my Zanny, in a rare sleepy moment
I’ll start by acknowledging that the first 2.5 weeks of deployment have gone pretty well. Despite the curve ball of my two-year-old giving up naps (a.k.a. turning from a sweet, sleepy baby to a crazy little ‘roid monkey who thinks the world is her personal Mt. Everest), things were going fine, and I was surprising even myself with my high level of patience. A kid would knock a whole cup of milk onto the floor or spill a bubble wand indoors, ants would come coursing into the kitchen overnight as if they owned the place (a real southern CA phenomenon, I’ve heard), or the cat would puke energetically by my bed at 2 a.m. — no matter! Deployment Andria would just laugh and say, “Oh, isn’t life a hoot!”
Then today happened. We were going to fly out this evening to Monterey (or so I thought!) to visit my mom and some old friends of ours who are taking a summer tour of the States from their native England (more on them later — they are fascinating people; he is a former Royal Air Force pilot whom we met while stationed in Illinois. He flew for Tony Blair on the UK’s version of Air Force One! And yes, I will tell you this factoid every time I mention them.)
While I dashed around trying to pack for four people, one of whom needs a seriously silly amount of stuff (diapers and cookies and stuffed bunny and whatnot), I ran to the washing machine to switch the loads, when, in the midst of a sodden pile of clothing, out tumbles — my cellphone. Full of water and dead as a doornail.
The kids and I hauled over to the Verizon Wireless store, where the apologetic Ivan informed me that he could not provide me with a phone, because our entire account is listed under my husband’s name with my own name mentioned nowhere. I babbled positive-identification info at him like a crazed auctioneer but there was no sweetening up this Ivan fellow, who said I’d need to get my husband to add me to the account himself before any new phone came my way.
Back at home, at least I had an internet connection to print out our boarding passes. But when I tried to do so, Alaska Airlines informed me that I couldn’t check in online more than 24 hours before my flight. Say what, Alaska Airlines? Don’t I leave in a few hours? No, you fool [I guess this is the voice of…Alaska Airlines]. Turns out our flight is actually tomorrow, but I scheduled an airport shuttle (and been convinced that we were leaving) today.
I’m sure I sounded like a real gem when my mom, whose help I enlisted long-distance, explained to the shuttle service, “Hi, I’m calling on behalf of my idiot daughter. She made her airport-shuttle reservation for the wrong day, but she can’t call you herself because she put her cell phone in the wash this morning. I know! I’m not sure how she survives either! Ha ha ha!”
Add to all this that my sweet baby daughter has gone off the chain where sleep is concerned. She just gets out of her bed whenever the hell she wants. Naps are a total joke; I don’t even try anymore. I make the big kids get in the car with me and we all drive around for 10 minutes until Zanny falls asleep, and then I park in the driveway, let the big kids sneak back in the house, and tip my seat back for a little 10-minute nap with the a/c running, which my neighbors must find … curious. Couple minutes later and a now-sweaty Zanners is ready to take on the world again.
Then there was her escapade last night. Around 12:30 a.m., shortly before I planned to turn in, I went upstairs for something and decided to peek in on Zanners in her bed. Her door was closed, which I took to mean that she was soundly sleeping (if she gets out of bed, she almost always leaves the door open behind her in her scramble to evacuate). Imagine my surprise when I opened the door, peeked into her dark room and saw AN EMPTY BED. YEAH. A TWO-YEAR-OLD’S EMPTY BED. I went flying around the dark upstairs, silently freaking out — I’d been downstairs all evening, writing, and I hadn’t even heard her door open! Girlfriend is a freaking ninja. I darted into my bedroom and then my closet where Zanny was cheerfully arranging towels IN THE PITCH BLACK DARK like the creepy kid who senses your death in some horror movie. She turned to me and said, “Oh, hello, Mommy. I just do dis,” and I was like, “Get back in bed!” Meekly, she did….. and then got up five or six more times before finally taking pity on me and giving up. Is it bad parenting to stroke your toddler’s back and say, in a gentle but whacked-out sing-song, “Good night. Mommy loves you. And if you get up out of your bed again, Mommy will be very, very mad” ?
But here we are, still standing. Phoneless, crabby, and sleep-deprived, but hopefully on our way to Monterey tomorrow, and on to easier and less-stressful days!
And also, if you have a nightmare tonight that you open your closet and some tiny lily-white child is sitting there smiling eerily and whispering, “I just do dis,” well, you’re not alone. I’m right there with you.