Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Managing sleep deprivation 101

Today is a work day and I feel totally wrecked. I intended to wake up super early, work for an hour, then drive to the boat and work super hard all day long. Only problem: I'm so tired I can't focus my eyes enough to read. This isn't from my children. Sadly, this is just me, insomniac-ing in the night. It has made me think of how I've managed to get through the last five sleepless years. I will share with you my hard learned tips and misc. tidbits:

1. Pretend you are not extraordinarly sleep deprived. The kids don't care that you're exhausted. Just take the word "tired" right out of your vocabulary. While your at it, eliminate the word "sleep" too. Didn't you hear, sleep is for pansies. Eventually you'll forget that this is something that you used to do.

2. Ingest caffeine. Multiple times a day. Figure out how you like to get yours: chocolate? coffee? pop? Coffee grinds in your eye? Yes please. Ingest within 5 seconds of getting up in the morning with a mitt-full of pain-killers. All of a sudden, you'll feel much, much better.

3. Trade off on the weekends: Saturday you sleep in, Sunday, the other parent sleeps in. Redefine "sleeping in" to mean 7am.

4. Go to bed at 9pm. Yeah right. Sorry, that was a bad joke.

5. Never, Ever sit down. You'll realize how tired you are and not be able to get up, and/or may fall asleep.

6. Playdates with other sleep-deprived parents. Being around grown-ups is a great way to distract yourself from the sheer and overwhelming exhaustion. Time goes much faster when spent with adults.

7. Stay away from people who have the luxury to take naps, sleep in, and who say they are tired a lot. You'll probably start hating them and will possibly say something offensive, damaging your relationship.

8. Limit your multitasking as you are very mistake prone in this state. Example: In the past, I have been super excited waiting for the supper I made to finish cooking in the oven. When I thought it had been in long enough, I went to get it out of the oven. Only problem: I hadn't even put it in yet. Dang.

That's all I've got for now. I'm going to try to take a nap sitting in my chair. I'm sure I can do it.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Making progress: At home

So this weekend we (well, Duncan) installed the hardwood flooring in our bedroom. It only took us...1.5 years (after buying it). We plan to put it in the kids' bedroom as well and then switch rooms with them. I can't wait. I'm sick of the ugly, dirty plywood, which was a vast improvement over the horrid carpet. At least we'll be able to enjoy our room with the lovely floor for a few (well, likely many) months!
The current faux-wood flooring in the kids' room (and what was in our room).

"New and Improved" and lovely.

Parenting Milestone #4

My first born called me dumb. Not only did he say I was dumb but he wrote it. This was following a small reprimand for grabbing something from Lewis. On one hand I'm proud: Yay! My five-year-old is writing all on his own. On the other hand, well, I'm not so impressed.

I've been waiting for the "I hate you" for some time now. I haven't heard it yet. But you know, I haven't been called dumb in longer than I can remember. It's almost worse coming from a child. Don't get me wrong, it didn't hurt my feelings. What it did do was spark a conversation on how one should handle their anger (i.e., not with name calling).

The result: he scratched out his "mom is dum" and replaced it with "mom is great." That's right son.

Saturday, November 10, 2007


Makin' stuff with Dad.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Daylight savings sucks

My kids were awake at 5 am this morning yelling and running an "obstacle course" in their room. Thank you man-people who decided changing time twice a year was a good idea.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Parenting Milestone #3: Expensive distruction

Today I saw the future and failed to act. I had made a pot of coffee to get through the unending first day of daylight saving. I almost finished my cup and left it beside my laptop on the kitchen table. At one point I thought, gee, I should move that cup 'cause first chance he gets, Lew will be up on the table spilling my coffee on my computer. And then, as caring for children while juggling a zillion tasks goes, I got distracted. Big. Fucking. Mistake.

I turned my back. Lewis scaled the kitchen chair.

Lewis spilled coffee (with milk and sugar) on my laptop keyboard.

And the rest of the children watched on, saying NOTHING.

I flipped. I calming walked to Duncan's office (where he was working) and said, "you'd better come look after your children because their lives are in danger."

At first I thought everything was okay: the computer continued to function (after I poured the coffee out) and it seemed the crisis had been averted. But alas, no. It started to become unresponsive and then failed to boot. I think I started crying and swearing a lot at this point. Coincidently, when this happened we also lost our internet signal so that I could not do a quick google search to see how to handle such a situation. PS: I did everything that a person should not do (cry your face-off while frantically trying to reboot a dripping wet computer).

The marginally good news is I got all of my critical things backed-up before it went to sleep. I'm hoping that after it dries, it may be resurrected. It's going to the hospital tonight to prepare for emergency surgery tomorrow (I love you Scott Carter).

I would have given my third born away to the gypsies had they stopped by my house today. I'm SO over age one.

Top 10

10 things I love about being a PhD student:

1. I never know what I'm doing. Pro: I'm always learning something new. Con: I'm always trying to figure it all out. It's never the same and I'm constantly pushing my brain to it's limits.

2. My schedule is my own. There is no punch-clock. Although, I do eventually have to get the work done.

3. Creativity: Dreaming up hypotheses, designing experimental designs, seeing if it works and then writing about it all. Wheeeeee!

4. Working with dangerous stuff: chemicals, equipment, massive amounts of magnetic fields. I think I actually accidentally ate radiation once (have I mentioned I'm not all that careful?).

5. Getting to say "yeah, I'm a neuroscientist" and seeing people go "wtf?"

6. Living in the world of ideas and getting excited over ideas with other people. It's like having sex without all the sex.

7. Playing at the edge of knowledge.

8. Taking coffee breaks with other grown-ups.

9. Belonging to a lab: experiencing group membership, being forced to hang out with new people (because you share the same space), being around youth (well, 20-something youth).

10. Getting to say the words "synthesis," "heuristic," and "caudate nucleus."