Friday, March 23, 2012

Mathematical beds

We have four beds. What are the sleeping possibilities? Is it a factorial?
4*3*2*1 = 24.
Or are there more since there are five of us? 5! = 120. But we have to add the cats in then, since they are as much of a pain in the ass as the children. 7! = 5040.
Or would it be some combination?
x = number of beds
y = number of participants
x! + y! = xy(no sleep)

In any [mathematical] case not a situation conducive to peaceful sleeping.

We can expand the equation to include

z = fever, nightmare, thirst, loneliness
also z[cat] = feline thirst, hunger, loneliness 

and so

x! + y! + z! + z[cat]! = xyz(no fucking sleep)

which goes like this:

It's midnight. Aidyn cries. Gets out of bed, walks to our room, crying louder with every step.
Which wakes Mia, who begins to cry and cries as she walks to our room. As they arrive at the bed, they start to scream and try to pull me out of bed. "Lait! LAIT!!" Calls for milk wrench me from sleep (although I was of course semi-awake after the first whimper). By now Chloé has heard the cacophony and walks dazed into the room. "Je veux aussi du lait," she mutters. At least we know they're learning French.

This is usually a temporary end of the shenanigans. Milk all around (it's bad, but between midnight and 6am, all you want is for them to shut up and go to sleep) and everyone is asleep in our bed. For a while. Then Mia rolls onto Chloé and Aidyn starts combing my hair with his fingers again. Chloé yells "Mia!" and pushes her away. I yell "Aidyn!" and push him away. He refuses to leave me alone so before he sits up and starts whining for milk again, I turn away and let him at my hair, hoping he'll fall back asleep again soon so that I can leave and go to Chloé's room and sleep in peace.

3am the fun starts anew. (I finally fell asleep so am still hanging on the edge of the bed with Aidyn curled up around my head.) The cat jumps onto the night table and paws things off onto the floor. I want to get up and lock him in the living room before this noise wakes up everyone else, but any movement from me could wake up you-know-who. So I try to indicate to the cat that I am going to KILL him if he doesn't fucking STOP THAT as I slip slllooowwwlllyyy from the bed. I grab the cat but as I'm walking to the door I step on a matchbox car, squeal in pain, and send the car banging into the hollow door. So much for keeping Mr. Fussypants asleep. Aidyn, the cat and I go to the kitchen, get more milk, shut the door with the cat inside and go back to bed/sleep.

5am. Scratch-scratch. Bang! Bang! Scratch-scratch. Bang! Bang! The cat trying to get out of the kitchen door. I again slip carefully from the bed to go into the kitchen and feed the fucking cats so that they will shut up and stop...doing anything at all. It works and we sleep again until the alarm goes off at 6-ish. At that point we are ALL awake because Gaetan can't find his alarm clock since the cat knocked it onto the floor under the bed.

Another night over. Thank a deity. Of course, this was a worst-case scenario, which doesn't happen more than...once a week. 

We've since stopped giving milk in the night and it has (generally) had the expected result: no hysterics for milk since there won't be any. But they still come, they still wake each other and us, and we all tend to sleep poorly and be grouchy and tired after this goes on for too many nights.

I have a few friends with multiple children who were allowed to share their parents' bed. My question for them is: How did you do this? Did you have rules about when to come in? Or why? Or only after/before a certain age? Or did you just have shit sleep until everyone was old enough to deal with their sleeping (or more accurately, waking) issues? What is the best equation for nights with small children?

Thursday, March 1, 2012


During another inspirational hour at the gym, I pondered a statement from the book I was reading. I swear I am at my best in the fitness studio, listening to my music, sweating and exhaling so much used-up energy. After an hour, I feel like I've reached my inner self and if necessary I could conquer the world.

Endorphins.That should be the title of this post.

So here was this week's epiphany:

We begin our adult life planning to live our ideal. We're going to change the world, or at least the little bit we live in. We're going to share our voice and make ourselves heard. We know that the things we believe in are right and fair and legitimate. We listen to our hearts.

Then we live a little. Work a little. Feel the pressures of life bear down on us; social, cultural, financial expectations become more real than our dreams. And even if we don't intentionally bury those dreams in our subconscious grave (because sometimes we do), we allow them to slip away into the past, and the person who dreamed them as well.

Then we live a little more. Find a mate. Start a family. Now the pressure's really on. At some point we stop and think, "Fuck those dreams. I've got to give everything I am just to keep myself and mine alive." And we keep living. Of course we're changing the world and making our lives incredible just by doing this but we rarely get the chance to recognize that.

Then one day comes when the pressure finally snaps us. We can't get dressed, pack our bag, take that step out of the house to go to work. We can barely breathe. The wall that we built around our heart to keep the dreams in has finally grown so thick that we're smothering ourselves.

So, in the interest of self-preservation, we peek inside to see what we've hidden from ourselves. And we realize that it's Me. The Real Me. The Me we so wanted to be after we'd absorbed what our parents and professors had thrown at us. The Me we had dismissed so hastily to fit the expectations of those around us. And then to establish the security we felt we needed for our family.

Now it was do or die. Let Me out or give up, let everybody down, outside and inside.

So we build the dream. Out of blood, sweat and tears. And the confidence we've built in 20 or so years of living the life we decided we were supposed to lead. We've gotten to know ourselves over these years and we've heard our heart talking to us again and again, we've recognized the voice, but we've left it buried where it couldn't threaten the status quo we've worked so hard to create.

Fortunately this breakdown seems to come after the immediate needs of our lives have been at least partially relieved. The children are bigger, we've got a job we can do and friends for the rest of the time. Life at home is routine. Probably this is why it happens; we get a chance to breathe and discover all that we've been holding in.

Here's my question: why not break out before the disaster? Why not decide to embrace our dreams before we're so tired that we have to die first and resurrect our new-old selves? What does it really take to live our ideal life? I know we're supposed to be happy with what we have, but part of what we have and what we are is our dreams. They are just as real as reality.