Saturday, May 31, 2008

Melancholy Mama Moments

As I was tucking the little one in tonight I became suddenly wistful about how it used to be. I worked so hard to get her transitioned, first into her own bed (in our room), then into her own room. But I had no idea how hard it would be on me. I miss having her little form next to me in bed, as it was from about mid infancy through nearly 2 1/2. It was difficult to even get used to her being across the room at first, when we put her in a big girl bed in our room, but we soon found a new rhythm of bedtime that way. But this one is much more difficult for me. I'm sure it would be better if her room were closer, but it's across the house (what were we thinking when we bought this place?!?), so she seems so far away. We use the monitor again, like old times when I would put her to bed and we'd listen for her from the living room. And she has learned how to make her way across the kitchen and living room into our room (I leave a dim light on for her so it isn't dark). But I just can't get used to it.

It's the way of parenting, we reach for each new milestone, working with them toward it, cheering when they reach it. But over and over again I forget that this is a one-way journey, that we can't go back. Sure, she sleeps with us when she's sick or when we're traveling, and most nights she ends up in our bed in the middle of the night. But even so, something has changed, we've moved past that total sleep sharing that I never intended and that I cherished so dearly. And that I now miss so much.

Friday, May 30, 2008

What's on the Grill?

We're understandably grill obsessed now, so we're trying to grill every single night.

Wednesday we did a huge filet of salmon on a cedar plank and also grilled not only the zucchini but the sourdough baguette as well. Mmmmm. Upon taking that first bite of salmon I said, "Now that's the flavor I've been missing for the last two years!" Yes, that's right folks, we have been without barbecued food (except for eating at the crazy-good BBQ joints here in the South) for two years. And we were used to barbecuing as much as we wanted, all year long. So it's been serious deprivation. And the salmon is my favorite, cooked low & slow so it's basically smoked to a perfect tender medium. It is on my list of foods of the gods.

Last night's menu was simple (inspired by our little one): grilled hot dogs, grilled buns, all the fixins. Unfortunately we didn't like the dogs we had decided to try. I need to figure out how to get Dodger Dogs here. (If you have never had a Dodger dog, preferably at Dodger stadium right out of the steamer, you simply have not lived. If you're going to L.A. for any reason, make a point of going to a game, if only to eat the hot dogs. I'm serious.)

Tonight's menu? Well, the hubster was in the mood for Mexican (my all time favorite and chief comfort food, so I was pleased), so we had planned to grill both steak and chicken for soft tacos, but he left the chicken behind at the self-checkout at the store, so it'll just be steak. (Which will be a bit excessive for me because I ate the leftover filet bits from our trip the other night to the new local Japanese steakhouse, but hey, I'm on vacation!) The best part is hubs' homemade salsa.

Tomorrow will be baby back ribs and corn on the cob. If you've never grilled corn, you must try it. The flavor is unbelievable. Even people who don't like it boiled often love it grilled. We like to drizzle it with Mexican crema and sprinkle it with lemon or lime and a bit of cayenne.

One of these days I'll get my act together enough to attempt photos of the food and post them, but I'm not that organized yet. I'm still trying to figure out how to hyperlink websites and such, which I really need to do before I post my (very first!) meme from Catnip (see, I have no idea how to hyperlink to her site! I'm such a newbie!!! Can you feel the greenness? Come to think of it, this template is a very appropriate hue), which I shall do over the weekend. 

Happy Friday everyone! Cheers!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Force of Nature

We are now in serious recovery mode from my parents visit. Why do I always assume that the little one will be so entertained by grandparents that I will finally get things done or get to relax? I am fooled every time. Somehow it's always more work for me instead. Neither the hubby nor I have parents who are the get-down-on-the-floor kind of grandparents. They prefer for their grandchildren to mill about around them, doing normal activities in their presence. Though they do spoil their grandkids -- big time -- with all of the usual excesses of sugar and material wonders. We too are spoiled by various excesses: expensive dinners, accoutrements for the house, and in this case, two nights at their (very nice) hotel. Let's just say that my mother is a force of nature who makes things happen. And I figure, why not? Now that I'm a parent I get it. I only hope we will have the resources one day to continually do things for our own kid(s?).

