stray we adopted after finding him wandering in the desert, bolted straight for our bed. This is a dog that sustained himself in the wilderness and who I’ve had to physically restrain from mauling coyotes on the hiking trail. But the one thing he fears is thunder. So with a single leap he hurdled his eleven-year-old body onto the bed and perched his 65 pounds on my stomach.

The dog was only seconds ahead of Tony, who charged into the room with toy bunny in hand, scared equally shit-less by the thunder. He quickly crawled between mommy and daddy while I tried to shift the canine weight on my belly to some less agonizing position. Ultimately, I ended up with the dog sprawled lengthwise on top of me, Tony’s elbow in my ear, and Wendy barking instructions at the assembled multitude.

The only resident of the household seemingly unfazed by the storm was Sadie, our second dog, who we adopted from the Humane Society. So far as I can tell, after suffering starvation and abuse before she came to our home, she’s so impressed by our ability to deliver meals on a regular schedule that no mere nocturnal flash and boom could detract from her enjoyment of a full belly and a scratch behind the ears.

Well, I’m glad somebody has faith in me.

Needless to say, the night was effectively over. Fortunately, there’s a plentiful coffee supply in the house.

And that, in part, is why I seem to have so little energy to spare these days. Though, granted, it doesn’t explain why I’m writing now.


  • akaGaGa says:

    Needless to say, the night was effectively over.

    And therein lies your problem – never give up! Parenthood requires the ability to fall asleep in an instant, taking advantage of every snoozing opportunity. Granted, this is an acquired skill, and I didn’t get really good at it until my kids were grown, but it has further uses. For instance, falling back to sleep multiple times a night when awakened by a husband who gets up and down, snores, and kicks his feet around.

    Another helpful tip: While I don’t like coffee, I trained my children from a very young age that Mommy will be a more pleasant Mommy if they let her finish her first cup of tea before divulging every thought that’s racing through their brains. That bought me 20 minutes of peace most mornings.

  • J.D. Tuccille says:

    I think parenthood is like the military in that sense: take your sleep where you find it.

    Wendy is a tea drinker, too. Either way, Tony understands that neither of us is at our best until the caffeine delivery systems have done their work.

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