When I was a teenager, I occasionally needed to be sneaky in my house.
We’ve all been there. I had to tiptoe downstairs to get strawberry shortcake at 2AM when I should have been sleeping. I had to whisper on the phone to my boyfriend if I’d gone over my father’s arbitrary and bone-stupid “10 minutes per call, 3 phone calls per day” limit. I had to avoid the creaking floorboards on the stairs if I got the car back after curfew but it appeared my parents were asleep. (Whew.)
I always assumed that when I had my own house, I would have the freedom to run through the place, cavorting like a drunken leprechaun, if the mood struck me.
As summer really ramps up, with hot temperatures and sunshine until 9PM, I find that I am sneaking around in my house more and more often.
The boys go to bed at their usual times, but they are not falling asleep. Ron lies awake for an hour or more, talking to himself, bringing Legos to bed, turning on the radio, throwing his bedding on the floor and then asking to be re-tucked. Harry gets up for another drink of water. And then to pee. And then to complain that he can’t sleep.
To be really rested, I need to go to bed by 10:30, 11 at the latest. Baby G gets up between 5 and 6. If my older kids are still prowling around at 9:30, that is just not enough time without their
yapping and demanding darling precious angel-faces for my introverted batteries to recharge.
Plus, my usual leisure activities are restricted by the thought that at any time, I’ll hear that distinctive door latch clicking, and a small child will be standing at my elbow, wondering what I’m doing.
Things that I can’t do in a relaxed and non-alert fashion anymore:
- watching anything on TV that I like watching; or, more correctly, watching anything on HBO
- eating an ice cream bar without needing to pass them out to everyone
- Business Time (sorry, honey)
- reading anything, either online or in book form, because Harry has developed the charming habit of reading over my shoulder
- sit on the deck with a beer or glass of wine
I wonder sometimes if by the time the kids are teenagers, we will all be tip-toeing around each other, trying to carve out time and activities for ourselves.