An Average Evening

May 16, 2008

I am not sure why, but for the past several months my oldest son (7yrs old) has decided that the best time to catch up on mother/son time is at approximately the same time that my wife has achieved a deep REM state. I know this to be true because, when my children rise for the day, my wife rolls over with her best “I haven’t slept in three days” expression and tells me that Mack was “in for a visit last night”. As her loving partner, I understand the implications of this statement. For those of you without children, or the benefit of 16 years of marriage, it means the following: “You had more sleep than me. Step to the plate- you’re up”.

To my credit, I willingly oblige. I have been getting up at the crack of dawn for the past 20 years which is just part of being a Marine, so sleep, though pleasant, is a nice but unnecessary comfort.

So why am I blogging (that word makes me uncomfortable) about this? I am putting this in print so that I can explain to my wife my typical evening. I need her to know that yes Mack is exclusive in who he visits at 2 a.m., but once the dust is settled for Connie the winds change direction and my evening (or early morning) begins.

I have outlined my typical evening post-Connie awakening for her benefit.

“Shane’s at bat”
2:00 a.m.- Mack has once again wandered into our bedroom- a pretty common occurrence. From my position (feigning sleep,) I know it is one of two things:

1. He has had a nightmare, most likely something involving a giant opossum or Sponge Bob, or some combination of the two.
2. He believes 2 a.m. is when school starts and wants to make sure he is on time.

Connie takes the bullet. I begin to snore to confirm that, yes, I am asleep.

2:25 a.m.- Surprise! Mack is back and this time he has decided to ride the giant Opossum to school which starts at 2:30 a.m. I say something unintelligible that alerts Mack to my presence and confirms that dad will not be happy if he rises to full consciousness.

2:35 a.m.- Mack is now in bed with us.

2:38 a.m.- I look back in the darkness at my son’s smiling face. I think he is feigning sleep? He begins to snore in an attempt to throw me off his trail. I have taught you well, young Jedi, we’ll meet again…

2:43 a.m.- I feel two icy cold objects on the small of my bare back. Startled, I believe that indeed Sponge Bob IS in the house and he is conducting pre-op to see if I would be a good kidney donor for Mr. Crab who is in dire need of an operation to save his life. Obviously, Mack’s ramblings have woven themselves into my REM sleep. I determine that I need to lay off the Carlo Rossi before going to bed.

2:44 a.m.- Turns out the icy objects are Mack’s feet and he is earnestly pushing me from the nest like a mother bird teaching her babies to fly. Mission accomplished! I grudgingly trounce off to his kid-sized bed to see if I can catch a couple of hours of sleep.

3:00 a.m.- Now, I am in Mack’s bed.  Cayden is sleeping above me in his bunk. The blankets are small, but if I position them correctly, I can cover most of my exposed skin. I’ll try not to move for the rest of the night.

3:05 a.m.- I moved. Man, it’s cold in here; no wonder the kid wanted my spot.

3:10 a.m.- I repositioned myself and once more I am mostly covered up. I ripped open a couple of Mack’s stuffed animals and shoved my feet up their butts to keep warm. I’m starting to wonder if it would have been less painful to get the spare blanket in the guest room…

4:00 a.m.- I just learned, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Cayden is my son. I know this because he inherited my father’s God-awful snore.

4:05 a.m.- Three sasquatch are standing on my lawn.  They are responding to Cayden’s snoring.  They believe the sound to be a female sasquatch in search of loving.

5:00 a.m.- Cayden needs to poop. He steps on my face on the way to the potty. I commend him for going as I pull his sock fibers from my eye sockets.

5:05 a.m.- Mission complete! I know this because Cayden has come back into the bedroom trailing 18 feet of toilet paper. I investigate. The remaining 75 feet of toilet paper are piled into the toilet; strangely, all of it is clean; what does this mean? I am too tired to ponder the possibilities. Mental note: scrub Cayden’s butt first thing in the morning.

6:00 a.m.- Mack’s wondering if it is time to get up? I don’t know who he is, where I am, and for the life of me cannot figure out why my feet are embedded into the rectums of two stuffed animals. I ignore him, and the strange circumstances surrounding my situation, and roll over.

6:01 a.m.- Mack takes this as a sign that he should join me. I stick my icy cold hands to the small of his exposed back and feign sleep.

6:30 a.m.- I am awakened to the sound of the blender. That’s strange; Connie likes her Margaritas on the rocks. I roll over and go back to sleep.

6:32 a.m.- Holy shit! My kids are playing with a device designed to puree objects at a million miles per hour; I spring from bed grabbing the first aid kit next to the blanket I was too lazy to get two hours ago and rush to the scene.

6:32:03 a.m.- Mack and Cayden are enjoying their chocolate shakes and watching Sponge Bob. They are happy to see me and the feeling is mutual. I curl up on the couch and hug them close.

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