Why I should put the damned remote down before child services steps in.
I have a lot of bad habits.* The worst of which is, I suffer temporal dysmorphia—time passes strangely in my presence. I don’t know if this is a real condition but I know that, whenever my son finally goes to bed for the night, I’m deluded into thinking that the clock stops moving and I am no longer bound by the laws of physics. Suddenly, I think I have all the time in the world.
I will happily utilize my Personal Eternity Field™ to cruise the internet, chat with friends in other states, read or, worst of all, channel surf until I develop remote-control finger. (It still twitches in my sleep trying to find something better to dream about on another channel.) But the reckoning comes when I finally do look at a clock and reality strikes twelve…or possibly one, two or three o’clock in the morning. And I have to get up at 6:30a.m. to stumble through the day.
For years I have been guilty of this. I drag myself to work on little to no sleep, drowning in caffeinated beverages until my kidneys complain for all the overtime they are putting in. I tell myself, “I’m fine. I function well enough. I am a productive membrane of sociopathy…wait, what was I saying?” I would also claim that “It’s no big deal. I’m only hurting myself.” Until yesterday.
Yesterday, I drove home from work, changed into comfy workout clothes and set up my computer in a lovely, silent kitchen. It appeared as though grandma had taken Booger (aka the fruit of my womb) somewhere for a treat. So I relax and enjoy the peace of no child running around playing “I Am a Pizza” until my ears bleed. (YouTube it later at your peril.) As the time approached 5:30, I start to question a good thing, “Hmm, I wonder where mom has taken Das Kind off to?”** So I give her a call.
“Mom, where’s Alexei?” I ask.
“I dropped him at music, like usual. Why?” Grandma/Babysitter/Person-Who-is-Questioning-My-Parenting-Skills says.
“Shit. It’s Tuesday. Crap. Gotta go.” I say, running for my coat and the keys to my car.
I was supposed to pick him up at around 5:15. It’s around 5:45 when I finally get there. I am all apologies when I race into the building to get my son. I know we’ve interrupted another student’s lesson because I forgot, for a moment, that I had a child.***
“Don’t worry, this is what interns are for!” Miranda, the saint-like, long-suffering music therapist, says. Is it any wonder the woman’s name means ‘Worthy of Being Admired’?
On that subject, I suspect that somewhere, in a future Baby Name Book, mine will come to mean: Forgetful, Lost in Thought, Probably Shouldn’t Have Children…or Houseplants.
So, I have had a clear and unmistakable warning that the long-term consequences of my tempus hubris could be much more severe than a tendency to be half-asleep at my desk. If I am so tired I am checked out of life, I might actually miss out on being a parent. Parenting is an around-the-clock responsibility. It is not for the faint of heart, nor, apparently, the short of sleep. So, I have added a reminder notice to my phone so that, every evening, it tells me the title of my favorite not-for-children’s story book:
And if somehow the message doesn’t sink in, it might be time for drastic measures. I’ll have to get a tattoo somewhere quite visible that says:
Tempus Fugit: Time Waits for No Man…Or Woman Either…This Means You! Now Seriously, Get Some Sleep. Your Kidneys Will Thank You.
Asterisk Bedazzled Footnotes:
*We’ll save that list for another blog, or ten.
**Das Kind—is German for somebody got down and dirty with a wurst and nine-months later produced a cocktail weenie. (Or Eine Kleine Frankfurterette, if it’s a girl.)
***Approximately ten years ago, to be exact. You’d think it would have sunk in by now.