Tiger Blanket, Hidden Sunny

Last week, Sunny’s teacher sent us an e-mail saying that our darling was refusing—at high volume—to do her work in class because she was “too tired,” and had been held in from recess for several days in a row to complete her assignments, which she said she didn’t mind, because again, “too tired.”

Was this something that we’d experienced at home?

Hoo boy.

While some of this is a I-Hate-Homework phase she learned from her older sister, it didn’t much surprise us that Sunny was tired during the day  because she is a determined little night owl who believe with all her heart that naps are for babies.

We could make her go to bed on time. We could even cajole/bribe/threaten her into staying in her own bed all night, with limited success.

But we couldn’t get her to drop off before ten p.m.

There were subtle signs that this wasn’t the ideal situation, and most of those can be described as three-hour, epic, screaming, weekend meltdowns, often triggered by asking her to do some terrible, overwhelming task, like moving her socks from the living room floor to the hamper in her bedroom, setting the table, or putting on her own shoes.

I e-mailed the teacher to tell her that we were all in the same boat, but that we would be taking steps to get Sunny to settle down at a more reasonable hour and see if that helped.

And then I dusted off my parenting books, perused some parenting blogs and found us some steps.

So, Sunny now has an earlier bedtime—something that tickles her older sister no end—and a Bedtime Song, which she chose herself, because empowering your children this way means they won’t have  an excuse to stay up for forty minutes complaining about it.

If you’d  told me before I had kids that I would eventually allow one of them to pick a bedtime song by a group called the Bare Naked Ladies . . . okay, yeah, I would have been fine with that, because I’ve always liked them, but my point is, I’d probably be okay with a song by the Sadistic Cannibal Hippo Warts as long as it was guaranteed to put her to—no, let’s rephrase that—soothe her to sleep within twenty minutes.

But since guilt is not something I actually enjoy, I’m glad she chose this one:

We’re currently playing it over and over and dear God over on my laptop*—with the door closed so Mommy doesn’t drop where she stands by the third repetition–until Sunny’s asleep, or at least too far gone to object to us turning it off.  Over the past four nights,** it’s taken less and less time to get her there and eventually, we hope to be able to play it once or twice with the same effect.

I also thought I’d make her a special sleep blanket, because it wouldn’t hurt to have another signal that it’s time she started peddling the ol’ REM cycle, plus fleece was on sale at the fabric store.  So we went and looked at a display full of pastel bolts with sheep and flowers and cuddly pandas and sleepy kittens.

Naturally, she bypassed them all and went straight for this:


It just screams sleep, doesn’t it?   But that’s what she wanted, empowering kids is important (see above), and it was less than three bucks a yard.  So I caved.***

The woman who measured out two yards of the stuff for us told me that her daughter would love a throw like this for her college dorm room.  I replied that it was supposed to be a nap blanket for my six-year old, and she grinned said her daughter would probably appreciate that, too.

We had a discussion about tying the edges versus hemming them—I was all for tying, since tying means cutting a fringe and, well, tying it, while hemming would mean pinning every few inches and dragging out the sewing machine and buying pink thread and unraveling a bobbin and filling a bobbin and paying attention to what I was doing, and one of the best things about fleece is that hemming is optional.

And then Sunny bounced up with matching two-inch ribbon . . .

So I spent the afternoon ironing lengths of the ribbon in half with my hair straightening wand and folding it around the raw ends of the fleece and jabbing myself with pins and sewing it down as a sort of ruffle for added texture^ and trying not to go blind.

Blanket Hem

And then I had a short nap.

When I woke up, I did a kid count and found Sunny in her bed, warm in her new bright pink, tiger-striped cocoon, letting the geese take her away . . .

Tiger Blanket, Hidden Sunny



*I have (legally) downloaded backups of this song on every electronic device we own, possibly including the TV remote.

**Although the second night, I went in to check on her and she sat up and said, “Mommy!  It’s played seven times!”  I know, honey.  Head on your pillow, please.

