the smell of my desperation has become a stench

What goes around

Here I am writing yet again from 30,000 feet, headed to California for more work. Last week when I looked at my calendar and saw that I didn’t have to travel I daydreamed about how I might spend that time on the ground, most of it involving me in very tight gold lamé pants sipping a martini and being followed by a herd of tiny yapping terriers with names like Mr. Morgan Freeman and Sir Elton.

leta_sleep

And then one by one, every hour of every day got over scheduled. A three-hour meeting followed by a conference call followed by another two-hour meeting across town followed by another conference call followed by a five-person video crew taking over my house. I’m not going to complain. Being busy is always good, right? If you’re not busy then you’re just sitting there enjoying your free time perhaps reading your favorite book and sipping a cold beverage while someone rubs your feet, and wow, do I feel sorry for you.

On Wednesday night, not even halfway through it all, I was so delirious that after I put Leta to bed I crawled into my own and fell asleep at 8:45 while scrolling through an Excel spreadsheet OH SEXY TIMES YEAH. What is the sum of that column, SAY IT LOUDER.

At 9:30 she appeared in my doorway, startled me awake and said she couldn’t sleep. And normally I would have walked her back to her room, put her back in her bed and stroked her hair for a bit because do I need to remind you? I do not sleep with my kids. We are clear on that point, right? You sleep with your kids and it’s a rewarding, nurturing experience. I do not and instead spend that time stabbing Dalmatian puppies.

But I was thinking with an exhausted, sleepy brain and instead told her to climb in bed with me.

Ahem.

Here is where I apologize to my older brother and sister for taking the joy out of all those Christmas Eves they had to spend sharing a bed with me: I’m so, so sorry. Mom never should have put you through that. You should have been resting starry eyed with the thought of a new scooter or Barbie house in your dreams and were instead being perpetually walloped in the face with random, skinny limbs. I pummeled both of you in the chest with my rotating legs. You will be happy to know that you are taking out your revenge in the form of my nine-year-old.

She fell asleep quickly, but a couple of hours into the night it started to happen: the burrowing. The mad, furious burrowing. Like she had just given birth to a litter of starving animals and needed to build a safe, hidden den to protect them from predators. She’d toss and turn, finally find a position that suited her, and then she’d burrow. I don’t know how else to describe it. She was building a structure, and every few minutes or so I’d get knocked in the eye with an elbow or a foot. That’s a hazard of sleeping so close to a construction site, I suppose.

It happened in cycles: thirty minutes of burrowing, thirty minutes of stillness. In the middle of one of the cycles I sat up to ask her what in god’s name was going on and her head was at the foot of the bed. Her feet were up underneath the pillow. She had rotated a full 180 degrees. At another point in the night the lower half of her body was hanging off the side of the bed, her feet and knees resting on the floor. I thought, oh cute. She’s praying.

I cannot count the number of times she hit me with a limb during the night. And I couldn’t tell you what limb it was, an arm or a leg or a knee, maybe it was the shovel she was using to carve a nest out of the mattress.

The sun woke her up at about 6 AM, and she looked over to find me staring wildly at her.

“Hi,” she mumbled as she blinked the sleep out of her eyes.

“Oh, hello,” I said, unable to blink because that would have required energy I did not possess.

“Your bed is so big,” she said, still a little groggy. She swung her arms and legs around to demonstrate how much space there was.

I would have found that totally adorable had it not been an exact mime of what had gone on next to me the entire night. And it gave me flashbacks.

“Yes. Yes it is. You know who else has a big bed? You. You have a big bed. And that is where you will be sleeping tonight.”

“Oh, no,” she said. “Did I sleep crazy?”

“You sleep exactly like I slept when I was your age,” I explained. “So ‘crazy’ is not the word I’m thinking of. Today I’m going to teach you about the word KARMA.”

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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