I accepted the fact, about 6 years, 18 days ago when Sean was born that he was the total opposite of his big brother.
Where Aidan slept 18 hours a day like a freaking cat at birth, Sean was up all day and all night – and he screamed all night, too. (That sleeping like a cat thing is what convinced me that I could totally handle another baby. Yeah, rookie mistake. I know.)
For years, Aidan was a back sleeper, and Sean was a stomach sleeper. They seem to have swapped at some point. Aidan now curls up on his stomach, puts the pillow over his head, and wraps himself in the comforter. Sean sprawls on his back, even when he’s got the blanket wrapped around him like he’s some kind of human burrito.
Aidan has been a morning person from way back. I think it’s from all that damn sleep he got as a baby and the sleep he gets now because I’m a freak about schedules and sleep, and yes, my children get 10-11 hours of sleep night.
Sean is not a morning person. Not at all. Mostly, he wishes no one would talk to him until he’s completely awake.He’s so quiet on the drive to school I sometimes freak myself out, thinking I somehow managed to leave him at home. Never mind, I’m the one who buckles him into the car before we leave. I’m not fully functioning yet so it’s easy to imagine I’ve left him at home, ignoring his cries, and driven away without him. It’s horrifying, but (for whatever reason) I believe I might be capable of it.
On the weekends, it’s a different story. He wakes long before I do so by the time I see him, he’s cheerful and chirpy and if it wasn’t completely wrong, I’d tape his mouth shut – his and Aidan’s. (I don’t but until I’ve had some caffeine, I seriously contemplate the odds of it working).
Imagine, if you will, a car filled with three people speeding down the road at 7:15 in the morning:
A morning person who loves the sound of his own voice
A not-a-morning person who glares at everyone and mumbles until he’s completely awake
A not-a-morning person who’s learned to get up two hours before her children just so she can function and not yell at them for breathing too loud so early in the damn morning, can’t a woman get some caffeine in her system first, please??
We race down the road, speeding towards a school better equipped to handle the talk-y one. But not so fast that the quiet one doesn’t have time to finish waking up because I like his teacher, and I don’t want her to deal with a cranky-I’m-not-awake-yet-I-hate-the-mornings Sean.
I mumble, nod, and attempt to contribute conversations, even though Aidan doesn’t really need me to do that. He keeps himself going quite nicely.
But when we do talk, it’s fascinating.
In one 20 minute ride, we discussed why he enjoys being the class clown (“Because I like to make people laugh and I think I’m funny, Mom!”); I reminded both boys I will always love them whether they’re gay or straight (“Duh, we know, Mom.” Good – then I’m doing something right.); the political meaning behind the song American Idiot by Greenday (“They don’t sound like they like America very much.” Me: “Well, they definitely didn’t agree with things that happened after 9/11 and since then. We’ve lost a lot of privacy in the name of “freedom” and keeping us safe.” Aidan: “Ohhhh, that sucks.”); and what was on the lunch menu for the day (“Sorry, I didn’t look on the calendar. I guess it’ll be a surprise.” They spent five minutes guessing what it might be. Sean might not want to say much in the mornings, but if the topic is food, he’s all in.)
Now, add to the mix, John, a man who doesn’t become fully functional until his second cup of coffee.
I’m not sure why the non-morning people haven’t risen up and overthrown the cheerful, talkative, always-got-something-to-say morning person among us. We probably haven’t woken up enough yet.
Another day, another prompt from the 300 Prompts projects. This week’s prompt is a question: Do you prefer taking risks or having a safety net? Oh lawd, y’all, here we go.
Want to join in on the fun? Feel free to answer the prompt question in the comments below or write a response on your own blog and link to it in the comment section.
Risk taker or a safety-netter? (And yes, I realize I made up a word…)
The pay off is always bigger and better when you take risks – assuming you find success, of course. But I’m a sure-thing kind of girl. I need a safety net. I need to know that if I’m wrong, no major harm is done.
Part of that is personality. I’m an introverted thinker – I can imagine 100 ways something could go wrong. Taking a risk means believing that 1 in 100, 1000, or million shot will work. It’s a little scary.
Part of preferring tried and true safety nets is from all the years of being the responsible adult. When you’re the only one bringing in an income and you know in your heart of hearts you’ll always be the only one, you don’t take risks. Being wrong means no lights, no food, no roof over your head. Tried and true is the only way to be sure everyone is taken care of. Maybe life isn’t exciting or fun, but at least you can survive to the next day.
I’ve taken risks before – calculated risks, but still, that counts.
