When Ann, MY FRIEND, and I am so happy I can say that she is asked if anyone wanted to be a part of her Blog Book tour, it took me a while to figure out how I could join in, and, still sound like me. I sat down, and looked around, and thought and thought. And here is what I came up with.
This is what my ass did to our sofa.
Wait...you don't get to see it yet. You need to know the full scope, the horror, of what my the weight of me, centred on my buttocks, did.
Five years ago, when we bought our house, we bought a new sofa too.
Okay, it wasn't new. But it was new to us.
It was like new, in that it was about sixty years old, but the plastic had just come off.
It came with a matching chair.
Okay, it came with two matching chairs, but we didn't want the mustard-coloured one, so the store owner happily divvied them up between us and the woman who only wanted the mustard chair.
And, the two pieces were only $250, tax in, delivered.
The day we got it home, Homey, the cat that came with our new home, which was really a hundred year old money pit of a home, but it was new to us , shredded the bouclé fabric.
Then we had to unfold it and sleep on it (it's really a davenport, but I couldn't find a cool title with a "goodbye" that began with a "D" word and you would think I was prissy and artsy if I referred to the daaaaahvenport.) for three months while we lived in the living room and renovated the upstairs.
Beauty, a 90 (95 in the cold weather) pound Rottweiler spent a lot of time on it too. Now, that was a dog with an ass that could really wreck things.
But, it wasn't until I was pregnant, nurturing up to another forty-five pounds over those expectant months that the real damage was done. I slept fitfully on it because, though it supported my back and kept me on my side, it was a little scratchy. It's in front of the TV, so I could fill my insomniac nights with some wonderfully crappy TV; but it gives me a headache to watch TV laying down, so I prefer to sit. It was perfectly, um, serviceable.
It soon became noticeable that when I stood up, the sofa did not spring back into shape again.
Then, the damage was further aggravated by the first full year of sleeplessness on the parts of both me, and Josephine. It was where we sat and nursed and spooned and slept and read books and played finger games and sang songs and cuddled.
I carved a niche for myself on the sofa, a hollow that now spoons me like a lover.
This is a flattering picture of it. It's not right to treat it badly after all it did for us, but, it is what it is:
Steve...oh, my Steve. He is so unhappy. He loved the sofa, and cannot bear to look at what it's become. But, but he does not want to get rid of it, and I constantly have to remind him that he loves the sofa that used to be, not the sofa it is now.
I have not loved it since the first time Boo Boo peed on it. I have hated it since the second time he peed on it. For the record, my daughter has also peed on it, and well, post-pregnancy, um...yeah.
I've cleaned it, and shampooed it, and dressed it in throws and pillows and...and...and..the time has come to admit that it is now no longer charmingly shabby and slouchy. A bachelor wouldn't even have this sofa in his house.
This sofa is kaput.
But one or two or three other things I did on this sofa (minds out of gutters, please) ? I read Ann's books - the whole "Mother of All" series, as I was pregnant, then as a new parent, then as the mother of a toddler.
And so when she put out the call for mothers to answer questions for an upcoming sleep book, I signed on mostly because I love the challenge of answering questions. I'd read so much, and dealt with so many frustrations because of my own sleep problems . I wanted to help, to share, to contribute. I remembered how the rotten nights preyed on my days.
Then, she asked me to read her (then) new sleep book as she was writing it, from a parent's perspective, and to comment on it. So, my comments were in it, both behind the scenes and within the text, because sleep? It is an issue around this house. I could tell you about parenting and sleep. Or, just ask my sofa.
So, from behind the scenes, I got to see what Ann puts into her books. She agonizes, she worries, she cares. She gets giddy and excited like a little girl when she finds some fascinating research. And if her books are good, especially those in the "Solutions" series, it's because she's read every other book out there, looked at hundreds of websites, and read the responses of hundreds of women to her well-chosen questions; and then she tempers and shapes it all. It came to be that the books had to be edited down to fit the publisher's specifications - it is after all, an overview to all the possible solutions, not a guarantee. But, as it is, it helps. It would have helped me. And it hurt Ann to lose even one bit of it. Each book is like a baby to her. She is just not a heartless dissemination machine. Far from it.
When it came time for me to help witht the Mealtime Solutions book too, I didn't have any pithy remarks that made it to print.
Sleep was hard for our family. Food was easy. I remember at one point Ann worrying because another reviewer, who wasn't a parent, thought the quotes from some of the moms were so "dark". DARN TOOTIN'. The funny and the depth and the pathos from the quotes of the moms interviewed, including me, came from the myriad issues around sleep - the dealing our families' reactions, the being blindsided by the fatigue, the worry, and the...oh my god, here I am on the damn sofa right now and look at Gene Anthony Ray's legs in those short shorts (and I am not going to try to find a link) in the Fame (the tv show) re-run that is on right now...sorry.
So um, I looked at this sofa today.
And I can think about it, or another one, because my parents have heard the saga of our sofa enough times, and they know and disdain our sofa, and today they told me to start shopping. I think I have another thing to thank Grandma Josephine for, as much as them.
And I am thinking that red corduroy is looking pretty cheery and good right now, because the bad sleep period is pretty much behind us and a fun sofa would be a great symbol for moving on. Perhaps our old sofa, who served us well, but may be harbouring some bad voodoo after all this time, needs to go. It's dark, and scratchy and mean now - like the sleep deprivation years. Now we need comfort and life and fun for a toddler. I am not a new mom any more - and just as sleep issues pass in and out of our lives, so do sofas.
I actually really really do think about the new moms, in the trenches, as I am now cresting on a great period of a toddler who sleeps pretty well. My quote to the effect (too lazy to get off the sofa to walk over to my desk to get the book) that made the pages, was, that when I was told about the sleep deprivation that comes with new parenthood, I understood it the way I'd understand a brain surgeon telling me about operating - or like a bird telling me about flying. You don't know the length and breadth and depth of it until you're in it yourself - and now that I'm way past it...ohhhhhh yesssssss.
If I could go back and add one more thing to the book, it would be this:
That we didn't take any pictures of the awake and hard-up-against-the-crazy, and the sleepless and screaming times.
We captured images of Josie sleeping because there is nothing more beautiful than a sleeping child.
Don't even try.
Perhaps we don't always aspire to have our children sleep only for our health or theirs - maybe, we do it in part because it's gazing at peace.
I won't forget the hard times, though I'd like to. I will look back and love the beautiful sleeps we did have. You don't know how utterly sublime the good ones were, and are, until the worst is over. She looks like this right now, upstairs in her wee bed. If you look at the timestamp? It's time for me to get off the daaaahvenport, go kiss her, and then go to my own bed to dream about a new sofa.
Thanks so much for reading. I always enjoy receiving emails at hellomarlagood at hotmail dot com. But it's okay if you don't want to write too.