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2005-10-26 | 1:38 a.m.

Lately I've been waking up at around 1 a.m. and staying awake until 4:30 or so. Then sleep until 7:30, drive Duff to the casual carpool line, then crash back into bed at 9 and try to steal more sleep from the day. I grope for something soft and dark--a sleeve or sock from the dirty laundry will do, I'm not proud--and put it over my eyes to keep the light out. So much easier to sleep that way.

Sometimes it's a struggle to get up again. Lunchtime come and goes and Mama is still sleeping. The phone rings and if I'm lucky, one of the kids will say, "Should I answer it?" and I'll blurt out, "No!" If I'm not lucky, the phone will stop ringing, too soon, and then it comes bobbing toward me in someone's undersized hand, stupid phone, and I can hear them saying, "Here she is, just a moment," just the way I've taught them, and I'm so mad I want to throw the damn phone out the window. But instead I try to summon a voice that sounds wide awake and sparkle-bright, even though anyone who knows me can probably tell I've been hibernating.

Last night I swore I wouldn't do it again but Jinx, who's been sick, woke up crying and by the time I got him to take the damn Tylenol--you'd think I was trying to poison him--I was wide awake again. I tried going back to bed and I was getting pretty cozy when I realized that I had the elements for a really great story swimming around in my head and if I didn't get up and write them down, they'd be gone by morning--no matter how many times I "repeated" them in my mind. So I got up and shampoo, rinse, repeat, I'm so predictable. Except I couldn't stay in bed until lunchtime came and went because I had to teach my class on Oedipus Tyrannosaurus Rex. So I came home and napped through dinnertime instead.

Now the weather's getting colder and darker so it will be that much easier to sleep during the day. I know I should resist the temptation but what really comes to mind is "Mmmmm." Kicking the covers out to their full length and glory with my sausage-babies rolled up close. They can't wait to hear the next chapter of Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle. I read until I get so tired that I'm delirious, and the sentences start coming out all wrong. The beginning's right but my subconscious supplies the end. I'm too tired to laugh but it's funny how exasperated the kids get when they realize that's NOT what it actually says on the page. And then they go "Maaaawwwwwwwm!" and poke me with their elbows, trying to keep me awake long enough to finish the chapter. But I can't; I can't stay awake long enough to finish the chapter. Somebody else will have to finish the chapter, lovey. I'm all out.

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