***I sometimes wonder how many posts one can pull up on this blog using that sentence in a search, or what the number would say about my parenting style.  Never mind.

^And because I couldn’t be fussed to make sure the ribbon edges lined up perfectly.  But it turned out like I did it on purpose, so as far as anyone who doesn’t read this blog knows, I did.


Back up for a Second . . .

I’ve kept to my self-inflicted curfew for a week now, and barring that first night, when I missed it by fifteen minutes, I’ve either gone to bed at 10:30 or even before.

The effects of an extra measly half-hour or hour of sleep are interesting.  Showering with my eyes open is a novel experience—I haven’t mistaken anything for the shampoo since last Wednesday.  It’s also easier to put in my contacts for some reason.

Despite my worries that I would be decreasing my already questionable productive writing time, I’ve managed to do some solid work on what appears to have been chosen by my subconscious as my Next Non-Pigeon Drop Project, though it’s early days, yet, so who knows.  I have a sheaf of possibilities—not to mention the Nano novelettes—and it’s proving slightly difficult to step off  the paths that have been worn into my imagination.

And to be honest, I’m a little leery of dropping (pun not intended) the Pigeon mindset—I’m not sure I should let it entirely go until it find a home and edits are finally final.  But I am starting to pry my mental fingers from it, very gently, one by one.

And I’ve stopped carrying around the Big Pink flash drive which has been my constant companion for over a year and contains all my Pigeon drafts, notes, character charts, outlines, synopses, queries, etc., plus a few other things as well.

It’s an odd feeling—weirder than waking up before breakfast.

It feels a bit like forgetting to put my wedding ring on after I make biscuits–though instead of looking at my bare finger and gasping in shock, I slap my front right pocket and my heart hits my large colon with a panicked bang.

I made regular file back-ups—I learned that lesson the hard way, with a couple of heartbreaking refreshers—but there was an emotional investment in having my book with me wherever I went, even if I knew I wouldn’t be anywhere near a computer.  A constant reminder and focus.

But it’s time to step back a bit.  It’s not just that I need time and separation from Pigeon right now so I can send it out into the world without hyperventilating,* it’s that my laptop is having trouble reading Big Pink and I’ve decided it needs a rest from riding around all day in a warm pocket and being dragged out and jammed into strange USB ports and I just realized that I sound like a cyberpimp for a CGIgolo or something, which is certainly not my intention.

Pink ThingIt is also not my intention to lose anything on that flash drive, so after a particularly frustrating five minutes the other night,** I gave Big Pink its own folder on my desktop and whisked it away to the Small Drawer of Retired Flash Drives, where it will share war stories with the former agent known only as “F:”,*** which also has a memorial desktop folder.

My organizational system defies logic, which I like to see as just another layer of security.

Regardless, I appear to be moving on—and on a bit more sleep than usual.  We’ll see how it goes.

Think it’s too soon to adopt another flash drive?

How do you move on from major projects?


Don’t Forget!!!

 You have until midnight CST tonight to send me your Chrishanukwanzmadanfestivus Poems for a chance to win the CafePress mug of your dreams.

The rules, regs, and my poor effort are here.

Happy Writing!!


*Which doesn’t bode well for the first couple weeks of Jane and Sunny’s college careers.

**During which I may or may not have screamed at my laptop, “What do you mean you can’t detect it?  It’s right here and bright stinkin’ pink!!” and Sunny may or may not have pointed helpfully to my laptop lid and said, “Hold it up to the camera eye, Mommy, right there.”

***So named after its original designation on my first laptop.  I am a simple people.


funny pictures - MY SLEEP NUMBER IS  QWERTY.

Today was one of those days where nothing particularly unusual happened,* but all of the usual happened all at once and never let up for a second.

I’m exhausted and tapped out and calling it a day before my nose hits the keyboard for the third time and I have to explain the odd checkerboard pattern embossed on my face to everyone all morning.

Actual content tomorrow, I promise.

