Saturday, June 30, 2007

More on Clock Works

So this is basically part 2 of the message I posted yesterday.

I had another hectic work week. Plus, yesterday, Mr. T and Son went on a trip to Philly with his summer program group - they are NOT a camp so I use this wordy phrasing intentionally. That left me to pick up Daughter at noon from her school because the 2nd-year preschoolers were graduating and the school was closing early that day. So I took her back to work with me. I took a picture while we were there to send my mother. See?

We stayed about 3 hours - the longest I've ever let her stay because I wanted to get some more things done before I swept her out of there. She managed to stay somewhat adorable to everyone. She hit just about every office, getting stuffed toys from the "magic drawer" of one man; drawing on paper with markers on the floor of one woman; drawing on the whiteboard of one of the other men who - intentionally - has kiddie music as part of his iTunes library - so there she was listening to something Wiggle-like, with a picture of Blue on his whiteboard and she below it adding her own version. The CEO came in after awhile and the first thing I heard was a high-pitched, "Come on!" and a deeper, "Wait up!" Still don't know what they were doing. She played hide-and-go-seek with one of the poor new guys who was trying to eat his lunch and sang one of the songs on the radio to a couple of the girls there prior to that.

"She's got lots of energy!" was the phrase most often quoted. Not sure if some of that was politeness on their part but it's best to not stay too long or else the thin "adorable" layer starts to peel away and we come to the part where people - even the ones with little ones of their own - try to put on a brave face but they just wish the kid would pipe down already. I didn't want her to wear out her welcome so we were able to leave about 3. I had to stop by a friend's job first one town away - the opposite direction of home - and she was bouncy then too. Finally we headed home and this is what I saw when I stopped at the store we had to hit before our final destination of home:

And this is where I say what I intended to say when I started this post. See her sleeping there? So fitting for this post. I watched a little personal documentary by Alan Berliner called Wide Awake this morning. It was an interesting piece because Alan is a night owl - like I no longer am (I think). But he was documenting his difficulty sleeping; looking for traces of it in his family tree; getting expert opinion on the sleepiness of America; documenting the arrival of his new son and showing how he is "the protector of his sleep". One of the things one of those experts said was the there is a syndrome called Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome, a.k.a being a Night Owl. Basically this is a sleep disorder and they say it's starts in adolescence, sometimes infancy (like me). Night Owls work best at night buten when they go to bed at their own time, they have a hard time falling asleep.

Alan was a little concerned about it (after all, he made this film) and yet he knew what all night owls know - there is a peace, a quiet, a timelessness in the middle of the night. That clock may be loudly ticking during the day but after everyone falls asleep, so does the clock and you are off, floating in this space of your very own and it was wonderful. Creativity, for night owls, awakens then. I've written A papers in the middle of the night. I've re-organized in the middle of the night. I've been awakened by business-changing ideas and who can sleep when a new thought is trying to be born? Alan is 40-something and pretty much accepts himself for who he is but he admits - like most of us - that somehow he has to function with the daytimers too - like his newborn son - and there is the unfairness of it all.

The American world doesn't operate on this schedule and so anyone who does is suffering from a "disorder"? Because it's not THE order, it's a diss-order? A disrespected way of being? I say American world because Alan pointed out how there is such a thing as a siesta in some countries, high tea (a.k.a the ingestion of caffeine) in others, so the middle-of-the-day tiredness is not just an American phenomena but we ignore it, push on, wear ourslevs out; they don't.

And me? I'm left trying to find my place again since the kids knocked my clock out of whack. I WANT to stay up later because ideally I will work during the day, be with the family during the day and then have MY time when they fall asleep and I can then get things done. Except something else one of those experts said is that this thing is genetic. And Daughter is clearly a night owl too so waiting for her to go to sleep forces me to go to bed so she'll get bored and go to sleep and then I'm too tired to get back up again!

But I was born with a need for way more sleep than I get anyway so I am battling my clock every day, trying to give time to everyone, including myself. I lose. So then I try to do some of my things during the time I am awake. My kids lose, so then I lose more. I hate it. But I'm stuck with it until the kids are on their own and I can reset my clock.

Everyone was bushed last night after all our little adventures so I got about 9 1/2 to 10 hours of sleep! That is a new record for me. It was like when I was childless and could sleep for 12 hours uninterrupted. I don't know the last time I got that much sleep but I was so excited to get up and not feel sleep deprived. I actually had energy to eat and take a shower and wash some clothes and put towels aways and jump online because my mother is wrapping up our latest project so we can go to print. I even felt like blogging! And right now, I feel like organizing. You should have SEEN Alan's space! Super organized. Hundreds of film sized boxes in rainbow colors; labled drawers. He has to have a touch of OCD. He just has to because he is clearly obsessed with the ordering of things yet I was very impressed and I feel a kinship with him as a result.

In the end, I don't think there was a solution for him any more than there is for me. But I got my 10 hours and right now I feel like I could conquer the world! For now, I think I'll just conquer my house.

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