I met Loren in an elevator somewhere between the 8th floor and the lobby at the Sheraton in Chicago during BlogHer '09. What struck me about Loren right off the bat was not so much that she was alone at this insane convention with all kinds of people who knew each other but that she was totally cool and relaxed about it. She's the kind of chick who emanates that vibe that she totally knows who she is. And I love that. And then I started reading her blog, "Dude, Where am I?" and I was all, "Okay, this is one unique voice with a commitment to writing that I do not possess." She is a researcher to be admired and a writer I totally respect. I am so honored she is our final affiliate post as we bid adieu to 2009.
It’s the first week in December and all through the house echoes of coughing and sneezing abound. All the Christies are sick with colds. Even the dog is sneezing and nursing a scratch she received from the cat (who was not happy to be hit in the ear with snot). A general sense of misery is in the air, although the stockings are successfully stuck to the banister with sticky tape and letters to Santa are secured with a dozen magnets on the refrigerator door.
Mama is wishing (hard) for a long winter's nap. I’m tired and feverish, never really resting because my three young children wake up several times per night. I grab a bottle of cough medicine and take a teaspoonful. Then I read the label.
“Controlled substance. Dangerous unless used as directed.”
Hmm, sounds…yummy. I think, picturing me sleeping with a smile plastered on my face.
At midnight I’m immersed in a dream involving an eight months pregnant version of me smacking myself in the forehead repeatedly with a list I once wrote titled “When I’m a Parent.”
In 2003 I put ten naïve pre-parent promises in writing, because I had read two books on the subject of raising children, and was therefore, prepared to be a totally awesome, never tiring, always sticking to the rules, never screaming “Calgon, TAKE ME AWAY” sort of mom. Yes, I was determined to be perfect. Try telling me that could not be done. I’d shout:
Number 10 on my list was:
“I will never let any of my children sleep in my bed.”
In the final second of my cough syrup-induced dream, the old list turns into a Thomas the Tank Engine book, and suddenly, I’m awake. My two year old is standing beside the bed, flogging me with his favorite coloring book. What, toddlers don’t create art at midnight?
My legs feel very heavy, but I manage to walk him to his room and tuck him back into his toddler bed, just like Super Nanny advises. In the hall I see the shadow of a girl in the mirror, and I say hello. Oops, that’s just me. Hiccup!
I crawl back into bed too groggy to laugh at myself, as the wind picks up outside my bedroom window. The drip, drip, drip of the rain turns into a fierce storm. Lightening flashes, and then comes the loudest crack of thunder I think I’ve ever heard, followed by what I imagine is hundreds of angry buffalo charging toward my bed. For some reason, I can’t move.
The thunder rumbles again, and I realize that this storm is not a dream. Neither is the stampede. First the family dog, (a big, fat Collie-Beagle mix) flies up onto the bed. Next comes my two year old out of his bed again and climbing over me, followed by my four year old daughter who is in tears. Finally my six year old son runs into the room as if he is being chased by zombies and leaps on top of his dad who yelps in pain.
Now my husband and I are clinging to the covers at opposite sides of the bed, nearly falling off. I slip back into a dream. This time I’m hanging down from the plank on a pirate ship full of laughing, naughty children and family pets with eye-patches.
In reality, the toddler is between us, propped up on pillows with ten of his favorite stuffed friends. The dog is at my feet, snoring and sneezing in her sleep. The two older kids are curled up in the center of the bed. We’re like a litter of puppies all snuggled together in a box. I’m wallowing in self-pity, utterly defeated by Mommy Push Over Syndrome; Super Nanny is scolding me in my mind. I picture my children in their fifties with me and hubby as very old people, all still in the same bed. I’m horrified at the thought,
Something about this less-than-ideal sleeping arrangement is actually…nice, I think.
Super Nanny gasps at my thought. Her disapproving image pops out of my mind like a balloon as my toddler grabs my hand in his sleep and sighs. The rain is still falling outside, but we’re all safe and warm.
Oh well, lists are for Santa, I think, pulling myself back from the edge of the bed and drifting back asleep.
Read more of Loren on her blog "Dude, Where am I?"