Thursday, March 31, 2022

Lovely things

Phoebe is four months old, an age infamously known for a good ol' fashioned sleep regression. This coupled with taking Phoebe to a conference and upending her entire world and schedule, coupled with getting vaccinations on Monday and subsequently running a fever for a few days has led to a pretty miserable time in the Heiss household. 

Two nights this week that baby has stayed awake until—cross my heart, hope to die, stick a needle in my eye if I lie—6:30 in the morning. I mean, technically, she went to bed, but then she got up around midnight or so and then she was up. It's been brutal. 

This morning, around 5:00, I left a message on the board for my children in bold, capital letters, hoping they'd read it and do as it said. Hoping, against hope, that they'd get some work accomplished before I got up for the day because I could tell—at 5:00 in the morning, with a wide-awake baby on my hip—that I would not be waking up when my kids got up. I would be sleeping in as long as possible.

Phoebe and I finally crawled into bed at 6:38 AM. 

We got up at 10:00 and I went to find my kids, who were all...playing.

"Did you practice the piano?" I asked them, hopefully.

No, they had not. 

"Did you see my note?"

"The one that said, 'PRACTICE THE PIANO! OR ELSE!!!!'? Yeah. We saw it."

"And you decided to just...not practice this piano?"

"Well," Zoë explained, "You did say 'or else,' so we're doing something else."

She interpreted my PRACTICE THE PIANO! OR ELSE!!! note to mean "practice the piano, know...whatever." How?!

Clearly I don't threaten my children enough (the "or else" part was more of a joke anyway, a phrase that I had hoped would connote some seriousness; I don't usually tell my kids "or else" (and it shows)).

She also later told me that, like, they were planning on practicing at some point in the day. My note hadn't specified precisely when to practice. So how were they supposed to know that I wanted them to practice while I was still sleeping?

Miriam pointed out that they should have known because their big sisters correctly interpreted the note to mean that the little kids should start doing the schoolwork they could do on their own while I was still sleeping. 

"She wrote 'piano,' not 'schoolwork,'" Benjamin pointed out.

"Piano is part of our schoolwork," Zoë pointed out (though she was also a guilty party, so I'm not sure why she was pointing this out...just digging a deeper hold for herself, I suppose). 

So, my three little kids got a couple hours of illicit free-play this morning while they waited for me to wake up. My older girls were both working hard at their lessons. I always love when I walk into their room to wake them up in the morning and they're both engaged in their schoolwork (they do a lot of their math and science work on their own).

Anyway, with such a rough start, the day could only get better from there. Better, but ever more tiring. 

We worked through our lessons the rest of the morning and into the early afternoon. Then I had to take a break for a class zoom meeting.

Miriam started out with Phoebe, but then I heard her getting fussy, so I brought her in with me, but then she started getting fussy so Rachel came and took her out for a walk, but then she started getting fussy again...

This time it was because she was in the stroller and the sun was in her face. Phoebe thinks having the sun in her face is the absolute worst. So she was crying and Rachel was trying to use the burp cloth as an extension of the sunshade, while also pushing the stroller, but she didn't have enough hands for all of that. So, there she was, feeling a little frazzled to have a wildly screaming baby on her hands, when the neighbour whose house she was in front of got home from work. 

He pulled his big red truck into the driveway, parked, hopped out of the vehicle, then jogged into his house...and then surprised Rachel by jogging back outside and straight up to her...with a binder clip in his hand. He helped her get the burp cloth secured to the sunshade, Phoebe stopped wailing, and they all lived happily ever after.

We have good neighbours. 

This story feels on par with the one time that lady ran out of her house and into the pouring rain with an umbrella for me, only, in a small way, this feels even kinder than that because getting caught in a sudden downpour is a fairly obvious bummer. Whether or not a baby has the sun in her eyes, though, is such an insignificant problem to rush to solve, yet he cared enough about it that he rushed to solve it, and I think that's pretty cool.

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