I was standing in front of the open refrigerator looking for something, anything, to eat when it popped into my head. Not an obscure folksy song whose lyrics I don’t even know. No, this time it was a quote –‘these are the times that try men’s souls.’
It’s kind of funny, really. It’s close to 9 on a Thursday night and not one of my three children is sleeping and two of them are screaming bloody murder. And what pops into my head? Some out of context saying by Thomas Paine? (Thomas Jefferson?)
There are people who hang on to favorite quotations the way I hang onto useless statistics about celebrity babies. Inspirational quotes. Funny quotes. Just look at their Facebook profile pages. Me? I thought I only had one quote in my repertoire (Give me liberty or give me death) but apparently Muncie Central bequeathed two stellar quotes to me for the two years I tarried there.
But I wasn’t thinking about any of this as I stood at the fridge looking for some sort of edible comfort. I was thinking it is trying when you have a two and a half year old who hops out of his crib and runs to his baby brother’s crib and harasses him until he’s fully awake and screaming loud enough for the neighbors to hear.
And then said two and a half year old, upon being punished for bad behavior, screams loud enough for the neighbors across the street to hear. And it’s nearly nine and you’re actually feeling a little tired too. Something about getting up in the middle of the night, every night, for roughly 280 days straight.
And the perpetrators of these nightly wake-up calls? They can’t even synchronize their afternoon sleeping schedules so as to give you a fifteen minute cat-nap. They’re tired and they’re screaming but they refuse to nap.
Which is why I piled two little boys in the van this afternoon – forty five minutes before I was supposed to pick the Gort up for Kindergarten. Sure enough, they were asleep before I’d made it to the stop sign on our street. I was so tired I probably could have taken a nap in the van while I waited outside the school. But I worried I wouldn’t wake up on time. And the Gort would stand forlornly at the pick-up line while his mother snored inside her car fifty yards away.
So I cleaned the inside of the car-van. And then I read the paper. (A five day old copy of the New York Times.) What’s the point of reading the paper? It contains nothing good or positive. The oil spill. The financial crisis. Google. There was even an article about a new study that had videotaped 32 (?) families’ every day interactions over an extended period of time.
Bottom line: families hang out inside their cluttered chaotic homes instead of being outside in their open, uncluttered yards. Mothers tend to watch television with their children during one-on-one time, while fathers tend to play with them. And I think there was a little gem in there about how married couples spend less than 10% of their time together in their home alone. Or was that less than 10% of their time in conversation with each other?
One of the researchers referred to the study as ‘the purest form of birth control..ever’.
And then we drove home from school (I ended up being three minutes late to the pick-up line because I was reading the dumb paper.) And the rain that had persisted throughout the day? It turned into snow. And I saw on Facebook that someone had posted as their status: ‘do not look at the 5-day forecast, I repeat, do not look at the 5-day forecast.’
And I had an 8am dentist appointment to look forward to.
But then the professor called me to the living room to see the wide-awake baby crawl-scoot towards the red stackable circle he’d been throwing around the room.
So what if it’s after ten pm. And his parents are never going to have a conversation. Ever again.