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Friday, August 6, 2010

Late Nights and Long Days

   "Can I have a late night with Kyrsten?" Ruth asks as she bounds into our room.
   I hate late nights. But I pause before I answer. I am treading on dangerous ground here. "You had a late night already this week."
   Her pout starts. "But I haven't gotten to do anything today!"
   Whatever! I guess I dreamed that I took you shopping and you had your friend over all morning and I let you watch a movie while you cleaned your room. I decide I won't even go there. "You have flags in the morning."
   "I can get up, I promise!" She flashes a huge grin, braces winking. "Pleeeeeeease! It's summer!"
  Yeah, and life doesn't stop for summer. I have a late night every night and boy, has it gotten old. If I were young again, no cares, no responsibilities... "Ruth, you don't need to stay up late every night--" I start, but I can tell my tone has softened. She gets a hopeful look in her eye and jumps onto my bed.
   "We'll be quiet, too. We won't bother you." She shimmies closer to me. "You won't even know we're there."
   I sigh and close my eyes. I can't really think of a good argument anyway. I just don't want her to have a late night. Just the thought of late nights makes me tired. "OK."
   "Thank you!" She rushes to the door, then turns back. "Can we play night games in the back?"
   I sit up again. "Ruth! You said you'd be quiet!"
   "I know! We will! You won't be able to hear us!"
   "I don't want you to bother the neighbors."
   "But we really want to play night games. We won't be loud. Just until 10?"
   I roll my eyes. Someone told me teenagers are mind-numbing. The battle is lost and I should cut out while I have anything left.
   Way too late, I remember that I can't go to sleep until everyone is at least headed to bed.  At 4:45 a.m. James wakes up and I feed him, dozing in the armchair next to his crib. I wake with a start to feel him squirming toward the floor. I squint at the clock: 5:20. I turn the baby toward me and gaze blearily into his bright blue eyes. "You're not really awake, are you?" He says, "Dah!" and reaches for my cheeks.
   I take him into the living room, turning on the hall light so he can see without being overly stimulated, put a few toys next to him, and flop down onto the couch. He crawls around and I doze again until he pulls up right next to me and whines, sucking on my arm. I pick him up and squint at the clock again: 5:54. He finally drifts back to sleep and I go back to bed as the morning light filters through the blinds.
   The door bangs open at 7:30 a.m. and John waits in the doorway. I turn and say, "Hi, John." He tiptoes right up to the edge of the bed. "Mom," he whispers, "I need hot chocca miwk. Ca'yew giddit fo me?" I'm tempted to say no, but you try not to say no to John in the morning if you want others (like the baby) to remain asleep. The shower is running, so I know Joe is out of the picture, and I push myself up and out of bed. Here goes the day.
   This is why I hate late nights.

1 comment:

  1. love your blog! love your writing! i always knew you had the gift. It is so fun to hear about your family. and 6 kids?! you guys are crazy/amazing!