I sleep in my car; not at night, just during the day and only when the baby’s napping and only after I’ve driven him around the block at least 15 times. It’s not something I’m necessarily proud of, like “I’ll have what she’s having” or passing off store-bought cupcakes as my own. (Side note: if you use a butter knife to smooth the frosting, it looks just crappy enough to be homemade.)
I wasn’t always like this–jaded, exhausted, napping in my vehicle, passing off counterfeit baked goods as my own. I used to be a good girl and not in the NBC drama scintillating, pulling a bank job kind of way, although the night is young, I guess. I used to bake the cupcakes. (On my honor), I used to nap the baby–in a crib, on a schedule without idling or using half a tank of gas. Last night I woke up 26 times. Actually, I’m not entirely sure how many times but I lost count at 26. Somewhere a casino is missing its blackjack dealer.
Working the night shift, baby…it changes you. Time number three and I swore to myself, it was going to be different, that I was going to be different, but I’m still up all night, still jumping up every time the baby so much as breathes wrong, and it doesn’t help that I’m sleeping with Darth Vader (talk about breathing wrong). Together we have about as much chance of ruling the galaxy as we do of getting a decent night’s sleep. Have you ever tried spooning with a plastic mask lodged to the side of your face? How about a tube coiled around your neck and head? Need an antidote for sex? Here’s a good one, sleep apnea. My Darth, he sleeps through everything…the baby crying, me crying, (he would have been so much happier with Padme).
But Darth and my wasted tears, they only play a shorthand in my “Sleepless in the Suburbs Saga.” I have a small bladder, (think every half hour like clockwork)…to pee or not to pee, isn’t that the eternal question and if I do get up to pee, which of course is conditional upon extricating myself from the dark lord, I know I will then be starting all over again on the spaceship to sleep, trying not to wake the baby, watching another car cruise down Hurlbutt St., radiating its high beams, listening to the hiss of the radiators, singing “Sleep Walk” in my sleep, worrying my middle child is actually sleepwalking again. Do you have any idea how unnerving it is to be laying there and feel like someone is watching you and then to look up and see that they are? “Go back to bed,” I tell her and she does but not before reciting what I can only interpret as some sort of hex, in Yiddish perhaps?
I’ve done a lot of crazy things on sleep deprivation, (blackjack dealing wasn’t one of them). I don’t have a head for cards or numbers but I did recently put a calculator in the refrigerator following a lengthy and somewhat redundant conversation about our lack of cash flow. Talk about freezing your assets. I really may have to pull a bank job. This was preceded by a thankfully failed attempt to doctor my coffee with ADHD medication…sugar cubes, horse pills, easy mistake. Boy, would that have added some pep to my step! I swiped my AAA card at the ATM the other day, where’s my frickin cash?; and while filling out a college inquiry for my eldest, I listed her first name as Wilton High School and our first language as Dutch. I handed Jon a sippy, told him to drink it, and ordered food for a dog we don’t have to a home we don’t own.
I’ve always been an insomniac and a bit of a nightmare aficionado, like M. Night Shyamalan and Morticia Adams doing the Monster Mash in my amygdala, they waltz beautifully together. I frequently wake up in a cold sweat, muttering in a foreign tongue something about my dead grandmother and a curse and you can keep your diseased chickens! (Did I mention I played Chava in a community theater production of Fiddler on the Roof?)
Sometimes Darth wakes up, usually he doesn’t. Sometimes the radiators finally quiet down and the headlights on Hurlbutt are fewer and farther between and no one’s standing over my bed, putting a plague on both my boobies. The baby realizes I’m not a milk cow and Morticia and M. Night waltz away to Sleep Walk and if you see me driving by your house for the 15th time, it’s not because I’m stalking you, I promise on my dead grandmother and those diseased chickens. We have a napping map or a mapping nap or cupcakes. Would you like a cupcake? I made them while I wasn’t sleeping. Good Girls Honor.
Columnist Lesley Kirschner grew up quiet, in the woods, and devoid of siblings so her hobbies quickly became reading, writing, and talking to inanimate objects. She also spent a considerable amount of time doing voice-overs for her dolls and watching too much daytime television–channel 3, sometimes channel 8, if the weather was good and the antenna wasn’t acting up. She was in attendance at school, graduated from a very much not notable college not worth mentioning, and was transplanted to Wilton with her husband, Ambler Farm‘s Farmer Jonathan and their (baby makes) three children almost a decade ago. Although she never quite found her calling in life, other than perhaps the doll voice-overs, which in hindsight were eerily convincing, she’s happy to try her hand at writing and is thankful for the support and community she found on Facebook’s Buy Nothing Wilton. Lesley realizes while this is all very exciting, she’s not winning a Pulitzer so she’ll wrap it up and be quiet. She’s had a lot of practice.