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I haven't slept in three days, I'm cradling a screaming baby in my arms. Oh, and the Trinity Killer (John Lithgow's character from Dexter) is TRYING TO SLASH OPEN MY SCREEN DOOR AND COME IN AND KILL ME. I know what you're thinking. Can it get any worse than this? Yes. But before I get to that let me backtrack a bit.

I'm a fan of murder mysteries so I'll begin by quoting Arnaldur Indridason, the Icelandic author of the Erlendur series. In Jar City he writes that "the past is another country." If that's true then raising an infant is another planet. And three years ago, when I was living on that other planet I did not sleep much. HAHAHA understatement. There's a ton of great literature and studies out there on sleep deprivation--it was my special interest for at least two years. And now I humbly add one more anecdote to the canon.

Our daughter was born awake and screaming (kind of like alive and kicking) and stayed that way until the first time she slept through the night--at 21 months. My husband and I lost weight, forgot dates and times and seasons. I tried everything out there to get our family some sleep. And I mean everything. All the books, methods, advice--even from my local fishmonger, who told me I had to keep her up later so she'd sleep through the night. HAHAHA. When I came to see him the next day at six a.m., I bought the freshest fish in the Deep South while giving him the freshest stink eye a mom could muster. After that I ate a lot less fish, but I got to know our butcher pretty well. She never gave advice, just fresh slices of ham to keep B. occupied while I shopped. And it's shocking how long one slice of ham can keep a toddler busy in a store. If only that worked in the middle of the night I would have lined the kid's crib with ham from stem to stern. Nothing but quiet, happy munching and blissfully sleeping parents. YEAH RIGHT.

I even kept a sleep journal. Want a sneak peak? Intellectual copyright applies because one day I might try to sell it to the military. Or a BDSM dungeon.

8p: Soothing lavender bath. Soothing massage w/organic calendula. Soothing sherpa-blessed non-gmo pjs. Warm bottle milk. Calming story about a little girl who grows up to be a rockstar princess neuroscientist captain of a space station. Soothing French A cappella lullaby about a little chicken who lays eggs in weird places.

8:45p: OMG SLEEP!!!

8:50p: Screaming. Wait 5 min, per this week's sleep expert. Lovey missing. Searched house while swearing through teeth. Found it under dog. Stopped swearing and calmly placed in B's hand.

8:51p: OMG SLEEP!!! I am SO going to bed right now!! Wait, no, shower! Wait, no bed.

10:00p: Screaming bloody murder. Wait 10 min. Blanket has fallen off of left foot. Cover left foot.

10:15p: More bloody murder. Wait 10 min. Blanket has fallen off right foot. Cover right foot.

1:30a: Yup, bloody murder. Wait 15 minutes. Blanket is covering both feet and child is too hot. Ugggggh.

3:00a: Omg could it be bloody murder again?? Yup! Wait another 15 minutes. What is it this time? NOTHING! Someone just felt like shaking their crib and howling! Should I call a sleep coach or a f***ing exorcist???

3:30a: THIS SLEEP TRAINING BULLS*** ISN'T WORKING F*** ALL THOSE STUPID EXPERTS AND THEIR STUPID BOOKS I BET THEY'RE ALL SLEEPING RIGHT NOW AND I REALLY WANT TO SET FLAMING BAGS OF DOG POO ON ALL THEIR DOORSTEPS.

3:60a: Does this hour of night really exist? I don't know. I hate everything and have to be up in a couple hours. Eff it. I'm binge-watching Dexter. Carpe Noctem. The season about the Trinity Killer is really good. John Lithgow is freaking the crap out of me. Maybe I'll fall asleep.

6:30a: Kiddo wakes up cheerful (WTF???). I might have slept, or I might really, trully be living in an episode of Dexter. I'm making a mental note to be wary of nice, normal-looking people. Especially those walking their dogs by my apartment. And even more especially those who look like John Lithgow. Duh.

The day goes fine, until naptime (insert more bloody murder). God how I wish it were cool to sit there and watch Dexter with a toddler. I even consider googling the AAP recommendations for TV viewing, but I pretty much know them by heart. And I know that Dexter is not cool. Fortunately neither is Barney. I decide to carry B. around and sing Smiths songs to her. She stops screaming. Hell yeah! And then there is a knock on the screen door.

