The nightly choice of sleep, or recharge? 

There’s this time at the end of the day. You know the one, where you’ve finally got your kid(s) to bed and you’re so unbelievably bloody tired. You’ve just left their room after rocking/shushing/head stroking/cuddling/reading/whispering to them for the last hour trying to get them to go the hell to sleep. You’ve been awake since 0430 because, you know, that’s ‘morning’ to them for some bizarre reason, even though, being winter it’s darkness is fairly blatantly saying it’s still the middle of the night. You’re done with dinner because these days you basically eat it at afternoon tea time because that’s when the tiny dictator in the house is most hangry. There’s a million things you probably should be doing but in reality you know you won’t so you’ve really just got two options; 1. Go to bed. You know, because sleep. And 2. Don’t go to bed, put the kettle on, make a cup of tea and watch some tv with your significant other/on your own and take one hour to just be free. One of those cups of tea that you can wrap your fingers around and feel the heat, that scalds your throat on the way down because you’re used to cold tea and you gulp it forgetting that it’s just been boiled and you’ve got the time to stop and enjoy it. To watch something mindless on TV without interruption, no one talking at you or hanging onto your leg, or throwing food at you. You’ve spent the last 16 hours playing, feeding, cleaning, and watching your little miracle discover the world and it has been moments of bliss mixed with moments of immense frustration, and it’s finally time to decide. 

Do you catch up on sleep because you know in all reality they will be waking in approximately 2 hours and 37 mins, or do you stay awake and have an hour of your own time. Your own time to recharge before the next 16 hour day of play, and food, of little hands and high pitched squeaky-mostly-cute little voices, of books and parks and counting and head stroking and saying yes and no and no and yes until you’re blue in the face. Your own time, because you know that as soon as you close your eyes you will be opening them again to a little person who consumes your whole being, every breath is for them, and sleep doesn’t feel like a break because it passes at speed without you even knowing. 
I probably should take option 1 more often and catch up on some sleep, I’m sure I’d feel better for it. But I never do. Every night it’s the same, I say “we should go to bed” and then I put the kettle on and take the me time because I know that if I don’t, when the little voice starts again my patience starts off already being depleted from the day before. That hour is my recharge time and I hope I’m a better mum for it. 

What about you, sleep or recharge? 

(They sound like they should be the same thing, but it definitely doesn’t feel like it…).

Mr O does America. (Part 3). 

I’m lying in a van, my two year old asleep next to me, the door open, looking up at the darkening sky in the middle of the magnificent canyons of Utah, USA. 
The trees are dark silhouettes and the sky is an ever changing ombré as the daylight disappears. There are lights shining in the camper across from us, the smell of campfires drifts past and the air is crisp and cool. Everyone is settling in for the night before another day in the heat and dust begins tomorrow.  

It’s hard to describe the heat, or even imagine it now that the air is cool. But it’s hot here. It’s so hot that water doesn’t quench your thirst, and the dust permeates everything, by the end of the day your eyes are red and raw and your skin is coated. But it wouldn’t be as magnificent if it wasn’t so intense. 

We have stared in awe at the shapes and colours that make up Bryce Canyon, descended into the depths of it and zig-zagged our way back out again. We have caught our breath at the absolute scale of Zion National Park, we are nothing when we stand in those canyons, and we are on top of the world when we climb to the top. We have sweated and sweated and sweated. And each night we have driven our little home back to the campsite and cooked a simple dinner and settled in for the night. 

With a toddler. 

Honestly, I lie here now and I can’t even believe we are here, that we have actually been able to do this. 

But we are, we have been free and I am trying to use it to heal. To enter the next year a little less afraid, and a little bit happier.  

Mr O has made us so incredibly proud, he has adapted to daily change like an absolute super star and he has trusted us that everything will be okay. He has slept in so many different beds, and woken up in so many new places, surrounded by strange faces and voices, and he has taken our hands and walked into it with us. I won’t lie, there have been tantrums and meltdowns and screaming, but we understand it. We don’t feel comfortable all the time either, so his world must feel upside down right now (like seriously, we are on the other side of the world?!?). 

Tonight, as we ready ourselves for the final few days of our trip I want to stop and remember this moment. So that next year I can stay home. And be in our home during the hardest month of the year. We have been free, we can be, but I know that it’s for me, and not for him. 

Two birthdays, two completely contrasting towering mountainous terrains. 

Here’s to his third birthday party being at home (someone remind me next year when I start trying to run away again please…).