The first time was my divorce. “I can do bad by myself” was the motto. I’d already had 12 years of proof that I could take care of a family on my own. And I couldn’t imagine life becoming much worse than it already was, no matter what happened.
A couple of times it really was awful, post-divorce, but I figured it out, accepted help along the way, and came out on the other side better and stronger. Now I know I can survive – which was the lesson I needed all along.
The second time was for love of a good man. I took a “risk” and moved across the state to be with a man who loved me and the boys. The risk is that there’s no guarantee anything will last forever. But it was still calculated. Time spent + zero lies + trust gained = creating something bigger together.
And the third, though it’s tied to the second time, was working for myself. I never could have gone freelance without support. I struggle with self-doubt all the time. Not because life is raining down chaos over me due to poor decisions. No, just the fear that maybe I really can have what I want, do what I love, and a risk will pay off, even though I can’t calculate the outcome in concrete ways. The real risk is believing in myself enough to do what felt impossible even a year ago. But, like all real risks, the potential pay off, even with the very real minutia of dream-making, make it all worth it in the end.
By habit, I’m someone who’d prefer a safety net. Tell me why it worked for you, and then I need 100 other stories of success. Then tell me why it will work for me. Now, maybe, after much thought and careful consideration, I’ll try it.
But sometimes, you have to close your eyes and leap. Take the risk, knowing you’re making the best decision possible with the information available to you.
I’ve been re-miss in getting down all the things Aidan and Sean say. Partly because I’m not always paying attention. Partly because they’re not always that funny or insightful. But damn, when they are, it is pure gold.
“I’m middle aged!” Switching to an old man’s voice: “You kids get off my lawn!” Complete with shaking fist and “palsy,” y’all.
“Aw, man, don’t touch my butt with your butt. That’s just gross!” Note to self, maybe showering together isn’t always a good idea.
“I love school. We do all kinds of stuff. Like breakfast. Then we have snack. After a while we go to lunch. School is great!” Except you never freaking EAT when you’re there!!
“All creatures need oxygen to live, even people. Without it they would DIE.” He was imparting major knowledge and wisdom that I clearly didn’t have.
“Did you know if they didn’t make mistakes in meat places there would be no hot dogs.” I didn’t even ask what that meant.
“We put dirt in the cup. Then we put in worms. And we cut holes in the cup so the worms could breathe, but we made sure not to stab them. We don’t want them DIE.” Oh good.
“What will you give me to get out of bed and go to school every morning?” Life, my child. You get to continue breathing. Now get your ass out of bed!
That’s it, boys. Keep sharing your wisdom with me.
My caffeine appreciation is much higher than average, but otherwise – yep. All of this. For those of you who run websites and need content, you either need to have this knowledge or know someone who does. Oh yeah, like me.
This week’s writing prompt for 300 Prompts actually brought a smile to my face. What did you get into trouble for the most when you were a kid?
If you want to join in, answer the prompt in the comments below or write your own blog post and share the link in the comment section.
“You’re talking just to hear yourself speak!”
My dad had a short temper, no love for bullshit, and preferred silence above all else – especially when he didn’t feel good, which was nearly every day of my childhood. The ramblings of a kid, especially those musings that actually go no where and mean little, weren’t things he was prepared to deal with. Ever.
I was one of those boring kids who rarely got into trouble. Of course, when I did let loose and go wild, it was epic (like the time in 9th grade when I was suspended from school for a week for drinking on campus. Yep, that really happened.)
And the things that got me in trouble with my dad, who was home with me while my mom worked, were the things we can’t always help.
Talking. Lots of talking.
Crying when I got into trouble.
Being too loud, too much, too everything.
Back in the day, I was frustrated a lot. I never really understood why I was in trouble for being myself.
Now, I see those memories from an adult’s perspective…
Kids talk about not a damn thing. They truly do talk to hear themselves speak. Holy hell, it drives me nuts.
My dad spent nearly every waking moment in pain. He also had anger management issues. The two together is a pretty volatile combination. The result was a childhood with plenty of angry voices. Don’t feel sorry for me. We laughed as much as we fought.
That experience, though, has colored my own parenting. Yes, Aidan’s incessant rambling can make me crazy. But I walk the line of making sure he’s heard and shutting him down when he begins repeating himself. Rarely (okay, sometimes) it involves an exasperated voice but I try never to say, “You’re only talking to hear yourself.”
The one time I did say it, I got a cheeky grin and an unabashed, “Yep, I sure am!” as a response. That’s my boy.
It makes me wonder how Aidan will look back on his childhood one day, and how an adult version of my chatty kid would answer this same question.