BWAAAAAAAAHAAAA AHHHHHH AAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Yup, that's both of us screaming. My heart starts racing. I'm not expecting anyone and I'm not really the kind of person you drop in on. More like the kind you let know a week in advance so I can cross-post it on my calendar app and configure my day around it. I check my phone. No texts from friends, our home-visit nurse or the hubby. I inch closer to the door and squint my eyes, trying to make out the face through the screen. The sun is too bright, but I can tell it's a gentleman. My heart pounds. Yes, a tall, distinguished gentelman in a button-down shirt and slacks. Which can only mean one thing.

JOHN LITHGOW IS AT MY DOOR AND HE'S HERE TO KILL ME.

He holds up his hand. The sun glints off a straight edge. Holy shit, it's a razor and he's going to slash the screen and come in and--wait a sec, HELL NO HE'S NOT! Because I do what any proud momma warrior rockstar princess neuroscientist space station captain would. I slam the door in his face. And yell, "Get the f*** off my porch!" For good measure. Then I barricade myself and my child in her room and call 9-1-1. Yes, this is all making 100% complete sense to me at the moment.

"9-1-1, what's your emergency?"
"There's a man at my door!"
"Okay, are you safe right now?"
"Um, yes... I think so...."
"Ma'am, is he still there?"
"Hold on." Cradling the baby, I peek through the curtain. And see that he left something on the porch.
"I don't think so. I think he's gone. He looked like John Lithgow. In Dexter," I add this crucial bit of information.
"John Lawho?" Hmm. Obviously not a fan.
"Ah, I think he left something on the porch."
"Okay ma'am, you don't have to open the door. We can send a unit by to make sure the property is safe."
Huh, huh you said 'unit', I think but don't say. My sense of humor cuts through the delirium, making me consider that perhaps I misjudged the whole situation just a wee tiny bit. Very wee.
"Um, thanks ma'am. I don't think you'll have to do that. I think it's going to be okay. I have a baby who doesn't sleep, so I'm kinda outta it."
"Okay, if you're sure. If you want I can stay on the phone with you when you open the door."
"Yes, please," I say. Because John Lithgow could really be out there.

Cradling the baby in one arm, I open the door and scan the street. No serial killers in sight. I look down at the porch. No straight razor either. I bend down and pick up a--

"Ma'am, are you still there?"
"Yes, he's gone. He left something here." I squint and read the inscription on the CD. "Merry Christmas, Love L." It's from a friend who drops off a new holiday mix every year. Not John Lithgow. Not a straight razor. I silently wonder how I can ever make this right. I don't know if I ever can. I briefly entertain the notion of asking the 9-1-1 operator for advice on the situation, but she's got better things to do. Lucidity returns slowly.

"Ma'am, if you feel safe now you can hang up. You can always call back if you need to."

"Thanks. I appreciate everything."

I hang up, call my husband and tell him everything. He starts laughing. "What's so funny?" I ask.

"L. just sent me a text."

"Ah, what did he say?" My heart starts pounding again and my embarrassement-o-meter kicks into high gear. Lucidity is back online.

"Here, I'll read it to you. DROPPED OFF XMAS CD. DON'T THINK WIFE WAS TOO HAPPY ABOUT IT."

I feel equal parts relief and shame. I ask my husband to offer L. my deepest apologies.

"No prob. And C. said she's going to come over for a few hours so you can sleep. Already set it up."

"Thank you." I make a mental note to bake him cookies when I've caught up on sleep. So, probably in six months or so.

"How's B?" He asks...casually.

I look down and see a perfectly angelic face. Two half-moon eyes and a relaxed cupid's bow mouth have taken the place of bloody murder.

"She slept through almost the whole thing. And is still sleeping."

"Heh, maybe John Lithgow should come to visit more often." I can hear him grinning.

I peek throught the curtain once more for good measure and silently reconsider the cookie thing.


Just here to drop off a little present.

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Me and B.
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Life on the other side of twee

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