A weekend ritual and an insect funeral

I am a night person with a small child who is not a good sleeper. During the week, I am up late because after finally getting him to bed (and to stay in bed, and to fall asleep) and getting a few things done in the house and ready for the morning, it is already late, and if I want any time to myself at all, I have to be up even later. I get up (though moan and stagger around is a better description) at 5am to start work before the child gets up, so this makes for short nights. Plus, the child is a light sleeper with an overactive imagination, so he wakes me up at least one night a week because he had a dream or there was a funny noise or his nose is bleeding or he wants some water or he had an interesting idea. My husband and I have a deal – I am on night duty. Since I work from home and don’t have to commute, I am better able to function on the repeatedly interrupted sleep. (This was possibly more true 7 1/2 years ago than it is now. Years and years of interrupted sleep takes its toll.) Plus, being a night person, I do not come across as a deranged yelling tyrant when presented with an odd request at 2am. (A roared “Go the %&$# back to bed!!!!!” is not really soothing to a child who has had a nightmare.) The flip side of this deal is that I get to sleep in past 5am on Saturdays and Sundays, otherwise I will cease to be able to function at all. At least, I think this is the other end of the deal. I may not have informed my family.

Saturday morning, 7am. I am asleep. The cat tried waking me up at 6:30am to complain that the window was not open, but I opened it and went back to sleep. I am definitely asleep. Until something starts jabbing me in the head and announcing, “Ariella is chasing a moth.” I pretend that I am dead.

Saturday morning, 7:10am. The jabbing digit and the little voice return. My feigned death was obviously not convincing. “Ariella killed the moth. At least, Dad says she did. I am not sure it is dead.”

Saturday morning, 7:20am. “Mom, can I have my iPad time now?” I groggily wave my hand around until my thumb makes contact with the iPad. Apparently, this is successful, because a 50 pound weight suddenly launches onto my legs and settles down. I take the pillow out of my mouth and mumble “Go away.” Thirty seconds later from the hallway, I hear “What are you doing with Mom’s iPad? I told you not to wake her up!” “It’s okay, Dad. I found her awake,” lied the child.

So, you may be wondering how the insect funeral fits in. Remember the moth? The source of desperately needing to wake up Mom after only a few hours of sleep? The one the cat hunted down? It died. This was an unremarked tragedy, until the next morning, when my son pointed out the grave. At some point on Saturday, he had taken the moth away from the cat (allegedly still fluttering, but nearly anything will flutter when waved around by a hyped up 7 year old boy) so it could be rescued. He reported that he placed it under a piece of pottery so the cat could not get it, and checked on it frequently, but it stopped moving and was dead. So he gave it a funeral. He got his “worm box,” which is a plastic bin that he filled with dirt and planted weeds in. Whenever a worm is unlucky enough to show its face and slow enough to be captured, it gets placed in the worm box and diligently watered. I keep telling him that worms don’t need to have their homes watered, to no avail. He is convinced there is now an entire worm colony in there. He buried the dead moth in the worm box so it would have company, and used a piece of broken pottery from his fairy village’s boundary line as a tombstone. Then he slowly and ceremoniously whacked the heck out of my irises until he had snapped off two. The shredded remains of the flowers were scattered across the driveway and the bare and battered stems were lovingly placed on the grave. Every morning on the way to school, we have to stop and regard the grave respectfully and observe a moment of silence.

This is what happens when I try to sleep in.


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