A Non-Snuggler’s Guide to Surviving the Night with a Snuggler

Bubba loves to snuggle.  Perhaps a more precise statement would be that, when sleeping, Bubba loves to have as many of his body parts touch as many of your body parts as humanly possible.

I hate to snuggle.  What I actually mean is, if you’re sleeping in my bed, you better be far enough away from me that I don’t know you’re there.

Bubba usually finds his way into our bed in the unconscious hours of the night.  Thankfully Jay doesn’t mind the snuggling, so he defends me.  It normally goes like this:

Bubba plasters himself to me (or on top of me even).
Me:  “Bubbaaaaaaa…..scoooooooot over!”
Jay:  “Come here, Bub.  I’ll snuggle you.”
Bubba plasters himself to Jay.
Mommy’s happy again.
We all fall back asleep.

Well, this weekend Jay has been banished to Chica’s bed because he has some funky cold that none of us can afford to catch.  I have no trusty bed defender, so I had to get creative.

Guess what….my plan worked!  So in case you need it some day, I present to you…

The Non-Snuggler’s Guide to Surviving the Night with a Snuggler

1.  Scoot to one side of the bed and let your companion fall asleep however they’d like.  It will probably mean a strangling choke-hold and an under-the-cover temperature rising well over 90, but it will be worth it.  Trust me.

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2.  Once the offender has fallen fully asleep, it’s time for your secret maneuver.  Slip carefully out of the bed, walk around the outside all stealth-like, and find the unoccupied, cold side of the bed.  Enjoy it, friend.

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3.  You can count on the fact that your bed magnet will reorient itself and be soon attracted back to your warming side of the bed.  Untitled_3Have no fear…the secret maneuver also works in reverse!  Slip out of the bed again carefully, retrace your steps, and return to your original position.  You are guaranteed at least a few minutes of cold, lonely slumber.

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4.  Repeat as many times as necessary.

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Non-snugglers out there….you’re welcome.

One day I hope to write another expert post titled the following:

The Anti-Co-Sleeper’s Guide to Getting Your Kid to Stay the Heck in His Own Bed

I’m have a sneaky suspicion that it may go something like this…

Step 1:  Wait until he’s eight.

Step 2:  Enjoy.

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Gift #37: Fist Pumps

He must have known.

He must have seen that I was really dragging, less than one mile into my four mile jog.  I’m sure he saw the sweat already pouring from my pink, scowling face.  Maybe he noticed that I was trying to suck my belly away from the shirt that is probably too small anyway.  Perhaps he spotted my dejected look as the group of perky, neon running ladies passed me from behind, chatting it up about pilates as they pranced along.

Yeah, I think he knew.  He knew I doubted that I could really do this.  That I was lamenting the fact that five years and two babies later, it’s just not as easy as it once was.  Maybe I’m not still a runner after all.

Most runners you pass at 7 a.m. offer a, “Morning,” at best.  Sometimes it’s a wave, or a head nod, and occasionally, nothing at all.

But not this guy.  Not this 60-some (70, maybe?), chartreuse tank-top wearing, sweatband sporting, big belly guy.  Nope.  He gave me a full-on, arm all the way raised fist pump.  Awesome.

As if to say to me, “You got this!  We got this!  We’re out here, and it’s hellahot, and we’re doing it.  Forget the prancing ladies and the ripped dudes without their shirts.  I see you, and we’re both trudging along with our bellies that used to be much flatter.  Go us.”

So I mostly got over myself at the urging of his enthusiastic fist pump.  And I slid into my now comfortable mile pace that would have before made me cringe.  I got this.

Two miles later, after I had turned around to head home, I saw him coming towards me again, still trudging in all his neon glory.  I knew what I had to do.  So as we passed that second time, I offered first my wave, but then my best, full-on fist pump too.  And I’m not sure whose smile was bigger, mine or his.

Day officially made.

As I ran that last mile, I thought about the power of a fist pump for a worn out soul, the kind stuck comparing herself to those running past.

