counting sheep and brussels sprouts

It's 3:52 am.

Buster is sleeping, wrapped up in his baby cocoon. He breathes with texture, as if he's in yoga class.

Chicken is sleeping, limbs akimbo at unnatural angles that cannot be safe for human skeletal structure. He looks like a squashed spider. He is snoring a little and sucking on a binky, making the occasional wet clicking sound that babies make when sucking on binkies.

I am wide awake. 

The room is neither hot nor cold. The bed is comfortable, the pillows fluffed, the sheets fresh.

I had a gin and tonic with dinner. 

I haven't had a full night's sleep in 2 months. 

There is no earthly reason I should be awake right now.

I'm just not sleepy.

It's 3:59 am.

Why do all my white tank tops age at quadruple speed? From the moment I bring a crisp new tank home from the store I have approximately 45 seconds until it looks like I wore it to swim out of New Orleans when the levees broke. White tank tops are like those meth billboards that show the gruesome before and after shots of cheerleaders-turned-zombie hags. 

It's 4:05 am.

I should go get a book to read. 

It's 4:06 am.

Sherry baby (sherry baby) sherry baby won't you come out tonight (come come, come out tonight) why don't you come on (come on) to my twist par-tay...

It's 4:07 am.

I should try counting sheep.

It's 4:11 am.

The bullshit thing about being awake while your kids are sleeping is the fact that you know that you're losing ground with every moment that passes. They are now 60 seconds stronger, more rested, and more ready to break expensive shit, and you are now 60 seconds slower, duller, more haggard, more irritable, more incapable of multitasking. The sleepers keep getting sleepier and the wakeful keep staying awake. It's a vicious cycle. Occupy this.

It's 4:16 am.

The other problem with being awake when you know you should be sleeping is the guilt/terror element. I have some version of this monologue on repeat: 

"holy shit, what is wrong with you. You know you are so fucked for tomorrow, right? You know you get anxious when you don't get enough sleep. If you don't fall asleep right now you are probably going to have a panic attack tomorrow. At the very least you will spend the whole day in a state of mild terror and anxiety, knots in your stomach, wondering if dragons really exist, watching the sky-- Oh my god, GO TO SLEEP YOU CRAZY BITCH! NOW! SLEEP! DRAGONS AREN'T A THING, SO JUST FUCKING RELAX AND GO TO SLEEP!" 

Surprisingly, this does not help me sleep.

It's 4:27 am.

I'm going to take a crack at this sheep counting thing.

Or, you know what worked for me a couple of nights ago was going through recipes in my mind, visualizing preparing roasted Brussels sprouts or minestrone. 

It's banal and routine, comforting, satisfying, and dull. I have a bag of Brussels sprouts that need halving. I know exactly what to expect out if the next 8 minutes of my life: cool, tightly coiled buds of leaves, the familiar grip of the good knife, the crunching-smack sound when I chop the sprout in half, the shower of pale green petals that I sweep across the smooth, stained wood chopping block with the blade of my hand. Repeat, 20 times. 

I have a sunny kitchen and a family that likes to cook. These are happy thoughts for me. 

It's 4:36 am.

Here's hoping you're reading this at a civilized hour. Here's hoping that as I write this you are absent from this conversation and dreaming odd dreams. Here's to a good start to the week for you, my friend. 

I'm off to cook in my dreams.


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