Now it is time to detox from the excesses of the past few days and get back to (or rather, into) our summer routine. Which will now involve a LOT of grilling, because our back patio is now graced with this:

Like I said, we too were spoiled!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Wireless Purgatory and Haircuts

Why, oh why is my wireless connection doing this to me?  Actually it's our whole DSL connection, acting like dial-up, taking us back to the stone ages of the internet.  So I've been deprived for hours now, and suffering the DTs of internet withdrawal.  

The little one had a rough time of it again tonight, scaring me with her asthma-like cough.  But she was finally able to get back to sleep.  She had a great day, all cute and helpful and driving me a little crazy with the shadowing me all over the house, but at least she's on the mend.  We both got haircuts today, and she SAT IN THE CHAIR ALL BY HERSELF!!! For the very first time.  Now, it took her forever to get hair at all (she was the baldest baby ever, at least after we shaved her little monk thing, but that's a confessional for another post altogether so please do not yell at me about this right now... I can explain, I swear!), so she only had her first haircut at 2 1/2, and that one took place on my lap.  Today, when the stylist asked if she wanted to come with her, she trotted off like the biggest girl ever and allowed herself to be lifted up on to the booster seat on the chair, and even allowed the apron, which she had already told me she DID NOT WANT, and grinned away as her hair was cut. She remained shy, which is her sweet nature, so whenever Betsy asked a question she would whisper the answer so softly that I had to translate each response, but she really was such a brave, big girl. Of course I never get pictures of these moments, because I'm way too airheaded about these things to think to bring a camera. (We didn't even get the first haircut shot.  I know.  Shoot me now.)

Anyway, she had her little hair trim, and then Betsy asked if she wanted a braid, and the Little One's eyes got as big as saucers as she nodded. Betsy gave her a french braid of all things, which is so cute but this hair-dressing-impaired mother's heart sank as I realized that my child would be wanting such a braid in the future and I will just not be able to deliver. It gave me flashbacks of the hours I spent in junior high trying to learn how to create these braids, which seemed oh-so-sophisticated at the time. I am not kidding when I say I have no hair talent whatsoever. It takes me ten full minutes to get a simple ponytail in my child's hair, because I just cannot figure out how to keep all of the hair combed down just right before tying the damn thing. So my kid comes home from nursery school half the time with some teacher or aide's handiwork evident on her head, a re-do of my lame attempt from the morning. Whatever!

The good news is that both daughter (me) and granddaughter (the Little One) are coiffed for the mother's (mine) visit. Normally I would be as disheveled as ever, and my mother would take great delight in getting me all fixed up, but I am determined to prove that I can actually keep myself in working order (even if I actually can't).  

We Need a "Wife" (or a Manny)

So the Hubs looks around the kitchen last night and says to me, "The trouble is, neither one of us is a wife."  Now, you might think that I, an ardent feminist, would have objected to this comment, but I didn't.  Because I have said many times that we need a wife to run this household so we don't have to life in such domestic chaos, or a manny.  What we really mean is that we need a family manager to do all of the things that tend to fall on the "wife" social role.  Because I too would like to come home to a sparkling clean & neat house, a home cooked meal, and a fed and bathed child.   Oh, and of course perfect martini (vodka, shaken, with multiple olives), comfy slippers, and time to relax in the recliner before eating that scrumptious meal.  Who wouldn't want this?  Those 1950s middle class husbands had it good, man.  

Today we are cleaning for my parents' arrival tomorrow.  And by cleaning I mean creating the illusion of order and achieving the base level of home hygiene.  It's not that I don't prefer a very clean and orderly home.  I just cannot be bothered to do the work involved to get it.  

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Let the Bug Stories Begin!

That's right folks, summer is beginnin' here in the South, so whether you like it or not, ye shall be regaled with ye old bug tales now and then!  Tonight I let the little one out briefly (I'm not a mean jailkeeper here, it's just that her current antibiotic makes her sun sensitive so I have to be restrictive), and as I gazed out yonda' toward the woods (our house backs onto a patch of woods, which is both a blessing and a curse), I saw a cluster of tiny bugs hovering there in the air.  Just hanging out, as if having a bug convention, enjoying the first blast of humidity (unlike me).  What the hell?  We have no such thing in California people.  (Not in the parts I'm from, anyway.)  I was just grateful that the bug convention wasn't in my yard... yet.  

So then I was walking oh so innocently to the kitchen just now and an odd shape caught my attention in my peripheral vision, and sure enough, there was a GIGANTIC spider on my carpet yet again.  The invasion began a few weeks ago, and we've been spider killin' ever since.  Sadly, my 3-year-old is often the one to call our attention to the latest invader.  But at least she's been well schooled on NOT TOUCHING.  