So today I offer up my best fist pump for the worn out mommies:

The mommies letting their kids watch the third straight hour of movies before lunch time.
The mommies feeding their kids PB&J for the 97th day in a row.
The mommies letting their kids eat the dropped cereal off the floor because it’s easier than sweeping.
The mommies (and daddies!) comforting crying toddlers at 2 a.m. for the 7th consecutive night.
The mommies falling asleep during story time.
The mommies eating crazy things for breakfast like guacamole and brownies.
The mommies (and daddies, again) who find themselves saying things like, “Don’t suck on your socks…you won’t have any friends,” or, “Please don’t use your fork to scratch your armpit.”

I see you.  I’m right there with you.  We got this.

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Pit stains and all.

Bubba Turn

Bubba has this super cute cyber buddy who writes a great blog.  Drakeson is a whole year younger than Bubba, so I figured Bubba shouldn’t have too much trouble giving it a try.  When I asked him if he was up for blogging about his day, he agreed.  Actually, he said, “Bubba turn!”

I have posted his dictated words first and then the translation for those of you still learning Toddler Talk.  I do a lot of translating these days.

Eat Mommy.  Bar.  Applesauce.  Bubba pickle.  Bubba oatmeal.  Cake no like it.  

Mommy slept in all the way until 7:00 or something.  Lazy bones.  I had to beg her to get up so I could eat.  She needs lots of reminders.  At first I asked for my usual cereal bar and applesauce.  But then I remembered it was Saturday, and we sometimes eat special things on the weekend.  So I asked for pickles and oatmeal.  I don’t really like pancakes.  Even when they put chocolate chips in them.  Pancakes are for big people.

Mommy shoes on.  Walk.  Mommy car.  Stroller.  Big water.  Night night.

After breakfast Mommy put on her running shoes, not the flip-flops that she usually wears.  I know this means we are going for a walk.  Together we drove to Percival’s Isle where I didn’t get to walk…I had to ride in the dumb stroller.  I was hoping to stay awake to see the river where you go over the second bridge, but Mommy’s friends just bored me right to sleep.  They talk too much.

Mommy car.  That one. That one.  Eat Mommy.  That one.  Sister seat?  Home.

When we got back in the car, Mommy called Daddy to tell him we had to go to the store.  Something about a care package for a friend at summer camp.  I don’t know what care packages or summer camp are, but she sure got a lot of cool stuff.  I kept pointing out other good ideas for her, but she didn’t really like my advice.  I again had to remind her to feed me, so I got goldfish out of the deal.  I asked Mommy a bunch of times where Sister was.  All she said is that shopping is easier without Chica.  Something about not having to answer a million questions.  FINALLY she took me home…shopping took forever.

Eat.  Night Night.  Elmo’s World.

This is what I do every afternoon.  No news here.

Bubba shoes on.  Walk.  Sister play. Wilson?  Willlllllsonnnnn?   Look.  Have it.  Welcome Mommy.  Apple.  Apple yucky.  Bubba apple?  Mommy apple?  Deer apple.  That way.  Slide.  Bubba do it.  That one.  Ant.  Swing.  More.  More.  That way.  Up.  Welcome Mommy.  Hug.  Home.  Eat applesauce.  Wilson?

IMG_0382This was obviously the best part of my day…totally worth putting my shoes on for.  Mommy took me on a walk without Sister because she was playing with our neighbor friend.  This meant I actually got to walk and not have to ride in that stupid stroller.  It also meant me and Mommy could talk.  I never get in a word when you-know-who is around.

First I asked Mommy if she knew where Wilson was.  That’s my friend’s cat.  She didn’t, so we tried calling him, but he didn’t come.  When we got to the top of the street, I asked to look at the magnolia tree like Sister always does.  Mommy got me one of those dried up flowers to carry.  I thought about how cool Mommy is, and I told her thank you without even being asked.  Mommies like that stuff.

We found these little apples between our street and the park, but Mommy says they are yucky.  She wouldn’t let me eat them, and she wouldn’t try them, but she said the deer might.  I knew she was trying to distract me with the apple talk when we walked past the street the park is on, but I didn’t let her get away with it.  Once we were in there, I tricked her and said we should go swing, but really I was thinking about the slide the whole time.  She actually let me go down the slide by myself, but she sure didn’t look like she was having as much fun as I was.  Mommy gets all panicky and jumpy around that slide.  She told me to ask Grandma about it.  I’ll ask her tomorrow.

