The second day of the new year. Time for making resolutions.
I am a writer, which perhaps mandates also a list-maker and note-taker, almost to the point of obsession. I’m always scrawling out thoughts and ideas and to-do’s on scraps of paper and backs of envelopes and meeting agendas. I never get the time to compile all those notes I take, though. All those little scraps of paper — some of them bearing my most intimate revelations — flutter about our house and eventually perch on dusty surfaces, where they are neglected and piled upon and otherwise forgotten until the day I come through with a box that I shove random clutter into and then hide in a closet.
You would think I would’ve realized by now the futility of excessive note-taking. Instead, I forge on. In my heart of hearts I lament the impossibility of time and tell myself that if ever I could just get all my genius thoughts collected into one place then… THEN… I would be ready to conquer the world.
But I can’t get my notes organized. My kids say so. And therefore, I haven’t even conquered my house yet.
Despite it all, this happened last week in the middle of that warm and fuzzy slow-motion lull that happens every year between Christmas and New Year’s: I recorded some resolutions for the coming year. Those resolutions are on a page in the notebook that is the latest prospect in my decade-long drive to contain my pen-on-paper overflow, and it goes without saying that “organize my notes” and “clean out computer files” were both goals near the top of the list for 2020. That list — not just comprised of resolutions but actually largely of idealisms and tidbits of “next right thing” advice to my own self — is of course unreasonably long. One might even say… unrealistic. So I might be forced to prioritize the wants and wishes. Here’s a start:
No. 1, I want to sleep in the coming year. Four kids in the last 9+ years, and Beau and I never once were dealt a sleepy baby. For a long time I felt terrible about myself because of it, because no matter how many books I read on the subject, I just wasn’t smart enough to sleep-train a baby. Then, eventually, I decided instead to believe that our kids are walking advertisements for crossbred vigor. That’s when my sleeplessness became a source of pride, and I guess it must be pride that’s kept me alive this long. That and coffee.
Despite our high hopes for him when I was pregnant (we made a point of referring to him in utero as “our easy fourth baby”), almost-2-year-old Muggins (as far as we’re concerned, the last of the Blake children) is just as high-octane and doubly hard-headed compared to his siblings. He’s never ever slept through the night or, as far as I can tell, for more than three hours. So I’ve been up in the nighttime with restless babies and toddlers for nine years now, and I’m seriously starting to wonder if my mind and body might function better if I slept regularly. But how do I get to there? (I mean, short of fleeing to Mexico without the kids, which I do consider regularly.) When the other kids were little, I made them each cry it out in the crib for a few nights. But, inexplicably, I’m not as resolute as I once was… I think the sleep deprivation has clouded my on-the-spot decision-making skills. And then there’s the problem of Muggins’ wildcat-like nighttime yowls waking his siblings. So. Though I’m not saying he doesn’t deserve it, there can be no “crying it out” for our fourth-born.
In desperation I’ve recently resorted to sleeping next to the crib, in Asher’s bed in the boys’ room, and holding Muggins’ hand through the slats of the crib all night long. At least I get to lay down while I’m doing it, and at least he can’t jab me in the eye or kick Beau in the ribs like he does when we let him in our bed. He can, however, stand in the crib and stare at me as I pretend to sleep. And he does just that. Finally, when Beau’s alarm goes off in the adjoining bedroom in the morning, Muggins rattles the sliding side of the crib and calls, “Yay! Daddy! Yay!”
Small celebrations aside, I am resolute that I must rest my body and mind before I can do much else in 2020. I know Father Time will eventually rule in my favor if. I just. Stay in the bed. And leave him in the crib. And am very careful. To never. Let that little bugger smell. My fear.
Speaking of which, it’s bedtime. I have to take care that a second resolution — to write every day in 2020 — doesn’t negate the first one.
What’s Inspiring Me Today — As I consider which of my hopes, dreams, and fancies are worthy of “resolution” and “goal” status for this year, I find myself looking at an “Emi-ism” that I typed up, printed out and taped to our frig. Throughout this journey of motherhood I have endeavored to record the funny, quirky, and wise “isms” that come from the mouths of our little ones. This is a good one from 6-year-old Emi: “Sometimes when you remember something that ISN’T important, you forget something that IS important.”
Today’s Weather — Cloudy and drizzling. High of 43. Low of 26.
Today On The Ranch — We have finally arrived at a slow-paced time of year (an extremely rare commodity on a cow-calf outfit with a feedlot). Last year’s calves are weaned from their mothers and adjusting to their new life in the feedlot pens; the pregnant cows are vaccinated and foraging in the winter pastures. In January around here the daily chores of feeding calves, riding pens, and caking the cows out in the hills are just that — chores — compared to the never-catch-up pace a corporate ranch like this demands the majority of the year. So we can, and usually do, relax a bit in January (so long as the weather holds; lots of cold and snow can make a January pretty tough; we are thankfully enjoying an open winter so far). One exception to the seasonal demands: Beau is expected in Bozeman at the corporate office next week for budget meetings, so his next few days will be spent in front of the laptop, working numbers and prioritizing projected needs for the ranch in the coming year.
As for me and the kids, we eased our way back into formal learning today after a Christmas-centric December. I — the head teacher around here — have proclaimed that in 2020 every school day will start with a walk… and so ours did.
Favorite Picture From Today — The Sleep Bandit.
© Tami Blake