In California, we were avid participants in the catch-and-release technique of sensitive spider-handling.  But not here.  If you've never lived in the South, you would not BELIEVE the size of the spiders we have found in our house.  They don't quite rival the infamous spiders of my in-laws tales from their days in the Congo years ago, but they're much larger than anything I've seen in my life.  Then again, we California people are wimps regarding such things.  We don't know from bugs, if I'm quoting this saying correctly.  (You will find that I often mangle sayings and quotes and aphorisms and such, and that I often mix my metaphors.  I'm hoping you will find this charming rather than annoying.  But I can promise you that I will almost always spell things correctly, and all normal expressions will be correct.  For example, the expression is "all of a sudden," NOT "all of the sudden," no matter what my husband may insist.)  But I digress. Again.

I'm about to head off to bed (yeah, right, we all know I'll be reading blogs until my eyes cross). But first, thanks to all of you who visited my blog today and especially those who commented.  It means more to me than you will ever know, and I promise I will visit each of your blogs in return very soon.  

Update on the little one: sleeping peacefully, so I may get another night of rest.  How on earth did I ever survive months of sleep deprivation when she was a baby?  (For those of you with babies, it may be of little comfort now, but rest assured that the mind-numbing sleep deprivation will pass, and one day you will sleep again and then complain like a little whiner when you lose a few night's sleep, just like me!)

I Have a Crush on Blogging!

So this is now day four of spending the majority of my waking hours reading blogs, writing my own posts, and tweaking my blog.  I am acting much like I used to in the first stages of dating someone (except those experiences involved considerably more showering and primping).  I don't want to eat or sleep, I just want to blog and read other people's blogs!!!  This actually could be good for my desire to drop 10 pounds.  Not so good for the cleanliness level of house, child, or self though.

I had a hint last year that it could be this addictive, but then I had a dissertation to finish and a husband watching over me (he couldn't support us much longer on his income, and he would have felt horridly guilty if I never finished, given that I took over a year of leave to care for our baby so that he could finish first!), so I had to sneak it here and there, and had no time to start my own until the very end.  But I had NO IDEA it would be this much fun.  

One of the blogs I've been reading obsessively this week is Belinda's hilarious and marvelously detailed account of her life over at Ninja Poodles.  She was sweet enough to come visit me today and generous enough to leave comments. (Bless your heart, Belinda!  There: did I do it right?)  I geeked out when I saw my email alerts that she had commented, and I am truly flattered.  So if you haven't discovered her yet (I realize there aren't many readers here yet, but let me be optimistic and speak to those who may find there way here later and read through the archives), you simply must go visit.  As she would say, go now and "clicky clicky" over there on my list of faves on the right.  You won't regret it.  

And anyone who may have advice to this new blogger, please email me at kazasplaceATgmailDOTcom. (For one thing, how do I add the "email me" link?  I'm slow on the uptake here and I can't seem to find it in my settings menu.)

Sleep is Awesome

It's amazing what a decent night's sleep can do for a person.  I feel brand spanking new, people!  It was entirely unexpected though, as the little one had a rough start to the night.  She wasn't feeling so well in the evening, her ear was hurting again, and her cough was downright croupy.  When she gets that tight, spastic cough my heart fills with fear, for her father had asthma as a child and I am so worried that she will develop it as well.  When she was 18 months old the doctor thought she had RSV, and sent us home with an inhaler.  We only had to use it twice, but it was scary nonetheless.  

Last night she had been asleep just 15 minutes when the she woke up choking and sputtering.  My hubby ordered me to get her calm immediately (because she won't accept comfort from him), reminding me that she would throw up if I couldn't get her settled down (we know this from her past history with such coughing, and from his many years of fighting his own coughing spells).  So I did, but that involved actually removing the child from bed, which of course woke her up altogether.  This is a BAD THING!  

But did we let her get up?  No way.  There is a rule that is absolute in this house, and that is that when it's bedtime, it is bedtime, and no matter how long it takes, the child must go back to sleep! Lucky for us, this has worked without fail.  Sometimes it takes awhile. An agonizingly long while. So long that you're certain it would be easier to let her stay up.  But she did finally fall asleep last night, albeit in our bed (so much for our recent success in getting her to fall asleep, on her own, in her room).  

