Because when you place limitations on the food that can enter your mouth, you suddenly turn into a clockwatcher extraordinaire…counting minutes and days and weeks until you can resume your formerly unhealthy ways. It’s the kind of obsessive waiting game that causes three weeks to transpire in what feels like three months.
And then….just when you’re on the downward slope, thinking ‘I only have 9 days to go…I’ve got this thing….’ the game changes.
The perpetually under-deadline husband jets off to Mexico, leaving you to care for his offspring who are all doing battle with some kind of tenacious winter-illness (round 3, or is it 4). And the already-too-long winter calls in reinforcements, leaving you housebound in ‘minus 40 with windchill’ temperatures, inhaling the particles of sickness so jenerously shared by boy 1, 2, and 3.
Finally, fearing your children actually have ebola and all this time you’ve just been sitting around, listening to them cough their little lungs into smithereens, you take boy 1 to the doctor. He sends you home with instructions to wait it out, only to call back 36 hours later and say ‘actually, boy 1 has strep throat.’
You make pseudo calculations, wondering how old you will be next time you have an hour to yourself, trying to estimate whether it’s in your financial best interest to withdraw boy 3 from preschool (since he never seems to go anymore)…. imagining the massages and pedicures that could be yours (albeit in the company of a suddenly homeschooled 4 year old.)
You leave the boys with a babysitter one night, so you can exhort other kids to care about quarter notes and time signatures. Upon return you check in with the babysitter: ‘so how did it go’, in that same distracted, only half-willing to-hear-the-real-answer way you recall from your own days as a babysitter. And she responds with the same, evasively noncommittal ‘fine’ you used to offer inquiring parents when you really wanted to say ‘actually your kids were horrendous and I’m never babysitting them again.’
And of course, you’re not surprised, having been around boy 1, 2 and 3 extensively for all of February. Your maternal monologue peppered with gems like ‘for the 500th time….’ as you stare at them with eyes bulging out of your head in stupefied exasperation.
Because here’s the deal: do you know a mother of multiple sons? Have you ever observed her boy-children behaving, how shall I put it…..poorly….crazily…[insert synonym of choice]…and did you find yourself wondering something along the lines of ‘what kind of mother is she’ or ‘why doesn’t she tell those boys to stop?!’
Guess what: she has! She has told them 342 times (at least!) not to jump on furniture, not to use ‘potty talk’, not to sit on the coffee table, not to throw blankets over their heads and walk around pretending to be ghosts, knocking over glasses filled with water in the process (according to the babysitter).
But this was really supposed to be about tiger blood and the wonder of the sugarless life….
While the professor was away, soaking up the 80-degree-rays from inside his Mexican lecture halls, I found myself strangely un-tired. That is to say, I went to bed at 10:30 on-the-dot every night, I woke up before 7 every morning. I cleaned, laundered, mopped, read, cooked, drove around, and put boys to bed without ever thinking about how tired I was or how I just wanted a nap – my two faithful companions for the last 5 years!
My house was clean, my life was semi-organized, I felt like…. Nicola circa 2006! The mother-of-one-child who used to organize her bills chronologically in labelled file folders, whose sure-to-be-admitted-to-Harvard child played with dried lentils and beans and finger paints.
Finally, after three weeks, I had achieved tiger blood status, or at least an approximation thereof. Was it worth it? Yes.
Will I be living a sugarless life from here on out?
No! Maybe. Probably not. Maybe.
I’ll decide after I polish off the easter candy my mom just sent ‘the boys’.