Meanwhile, Janet Reid has some information on an interesting contest for aspiring, unpublished, American (sorry!)  novelists (again, sorry!).  It’s being sponsored by Fine Print Literary Agency and the prize looks pretty good.


*Including, I’m sorry to say, the Incident Report I had to file this afternoon.  I think things would be far less complicated if young men had antlers they could smack together—outside, if you don’t mind— to take the edge off.

Knitting up a raveled sleave* . . .

Pooped Kitty

This five-day emotional roller coaster of a week  is finally at an end.

I dragged my carcass home from work, poured the kids two glasses of iced tea for dinner, poured milk in my glass—and added two packets of sweetener.

I’m done and done in.

The kids are going to tuck me in, after I brush my teeth.**

More tomorrow, if I live through the experience.


*Yeah, sleave.  Means skein, like yarn.  Shakespeare I remember.  My own name . . . not so much.

**The curly one . . .  uh . . . . Sunny . . .  just said I can use her grape-flavored toothpaste—I actually opened my eyes in alarm.

Best Laid Plans of Mice and Mommies

I had it all planned out, which is no doubt where it all went wrong.

My husband has agreed to watch the kids on the Saturday mornings that I don’t work so I can get out of the house and have some Me Time.  Guilt-free Me Time, too, because the kids have swim class anyway and I meet them for lunch and we all do family stuff afterward.

I was looking forward to the time this week, because I had a section of Fun Project due and my First Reader gave me a chapter of her fabulous new WIP to beta. I’d sleep in until 6:30am and be at the Panera down the street by 7.

Friday night, Sunny threw up at the dinner table.  Lots.  She spiked a fever, too, so it was decided that she probably shouldn’t have swimming class.  My husband offered to give me my Me Time after Janie and he got back from her friend’s birthday party that afternoon.  And would i pick up a pizza for dinner on my way back?


So I read to Sunny and played Barbies—which is always a weird reenactment of our family dynamic, as seen through a three-and-a-half-year old’s eyes—and let her watch just a leetle more tv than I normally would have, in the futile hopes that she’d drop off.

My husband and Janie came home at 3, and I went roaring off with Netbook and notes.  I bought a large green tea, doctored it, plugged in my Netbook and fired it up.

Nothing.  I rebooted  Nothing.  I offered a few prayers, some cursing, and counted to ten before jabbing the button again.


I was philosophical about it— the Netbook had been limping along and bringing up fatal errors and blue screens of death for about a month while I applied cold compresses and, more and more frequently, the defibrillator, so while I was  angry and betrayed, I remained fairly calm . . .  until I realized that while I’d done a fair amount of work Friday,  I hadn’t done my daily back up that night.

All I can say in my defense is that spending your evening comforting a toddler who is yarking up things you didn’t remember feeding her will rearrange your priorities.

I left Panera and hied me to the computer shop.   The repairperson managed to reanimate the corpse  long enough to get some of my files out, including the one I really wanted.  He said it would cost more to repair my little buddy than I’d paid for it in the first place and did I know they had this great payment plan deal on laptops?

While I was filing out the financing paperwork, hoping for one hour of writing time with pen and paper, my husband called.  “Forget the pizza,” he said.  “I have Sunny’s virus.  Could you bring soup and Pepto Bismol instead?”

Sure.   I could catch up on my writing time Sunday afternoon, when Janie had another birthday party to attend and my husband would, I hoped, be feeling well enough to watch Sunny, who’d dropped into a three hour nap five minutes after I’d left—life of the party, that’s me—and was feeling much better.

But the virus really took hold of my husband, who spent most of the day shivering in bed when he wasn’t in the bathroom.

Long story short, the first thing I did on my new computer was send apologies to First Reader and the people waiting for Fun Project  so I could start working again tonight now that everyone else is asleep . . .

But I don’t feel so good right now.

I think bedrest is the better part of valor.  I’ll be sleeping on the couch, just in case my nausea is sympathetic, with the metal trashcan on hand, in case it isn’t.

 Good.  Night.