The coughing continued off & on for the next hour, but didn't wake her, so we were able to scarf down our dinner. (Steak!  For the first time in ages!  Because I'm so desperate for a hunk of beef that I'm finally willing to eat something other than filet, which is just too damned expensive in this culinary wasteland.)  When she did wake up next I was able to give her the next dose of medicine, though in the end it took a steam bath to relax her enough to really sleep.  (Why didn't I use a humidifier, an experienced parent might ask?  Because ours became infested with mold & mildew and could not be adequately cleaned so I had to toss it.  We are living in the mold capital of the world, and I kid you not, toilets and sinks show mold -- in a house built in 2001, mind you -- within about 10 days if not cleaned & sterilized!)

The thing about the nights we've had this week is this: every time she gets sick, I panic.  Not only because I worry that it might be something awful, but because each time I am filled with dread that LIFE WILL NEVER RETURN TO NORMAL AGAIN.  I become instantly convinced that this is just how it will be, forever and ever, and I begin to panic.  I lose all perspective and capacity to recall the many times she has recovered (usually within a few days).  I have to repeatedly talk myself down from the ledge of desperation, repeating, "this will pass, she will recover, life will be normal again."  It is one of my major weaknesses.  

I'm great in a crisis, I can remain calm and take action and get things under control. I have held her hand on the examination table at the emergency room at the children's hospital, singing to her while they poked and prodded and tried to figure out what was going on.  My husband freaks out in that sort of situation, overcome with worry.  I stay busy with the job at hand.  But give me a few bad nights of sleep when she just can't rest and neither can I, and I begin to fold.  In the face of a chronic situation of chaos, I begin to really lose it.  

Last night the heavens were good to me.  All that mattered was that she was okay.  But she clearly was, so I had the hubris to ask for two more things:  for a peaceful dinner and a good night's rest for both of us. (I say both and not all because my husband tends to sleep through most of the overnight stuff anyway, as I've explained
before, so there was no need to pray for his rest, as it was a foregone conclusion.  This is patently unfair, but it is what works, and I made peace with it long ago.  Though if we have another baby, all bets are off.)  And I was granted these wishes, which I realize are petty but were genuine gifts to me after days of sleep deprivation.  

The even better news is that the little one slept great after her steam bath and didn't wake until 7:30 (which is amazing for my little early bird who has shown no ability whatsoever to sleep in), and has been in just the best mood all morning, singing and dancing and dressing up and now watching Cinderella actively (by which I mean acting it all out with her stuffed animals and dolls as she watches).  And that is the best gift of all.  

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

One of My Quirks

I just realized that one of my quirks is my obsessive need to begin at the beginning. For instance, when I find a new blog that I really, really like, I like to go to the beginning of the archives (if they don't go too far back, by which I mean more than a few years) and "catch up." I do this with writers as well. For instance, when I discovered M.F.K. Fisher, I was compelled to buy all of her books and read them from the beginning. I needed to see her thoughts and writing unfold in the correct order. For the same reason, after reading the first page of David Sedaris' Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim I refused to go one word further and rushed to buy his earlier work to read his stories from the beginning. Totally unnecessary, because a good story is a good story, I'm not going to miss anything by starting with more recent stuff. But it would bug me.

The blessing and curse that is DVR technology has made it possible for me to carry this obsession over into my television viewing (which was already excessive before having the ability to record entire seasons at will). So now I not only have a backlog of books to read (we're talking at least 25 on the shelf here behind me, and that's just the fun reading, it doesn't even include the backlog of academic stuff in my office closet), I also have a DVR full of stuff to watch.

Then last spring while finishing my dissertation (or, I should say, while procrastinating on said job) I discovered blogs (yes, as with Sedaris above, I'm regularly the last to join in the party, but better late than never). The pressures of dissertation (which was finally completed at the end of the summer) and of teaching a very full load of new courses pulled me away from the blogs for 9 months, so I've now also got blogs to catch up on (which always brings new ones to my attention, thus adding to the list).