We played on the wooden playground, rode the tire swing together, and then I tried the baby swing just to make Mommy happy. She was right.  It was fun.  Mommy took a lot of pictures, but I think this is the only one that shows how fun it was.

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When we left the park, you know what she let me do?  She let me walk on the high wall outside the old school building just like Chica always does.   I think this means I’m big now.  I told her thank you again because she was being so fun.  Ok, nevermind.  I really just wanted a ride on her shoulders.  This was a long walk.  Then I got tired of riding on her shoulders, and thought that if I asked for a hug, she would just carry me regular.  It didn’t work.  By then I couldn’t wait to get home and eat applesauce.  I didn’t see Wilson when we got home either.  I’m starting to get worried about that guy.  Do you think he’s still my friend?

Boogie-woogie sunshine.  Bubba shoes on.  Sister ice cream.  Mommy ice cream.  Daddy ice cream.

I did my usual stand-up sit-down comedy routine after dinner.  I wonder how long they’ll laugh at the same old material.  Then something weird but wonderful happened.  I had to put my shoes on AGAIN because we were going out for….wait for it……ice cream!  Even though Daddy got me my own this time, I still tried everybody else’s.  I wonder how long I’ll get away with that too.  In the end I shared mine with Chica because I was full on all the other kinds.  Mommy pointed out how nicely I was sharing, and Sister said something about about flies and honey and vinegar.  What the what?  Girls are so weird.

Bubba bed.  Sister read.  Belly book.  Mommy night night.  

I wasn’t very tired when Sister started reading to me tonight.  What’s up with her trying to put me to bed this week, huh?  Anyway, she read my favorite, the Belly Book, and a bunch others.  But I just wasn’t tired, so Sister had to get Mommy.  Then they both helped me go to sleep.  Bonus.

Hmm….I wonder if I play my cards just right, if I can get all three of them to put me to bed tomorrow night.  I think I’ll give it a try.

The Night Chica Did My Work For Me

I believe I’ve hit a new high in the adventures of parenthood.  I’m camped out in the hallway, drinking a glass of wine, eating ice cream, and listening to someone else put Bubba to bed:

It’s Chica.

Yep.  She’s been asking for a few days to try to put him to bed one night.  Each evening I have had some reason why it was a bad idea (he’s too grumpy, it’s too late, Mommy’s too grumpy, etc.), but tonight I could think of none.  So I gave her a few basic instructions: get him in bed, read him 3 or 4 books, say a prayer, turn the light out, and sit next to him until he’s asleep.  Then creep out of the room, and you’re done!  Oh, and when if it doesn’t work, don’t get upset, just come get me.  Half of the time it doesn’t even work for Mommy.

The first five minutes was brutal as he wailed over and over, asking for me.  I was sure she hadn’t bargained for the screaming and that she was going to throw in the towel after a minute or two.  But much to my surprise, she stuck it out.  And gradually I could hear less of his protests and more of her reading.

The sound of her working her way slowly through familiar books and the image I had of him sitting on the bed, waiting patiently for her to figure out the tough parts was just too perfect.  So though the dishes need to be done and the laundry needs to be folded, here I sit, listening and waiting:

Ok, Bubba.  Time to get in bed.  Here, I’ll help you.

Hand, hand, fingers, thumb.  Dum ditty, dum ditty, dum, dum, dum.

Are you having fun, Bubba?  Ok, I’ll keep reading to you.

Boom boom boom, Mr. Brown is a wonder.  Boom boom boom, Mr. Brown makes thunder.

Lay down, Bubba.

Brown bear, brown bear, what do you see?

Don’t worry, Bubba.  I’m just going over here to get some more books.

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At roughly the 30 minute mark, she crept out of the room with the most surprised look on her face.  “I did it!  He’s asleep!”  I celebrated with her, and then sent her downstairs to tell Daddy.  She hadn’t made it past the first three steps before the wailing kicked back in.  But this time he was calling her name.  Be still, little heart.

