Once you have descended into the hell that is the sleep deprivation of early motherhood, it doesn't take much to send you careening back down into the abyss of bone-crushing exhaustion, even after years of reasonable levels of nightly shut-eye.
In the last week I have had three vomiting children, all on different, and in some cases multiple, days and nights. We have also had: open house at school, baseball awards night, soccer game (missed due to one sick kid), soccer bottle drive (to which I dragged a years' worth of heavy glass bottles and one sick kid), a pig roast (M and E went while I stayed home with sick Z--only to get the call that E was now sick too and asleep on the couch), a dentist appointment for M, voting on the school budget (which failed yet again!), and C's birthday. All while trying to get the house cleaned and ready for the Solar Home Tour, while C was away all weekend plying his wares at the Common Ground Fair, and, just because I like to torture myself, while making new living room curtains, in time for the Tour, and trying to watch the PBS documentary on the National Parks.
I have had three nights during which I got almost no sleep: one during which Z's more than a dozen trips to the bathroom to throw up (after the first incident which thankfully was completely caught and contained by a quilt) were timed to precisely coincide with the amount of time it takes me to doze off; one during which E got up multiple times to gulp cups of water, after which I found myself at two in the morning crawling under the dusty (though vacuumed in recent memory) bunk beds to wipe liquid vomit from the floor, the rungs of the bed, the wooden slats of the grille that covers a floor-level window, the sill of said window and the inside of an under-bed drawer filled with bed linens; and a third night where for no obvious reason I could not sleep and finally hauled myself out of bed at 2 a.m. to do yoga, post to my blog and check my email.
The only break from children, housework and vomit I have gotten was yesterday, at a work-sponsored love-fest where everyone from our office gets together to ingest diabetes-causing foods and engage in "team-building" exercises. So by this morning, you can imagine, I was not very sympathetic with Z, who, while I was hovering over the counter trying to eat my breakfast (M's rejected bowl of nauseatingly over-sweetened oatmeal) and read a magazine just for one minute's peace before the day began in earnest, he launched into a ten-minute melt-down over the stick he wanted that E had. I pointed to the hundreds of acres of woods out our window and said, "see all those trees? They're made of wood. Go find yourself another piece of wood."
Afterward, he cried the ENTIRE way to preschool because, though he had taken his T-Rex to school yesterday for share (this being "t" week), he had put it in his cubby instead of the share bag and didn't get to share it. E, who had stayed home sick yesterday, had his share with him, and Z demanded loudly that I turn around and go home to get his T-Rex. I, being the wickedly sleep-deprived and unsympathetic parent that I am (a.k.a. Worst Mom In The World), I refused. Not only that, but after we got to school and he continued to cry while also clinging to me, I carried him to the far side of the classroom, set him down on a chair, disengaged his arms from my neck and literally sprinted out of the room. See? Worst Mom in the WORLD.
P.S. I had another poem published on Vox Poetica yesterday.
P.P.S. New post up at Capital Walks today.