Which brings me to my current situation. I am taking the first week or two of summer break off to recharge and replenish myself. It is a much-needed break after the last 3 1/2 years, which were rather intense with lots of life changes and absolutely no substantial time off. I will also take regular days off after that point, though I'll spend the majority of my time revising papers for publication and all of the other work that falls by the wayside during the teaching year. I'm enjoying this time off immensely already, even with sick child at home, and look forward to the rest of it. But how do I spend this time, this sudden wealth of time for me after so long without much of it? How do I choose between the books I miss so much, the shows and movies I enjoy so much, and the blog reading, for which I'm rapidly developing a fierce passion? I feel like a kid in a candy store, overwhelmed by all of the pretty colors and shapes and flavors.

It's a fucking great problem to have!

Teddy Graham Quality Control Central

The little one, who is still battling her ear infection (along with cough, cold, and a new ache or pain announced to me every hour or so), has had trouble finding something she wants to eat today. Not that this is a unique problem for her. But when she's not feeling well, she seems to subsist on... well, nothing much at all. Throughout the morning she has made various requests (Cheerios, a blueberry waffle, a banana, raisins), but hadn't eaten more than a bite of anything until she found the teddy grahams in a bowl left out from yesterday. I was certain she wouldn't like them, for teddy grahams turn to stale mush after only a few hours out of the bag or box, and picky eaters like mine typically reject anything that isn't the PRECISE texture/temperature/shape/color that they have come to expect. (A typical example would be her rejection of the Spongebob mac & cheese last night, which really annoyed me because I gave her the choice and she jumped up and down with excitement at the very idea of Spongebob mac & cheese but upon seeing the actual stuff in the bowl she turned up her nose and refused to eat them. Had she not been sick I would have let her go without dinner, but I took the extra effort to make the shapes talk to her and they managed to coax her into eating a few of them, clever things.)

So, back to the enthralling teddy grahams. She ate them. And asked for more. (And I know you mothers out there know how excited I was when she asked for more. Because not only would my sick little one finally get something in her empty tummy, but, more importantly, the whining (about hunger anyway) would finally STOP. For the next twenty minutes at least. An hour if I'm lucky.) She ate a second snackbowl full of TGs, but what cracked me up was that she brought me her "rejects" three times. Apparently it would be unacceptable or possibly even dangerous to eat two teddy grahams that became welded together in processing. And particularly egregious was the teddy who had not been fully cut out of the dough, so that he was a teddy shape in a circle of dough.

I may be posting a lot today. I'm catching up on months of blog reading and will no doubt be inspired to post. At the same time I'm catching up on months of stuff on the DVR. After finishing the latest season of ER (which I think was one of the best ever, along with the last few seasons that followed the Abby-Luka story arc from when they first started messing around again a season or two ago to their reconciliation in the season finale this month), I decided to record the entire first season on TNT and am watching them all today. The clear advantage of being home with a recovering kid is that you have a great excuse to avoid your real work and to instead indulge in otherwise guilty pleasures. (And after all the necessary OTC meds, then finally eating, then finally pooping, the little one is contentedly engrossed in play, so I'm truly free to indulge, woo-hoo!)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Things I Don't Like to Eat

I had a sudden realization the other day: I am 40 years old and I don't have to eat a food I don't like, no matter how good it is for my body (or how much cheaper it is than my preferred item, as in #3 below). This may seem obvious to everyone else, but it was a revelation to me for some reason. Because I have actually wasted energy trying to like certain foods because I thought I should, or that with enough exposure I would. I'm not talking ridiculously disgusting foods like liver or anything like that. Eeew. I would not waste one nanosecond of my life even smelling liver ever again (if it's up to me, anyway), much less tasting that vile "food." Here's what I'm talking about:

I do not like (in no particular order):

1. Raisins.
And I have tried to like them, because they're good for you. Nature's candy and all that rot. Sorry, have tried them in all forms a million times and I just don't like them. I'll take my grapes in the form of wine, thank you very much.

2. Oats
I don't hate oats really, but I don't enjoy eating oatmeal, or oatmeal raisin cookies, or any cereal with oat clusters. If you happen to be a horse, your dinner is safe with me.

3. Beer
I was never bothered by not liking beer much (though according to family lore, as a kid I really enjoyed sneaking sips of my dad's afternoon beer, and I have a dim memory of drinking a small bit of beer in a dixie cup occasionally, given to me to taste by my parents who lacked the typical Puritanical notion that alcohol should not touch the lips of a minor before the age of 21... but I digress). But after moving here in '06 and discovering to our horror that wine was astonishingly expensive compared to the Trader Joe's deals we'd been enjoying for years in California, I decided to give beer another try. It's just not my poison.