So, as we often do, she went in for round two, rereading each of the books, this time with more confidence.  Soon she was out again, and this time he was really down for the count.  “It was like magic!” she exclaimed.  Yes, Chica, you are magic.

After we had read her two stories and said our own prayers (“God, thank you for letting me get Bubba to sleep so good.”), she asked me an interesting question.  She asked me if I was more proud of her brave jump off the diving board today or of her putting Bubba to sleep.  It was a tough call, but I went with bedtime.  I told her that I thought she was very determined and that I could tell that she really loved Bubba.

And finally (because I have no other ideas for ending this post??), I leave you with a limerick:

There was a young girl who read
Three books to get Brother to bed
She turned out the light
And called it a night
“You’re hired forever!” Mom said.

Gifts #22-34

Six months ago I started a list of gifts for which I was thankful.  I’ll admit I haven’t made any progress on the written list since then.  Today when I thanked God no less than six times for Elmo’s World, I thought maybe I should add Momo to my gifts.  This, of course, got me thinking about other things that made me thankful today, so here we are…

22.  Elmo’s World.  That fuzzy red guy walks a thin line between endearing and annoying, but today I’m thankful for him.  He’s able to get both kids to sit still for 30-ish minutes at a time so I can maintain a sense of order and sanity (read: load the dishwasher and shower).  Today he also convinced Chica she wants to play the violin.

23.  7:30 a.m. naps.  Actually, it would be more correct to say that I’m thankful for Jay who makes 7:30 a.m. naps possible.  Both kids were up by 5:30, and by up I mean begging to play playdough, Barbies, and ball…all at once.  Since I had been the one enduring the early morning torture, he let me escape back to bed for an hour.  So thankful.

24.  Drizzly mornings.  The last two days we have found fun things to do outside, even while it’s raining.  I would dare to say the park might be more fun in the rain…cooler temperatures and way less people make for a great visit.

25.  New friends.  Just this week I e-mailed an old friend (who unfortunately lives 1,700 miles away) about how hard it is to make new friends.  Today at playgroup there were these glorious few minutes of time where the chaos was at a minimum and we made a tiny real connection as we talked about our families.

26.  We haven’t sold our house.  Yep…I’m choosing to see this as a gift.  It means as we begin to look, there’s no real time crunch.  Today we looked at two houses.  Both had things we really liked, but something pretty big we would want to change.  I’m telling myself it’s a gift that we don’t have to hurry and pick one.

27.  Colossians 3.  I’m still working on the verse about forgiveness, but I had lots of good chances to practice that one today.  A little experiential learning, maybe?

28.  A favorite college professor.  I’m so thankful I’ve kept in touch with her and for the ways she keeps encouraging me all these years later.  I want to be like her when I grow up.

29.  1:00 p.m. naps.  I believe one can never nap too much during the summer, don’t you?

30.  Babies that finally fall asleep on their own.  It’s been a long time coming.  If you’re that mom who feels like it may never happen, I promise…one day it will.

31.  Bubba’s sense of humor.  He is clearly an entertainer.  Every night as he waits for his dessert of “i-keen” after dinner, he gets busy making us laugh with his funny faces and new words.  This has recently become my second favorite part of the day (after nap time, of course).

32.  Elephant and Piggie books.  Read them.  Seriously.

33.  The public library.  Today we didn’t take Bubba….just me and Chica.  SO the way to go.

34.  Old friends.  The ones that rescue you when you can’t take even five more minutes in your crazy house.  The ones that go with you when you have to do something scary. The ones that make work feel more like a slumber party than real work.

What are you counting as a gift today?

If, Then

If you see me in few weeks, and it looks like my right arm is way buffer than my left arm, then you are probably right.  Our jogging stroller is waaaay out of alignment, and the only way to keep it from constantly veering left is to bear down on the right.  Ugh.

If you see Bubba and me out and about, and he doesn’t have any shoes on, then know that he had them on when we left the house.  He insists on going barefoot these days, and he can get there in about 5.2 seconds.

