Stupid mice and their dumb cookies anyway

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAColin wouldn’t let me walk him into sixth-grade on Monday, robbing me of the very last time I would get to help anybody unpack a gargantuan backpack on his first day, and then take seven selfies with a scowling child at his new desk.

He wouldn’t even let me post the photo on Facebook that I took of him standing with his best friend on the playground before the bell.

My youngest child’s steadfast refusal to play along with things like first-day-of-school rituals, or to get emotional about anything at all rarely bothers me. Aside from appreciating the opportunity it gives me to tease him, I don’t go all in for that kind of thing either.

Usually, I mean. I usually don’t go all in for the mushy emotional thing. Lately, though, if I’m awake at 4 am, I’m dwelling on the fact that I will never again have a warm little person ask me plaintively if he can cuddle with his dad and me because he can’t sleep, or because he had a bad dream.

Or because he’d peed in his own bed.

I rarely get nostalgic. I don’t miss the baby and toddler years at all. Except, apparently, at 4 am, and even though the night-time cuddle thing was only great for the first five minutes anyway, until someone kicked me in the face, or I woke up in a pool of sweat… or worse.

Co-sleeping is for schmucks who don’t mind getting peed on. Why, then, am I awake at 4 am?

Sometimes Mike will ask me if it’s time for the change. He says it with a stupid smile and a big step back to make sure he’s out of immediate reach. I am on the backside of my 40s now, but I don’t think I’m old enough for whatever the hell he’s implying.

So, not one for nostalgia, and I’d rather have a intracranial hematoma than another baby, but for some reason, at 4 am I think about how I can’t remember the last time one of the kids crawled into bed with us and for the life of me, I don’t understand what was so bad about it when they did.

Then, this morning, when my fitness class instructor was talking about proper posture for squats, she launched into a stream-of-consciousness monologue about how an incorrect squat will hurt your back, and the pain will make you crabby when the kids come home, and crabby kids that will make for a rough evening …

… A little rant, which she laughed off as her morning ‘If you give a mouse a cookie’ rundown.

I giggled because we loved that whole series of books. I remember Jack finishing all of my sentences when I read to him because he knew those books backward and forward, and he sounded so cute with his little, Muppet Beaker voice.

“Chances are, if he asks for a glass of milk ….”

“… He gonna wanna cookie go wiff it.”

Then I got a little misty-eyed because I won’t get to read to anyone anymore about giving mice color crayons or pigs eating pancakes, and I about dropped the bar on my head.

Stupid nostalgia can be dangerous in the gym.

The change. It’s the only reason I can fathom I’m on the verge of tears at the drop of a hat, and waking up at 4 am with a gloomy feeling about never getting peed on again, so I find myself looking up “symptoms of perimenopause” online, thinking I’m going to read about hot flashes and night sweats.

What I find is a catalogue of symptoms that’s longer than the list of supplies we just bought for sixth grade. And there’s this:

“… overwhelming thoughts of doom and dread, panic attacks, high anxiety, heart palpitations, vertigo, dizziness, unrelenting insomnia, and feelings of losing control.”

…. Oh, the hell you say? Doom? And freakin’ dread? Shut up.

I don’t go all in for doom or dread, but I will say this: when I dropped Colin off at school on Monday and watched him troop in with a whole pod of sixth graders – a full half of whom are taller than I am – without even looking back with a final wave, I maybe had to hide the fact that I was crying just a little bit as I made my way back to the bike rack.

I’ve never cried once in dropping the kids off anywhere, not camp, not school, not even when I left them with their dad for a month and went gallivanting across Argentina (well, I may have cried for twenty seconds but then the stewardess plopped a drink down in front of me, and all was well and good in the world).

So this has to be something hormonal. That’s all I can fathom. I can’t be pining for babies, or bemoaning the fact that I didn’t faithfully record every skin cell they shed or every fart they let.

If it’s a choice between the change and something else, I’ll take perimenopause over sentimentality any day.

You shut the hell up. I would so.


If you vote for my little blog, I’ll be in a better mood. I promise.



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  1. As a mom of a sixth grade boy, also on the backside of her 40s, and having similar moments, I find your post downright spooky. Don\’t think that I really wanted to know that menopause may be knocking at my door. My mom didn\’t go through the change until her early 50s. Was really hoping I had another 5 years before that madness begins.

    1. Maybe it\’s not what I think it is. Maybe it\’s just something I ate.

      Maybe it\’s bigger than that – a worldwide doom thing. In that case, neither of us would need to worry about the big M. So, there\’s always that.

      1. Perimenopause? The hell? No. No no no no no.

        First off, I\’m going to overlook the fact that we unfairly have to go through puberty and then do it again in reverse. Because that makes me mad enough to rant for a few paragraphs.

        Then I\’m going to say that I just reject it. You\’re too young, and…just no. So, I\’m going to go with sixth grade just makes you crazy. It\’s just sixth grade. And there\’s no reason. None at all.

        Now, go have a cookie, and some milk to go with it. And maybe a sleeping pill.

  2. I have a two year old and a four month old……I also have 4am anxiety. I blame lack of sleep. Of course you have anxiety at 4 am…… You\’re supposed to be sleeping! Although I know it is a long way off….. My babies love to snuggle and read with my mom. Grandmas get to do the lovey things!

  3. This article brings back memories! My youngest is in eighth grade now, but I clearly remember her first day of sixth grade. I went in late to work that day so I could see her safely on the bus. It was not only her first day of middle school, but also her first time on a school bus. I pretended to walk the dog up and down at the end of the street so I could surreptitiously keep watch, cause she wouldn\’t let me near the bus stop. She was so adorable and independent!