4. Graham crackers
I'm assuming my absolute hatred of them is directly connected to overdosing in childhood, for I distinctly remember eating them slathered with peanut butter and jelly. Now I cannot stand them and even refuse to eat so much as one teddy graham no matter how sweetly offered by my little one. Not even to encourage her generosity and good sharing behavior. Nope. And I loathe the graham cracker crust of cheesecake. How to ruin an otherwise luscious dessert? Put the silky filling on top of a layer of what tastes to me like pre-masticated burned graham crackers. Eeew. (Though I admit I will eat a thousand graham crackers before I'll touch a bite of liver.) Again, this one has no connection to health so I'm really straying from the path of my theme here, but that is my prerogative as the creator of the list.

5. Carrots
This one I have really worked hard to overcome. Because we're supposed to eat carrots. They're good for vision and all kinds of things. But I just don't like them. Not raw, not cooked, not even if slathered in dip or dressing or a yummy sauce. But there is an odd exception here: I do love carrot-ginger-dill soup. Explain that one. I can't.

6. Natural cereals
They taste like birdseed or rabbit food. Need I say more?

7. Apples
Same as the carrot thing. And most especially applesauce. I used to like apple pies or pastries, but then I developed a craving for this sort of treat during pregnancy and must have eaten way too many because now I can't even eat them in dessert.

Well, that's all I can think of for now, and my husband is home with the groceries, so gotta go. I'll add more at another time. The point here is that I believe you should eat what you like and not eat what you don't. So this is my list of what I will not bother trying to like ever again. So there.

Stuck at Home with Sick Child

Yep, it was a confirmed ear infection. The ped took one look in that ear and went "eeew, yuk!" and immediately began scribbling his prescription. Fortunately the little one is feeling good today. A little too good: she was wide awake before 4 a.m. and just could not get back to sleep. No pain, no fever, just AWAKE. I gave in at 5 and set her up with JoJo's Circus and her comfy pink chair and tried to catch a few more zzz's myself on the couch. By 7 she was hopping about like a jumping bean, all too full of energy. Reaction to the antibiotic? Immune system ramping up to fight the infection? Massive influx of energy after 30 hours of feeling punky? I have no idea. All I know is that I really feel for parents with clinically hyperactive children, because I have no idea how to handle a 3 year old run amok.

So the good news is that she's on the mend and I got a wee bit more sleep than the previous night, but the bad news is that her antibiotic can cause sun sensitivity so I can't let her run off some of this excess energy outside. This makes her sad and me sadder.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Murphy's Law of Mothering #109

Okay, so I haven't written 108 of these before, but it seemed more interesting to say that than to start at #1. This one goes like this: an academic mother just cannot be allowed her first full day off after the spring semester has ended without taking care of a sick child. The universe simply does not allow such deliciousness. Today was to be a day alone in the house to do whatever I wanted. A day off, guilt-free, with husband at work and child at nursery school. But no.

So here is my long, pathetic tale of a sleepless night and a lost day off. It is also a tale of a parenting failure. Read on, if you have the time, interest, and stomach for it.

Last night I put my little girl to bed and everything seemed fine. She has been recovering from a her latest bout of two or three colds in a row, but hadn't been bothered much by them and was on the tail end of recovery. This year has been much better than last year (her first in nursery school), and she has only missed maybe three or four days of school all year. Oh, but pride goeth before the fall: I became too confident that she would finish the school year without another absence. I was, once again, wrong.

She awoke around 8, just as we sat down to dinner, whimpering and writhing around. I mistook it for a nightmare, and when I asked her, she nodded. We worked to get her back to sleep, soothing her and then telling her we would check on her, continuing to build on our recent successes in getting her to fall asleep on her own (she does it easily now, though she often ends up in our bed in the wee hours). But she wanted me to stay with her, and when I wouldn't, threw what we thought was a tantrum.

My husband took over. He thought he was doing the right thing, certain that she was either tantruming or having a night terror (which she sometimes has and in which she can only calm when he takes a firm tone with her and orders her to go back to sleep). It was the sleep training standoff we had been dreading (and that I thought we had avoided by gradually moving her into her own bed, then into her own room, then into learning how to soothe herself without me there). Or so we thought.