If I pass on your homemade dessert or that third piece of pizza, then assume that I’m still sticking with the diet I’ve been attempting since Sunday.  The last time I stuck to any sort of plan, I was still nursing….it’s amazing how many more calories that affords you!

If I can’t figure out a way to get Chica to stop picking her nose and eating her boogers (AHHH!) soon, then she will most definitely become THAT KID.  An extreme amount of shame hasn’t really done any good….I need a new tactic.  How did we get here?!?!?!?

If both (or even just one) of my kids manage to become well-adjusted adults in spite of me plastering TMI all over the internets, then I’ll be amazed.

If you lay down next to Bubba to try to get him to fall asleep, then expect to be kissed on the mouth at least 20 times.  I pity his future wife.

If it takes an hour to get both kids to fall asleep, then it becomes really obvious what to spend my last 150 calories on before bed…wine and chocolate.

If I write a really random if-then post, then I hope my friends will leave me a comment with their best if-then of the day!

Everything But Nap

Chica’s class has an end-of-the-day routine that involves the kids telling the best part of their day.  Based on what she tells me, it sounds like Chica has a routine answer that she gives most days that she’s asked:

“Everything but nap.”

Well, in case you’re wondering about the best part of my day today, I’d say, “Everything but nap.”  And that’s only because I didn’t get a nap.  Had I gotten a nap, that would have been one of my best parts too.  For sure.

Thanks to the early morning rain, we were all set up to have a slow day at home.  I was expecting lots of My Little Pony and at least 20 readings of Brown Bear, Brown Bear.  But thanks to some very effective Facebook marketing, we found ourselves rolling out of the house around 9:00 a.m. headed to the City Market.  As always, we ran into multiple friends, sampled chocolate we are way too cheap to buy, bought one apple for Chica to munch on while we browsed, and just enjoyed our stroll.

Since Bubba hadn’t yet reached his squealing point, and we had already seen everything there was to see at the Market, we decided to continue our stroll down Main Street.  With Bubba on my shoulders and Chica on Jay’s, we walked nearly from one end to the other.  Bubba has a small sampling of words that he uses now (that aren’t animal noises), and one of them is wok (translation:  walk).  “Wok?  Wok?” he asked over and over.  I was hesitant at first to let him get down because he usually refuses to hold anyone’s hand, but somehow today was different.  With his tiny little hand around my pointer, we walked most of the way back to the car.  My shoulders were thankful.

As often happens when Jay is driving, we then found ourselves touring old neighborhoods while he filled our brains with local, historical trivia.  I love that guy.  Bubba, however, was not quite so enthralled, and he went right to sleep.  Instead of risk waking him by bringing him into the house, we decided that Chica and I would kill time in the library while the dudes napped in the car.  Win-win.  We were pleasantly surprised when our library buddy, Mrs. Ann, had a tableful of St. Patty’s Day craft materials set out.  Books, computer time, AND a paper plate leprechaun mask….what more could a girl ask for?

After lunch at home, Chica went off to pretend she was napping, Jay hibernated in the basement, and Bubba and I went for a walk.  And we walked, and walked, and walked.  We stopped to pet a pack of puppies up for adoption, meandered down a side street trying to find the house of one of my students, strolled through Randolph College to see what all the commotion was about, and took a potty break at Riverside Runners.  (Let me just stop right there and say, have you been in that place lately?  It’s just plain awesome.   Water outside for two and four-legged runners, showers inside, friendly people, oh…and a fully stocked stash of any kind of toiletry you might need in the bathroom.  The good kind…not the cheap stuff.  Ok, I digressed.  Just visit them.)

When I got home, Bubba and I explored the back yard for a while, then Jay took both kiddies on an errand so I could grade a few math quizzes.  After dinner, I suggested we do something fun as a family.  (You know, anything that doesn’t involve My Little Ponies.)  And do you know what Chica actually suggested?   A walk.  Miracles.  So we walked again, and it was grand.  There was ice cream for dessert, the bedtime stories of choice were short, Bubba fell asleep quickly, and most of the dishes were already done.  This day ended just about as well as it started.

So what was your best part of the day?