All I want for Christmas is an earlier bedtime

Night before last I slept like a baby. A newborn, actually. I was up until midnight, and wide-eyed from about 1:30 to 6 a.m. At which point I drifted into peaceful slumber for 90 minutes.

I went to bed late after Stella went to bed late. I slept from midnight until 1:30 a.m. Then I found out that my third nephew, my youngest sister’s first baby, had been born!  Three thousand miles away. He’s why I’d stayed up to begin with–I wanted to know about his grand entrance and all the key details as it happened! But frankly, it was taking forever. So I went to bed with the phone next my head and bolted awake at the sound of an incoming text. And I don’t care what cynical people say, it’s a miracle! It’s amazing! He wasn’t here and now he is, out in the world, a new person that is partly my sister and partly her husband. He and my sister, they’re just one of those “meant to be” couples. They’ve been together forever, and oddly and horrifyingly and at different times, they’ve both sustained life-threatening accidents and spinal injuries.  They are soul mates and survivors and now they are not only still here and okay, they have a son! He was eight pounds, one ounce, and super adorable. Like Stella, he took his time joining us out here. But why not? That’s kind of a big transition. Nothing to be rushed into. But don’t tell my sister I said that. She was pissed. All that aside, I just can’t believe that my littlest sister is now a mother. I’m not sure why it stands out so much out of an entire childhood together, but way back when, I did her gorgeous, shiny, long strawberry blond hair for the prom and made it frizzy and she was so kind to me about it, whereas I would’ve thrown a fit. She’s just great. She’s my baby sister. She’s a mom now. It’s crazy wonderful.

And that got my brain hopped up on all kinds of big thoughts, including how fleeting and wondrous all of this is and how I really need to do and be better and will I have another child and why do I live in Seattle instead of in Boston near my family and did I miss the holiday episode of Modern Family, all of which kept me awake until 5 a.m. That’s when I started to drift off, and that’s when Stella started screaming as if being attacked by vicious  zombie stuffed animals. So then I slammed my door open (it can be done, as I demonstrated), and rush into Stella’s room. Her “paci-binky” (yes, she came up with the term and I think hyphenation is warranted) had escaped from the crib and I could not find it a-n-y-w-h-e-r-e. So in a rage, I turned on the lights, and scoured the area muttering like a mad person. With no luck. So I went back into my chamber of insomnia and dug up an old pacifier and I have no idea why I knew that we still had it or furthermore, that it was in my underwear drawer. The unconcious is a funny thing when furious. So I gave it to her, thereby probably causing her to need braces and major an costly orthodontic intervention as that old pacifier is big and bulbous and probably for little babies with no teeth, and then stormed back in my room. Full of adrenaline and devoid of hope for any sleep whatsoever.

It was quiet for a while, as my body’s adrenaline surge died down, then I thought I heard a peep. Or two. Then there was animated talking about monsters and Santa and robots, and then the screaming. Again with the screaming! It’s totally contrived, but at times very convincing. In that moment, I decided to let her scream and scream because fake screaming shouldn’t “work” and cause me to come running only to have her immediately quiet and smile (because she’s been totally fine the whole time) and cheerfully say, “Papa bear likes porridge!” in an attempt to engage me in early morning playtime, but I was clearly allowing it to work and so here we were, but as of tonight I was having none of it anymore! You hear me?! None! Of! It!

I knew, before caving, that she’d tossed her lovies, blankets and pacibinky out of the crib (but not Dolly or zebra–they’ve somehow been granted amnesty). When rage again lifted me from my rumpled bed, I held it in. I robotically located and returned the crap to the crib, put the blankets her and left. Yes, two blankets, because she has to have the one Mimi made her and the one from when she was a little baby, plus her two lovies (the blandly but lovingly named blanky and pup pup) plus her new bespectacled dolly, named Dolly, and her zebra, of course, because how could you drift off to dreamland without a black and white striped animal next to your head? I was then able to sleep from about 6 a.m. until 7:30 a.m. All told, I’m pretty sure my sister, the one who’d birthed a baby early that morning, got more sleep than me. She will punch me in the face if she reads this. Well, she’ll want to, but like I said, she’s wonderful and will restrain herself.

Stella has, by and large, been a great sleeper. Which is good, because if she’d had both eating and sleeping troubles, I’d have been committed long ago. But in the last month or two, something has changed. I keep telling myself that earlier naps and an earlier bedtime are the key. That we will put Stella in her crib by 8 p.m. on the dot (at the latest!) every night, that I’ll make sure she’s down for her nap long before 1 p.m. (today it was 2:14). It’s just not happening. Today she slept until 9:15, making up for the previous night’s shenanigans, and so we’re off kilter again.

Clearly this calls for a Christmas miracle! Or a watch. You hear that, Santa?




  1. Magnificent Minimalist · December 23, 2010

    Congratulations on your tiny new nephew! That’s amazing news!

    My baby sister has long blond hair; one of my earliest memories is brushing it for her, and by that, I mean pinning her down and ripping out every last snarl until she was bawling. That was the first time I ever felt regret or empathy. She’s since forgiven me, seventeen years later.

  2. olga · December 30, 2010

    yeahhhh. bedtime. let me know if you figure it out. we currently have a 9pm (or 9:30!) for both of them, which leads to a blissfully late 8am wake-up yet still feels wrong. (what? your toddler and kindergardener are not in bed by 7?!?). then there’s the toddler nap refusal. maybe it’s the holiday glow…?
    congrats on the new little one in your family! and of course, good sleep wishes to all of them…

  3. Julie · January 2, 2011

    That is so funny, when I got your comment about the title, because I remember having this ome in my queue and then I read yours and it was almost exactly the same. Too weird!!!! Yah, our kiddos are definitely on the same , or a very similar, wavelength. I haven’t written about it yet, but I’m thinking my little girl is going to need surgery for her poor cross-eyes, far sighted, don’t work together eyes. Long story, of course, but I am totally stressing about it. I know you feel my pain, so I just had to vent for a sec.

  4. Corinne · January 10, 2011

    Awww, you are wonderful! We cannot wait for you and Stella to visit and spend time with us next week, woohoo!!

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