At one point she told him her ear hurt, but it was in a chain of various reasons she had given why she wouldn't stop crying (monsters, wanting mommy, etc.), and she didn't mention it again while he was working with her, even denying that anything was hurting when he asked. He tried everything to calm her down and get her to go to sleep without me, convinced that her behavior was simply about getting me to come in and stay with her. He tried soothing her, sitting with her, being stern, even a time out. In the end she told him to go away and pulled the covers over her head. We thought she had given in and gone to sleep. But then we heard the whimpering start up again. But when he checked on her, she seemed asleep, or at least playing possum. I crept in a few minutes later, and she was snoring. Success? Not even close.

We went to bed, turned on the monitor, and five minutes later, heard her wake up and start crying again. Mr. Tough Guy melted and went to retrieve her. She fell into my arms, but did not fall asleep, thus proving that she had not been throwing a tantrum to get me to stay with her. When I asked her what was bothering her she wouldn't answer at first, but then sat up and cried that her ear hurt really bad. I of course gave her Tylenol immediately.

So. If you have ever been through something like this, then you know how awful we both felt in that moment. (If you haven't, if you are the self-sacrificing martyr type who never makes parenting blunders, then go ahead and feel superior all you want but please keep it to yourself.)

My punishment came in the form of a sleepless night the likes of which I haven't had since my child was a newborn. (How I survived months of such nights I will never know, as now just one like this is pure torture.) My husband's punishment? Well, I'm not sure if he's had it yet. You see, he's the sort who simply cannot tolerate sleep interruption, to the point that I decided long ago (like when she was a few months old) that it wasn't worth it to try to share the overnight stuff. And I'm an ardent feminist who has demanded he do his share of all of the parenting otherwise, so that tells you how bad it is. It's like waking a sleeping dragon. So after his usual growling I spirited her away to her room and put her to bed, curling my body around her legs at the end of the bed.

In the pre-dawn hours she finally slept, but fitfully, moaning in her sleep, so of course I couldn't really rest or sleep myself save for isolated patches of snoozing here and there. Morning came full-force all too soon and she couldn't sleep any longer and wouldn't stay in bed resting (a good sign) but wouldn't exactly play either (a bad sign), so the day of sick child at home with mama began in earnest.

Now, many hours later, she is actually doing quite well. Typical of an ear infection, her pain ebbs and flows, so she goes back and forth between resting on the couch and playing. We'll see the doctor in about an hour to find out how it looks and what to do to keep her comfortable tonight. I'm dreading another sleepless one, remembering now how desperate I used to feel at the end of each day when she was a newborn, exhausted and knowing that restorative sleep was not in the overnight forecast. Chances of feeling like shit in the morning? 100%.

Of course the important thing is that she seems fine and will recover. All of my middle-of-the-night fears of exotic mystery illnesses and other terrors of every parent's mind have been calmed after seeing that she is getting better rather than worse and after reading up on ear infections and learning that her intractable pain and inconsolable tears were entirely normal nighttime symptoms. That is truly all that matters.

BUT, to return (finally) to the title of this way too long and much too dull post, I have learned once again that it is one of the laws of mothering that, after your academic year is over and your summer break has begun (a period of about 6 weeks before you teach summer session during which everyone thinks you are on vacation but in which you actually need to do everything you have no time to do in the teaching year: revise and submit papers for publication, revise your job application dossier for the upcoming market, revise old syllabi and create new ones, read all of those articles and books that you have put off all year, and clean and organize your entire personal and professional life) but your daughter has two precious days left in HER school year, (two days in which you might have experienced the glorious freedom of time all to yourself to oh, maybe, relax a bit before doing all of the aforementioned unpaid work you must do during your "break"), SHE WILL GET SICK. It happened last year, it's happening again this year, it will probably happen next year. (Don't try to tell me to think positively about next time. I find that positive thinking only has the power of making this mama crankier when it fails to effect the desired result. Cold hard realism, even pessimism, at least leaves the hope of being pleasantly surprised.

I have a feeling that, if anyone finds this little blog and reads the above, sleep-deprivation-induced post, I will get one or more nasty comments about my bitching about this. I have one thing to say to anyone who even thinks about posting a negative comment rather than commiserating with a tired mother: BITE ME.

For anyone who has bothered to read my ramblings and can relate and is generous enough to leave a supportive (or better yet, funny) comment, to you I say: thank you, bless you, leave your own mama blog link and I promise to read your rantings in return!

Now that it's summer I'll try to post more often. I forgot how helpful it is to just get everything out and release it into virtual space.