Yo Bro, I Don’t Think This Is Working


Our house has never slept well, but this week has been a bot much even by our standards.  An entire week without sleep makes for a cranky household.  It is a bit scary what insomnia brings out.  It makes me wonder whether the boogieman was the product of insomnia or vice versa.  It is the whole chicken and the egg bit.  In our family this week, we have managed to cover all the bases for possible results of lack of sleep from the quick to anger to the hyperactive to the lack of energy or will.  We have had them all, and after 6 nights of children up in the night leading to J being up in the night, I feel safe saying nothing we have tried thus far is working!  Over the past few months/year, we have tried the keep the kids up approach and the put the m to bed early approach.  We have tried pharmaceutical solutions like melatonoin, and we’ve tried behavioral approaches like rewards and consequences.   Nothing works for long if at all, but this week has been the worst on record.
The irony in the whole week without sleep for our family is I have slept more this past week than any week in months.  My body’s reaction is just different now.  I shut down, and stay down barring a lawnmower like rip to get me going again.  Now we have had many such rips in the past week, but my body just takes the interruption and adds 5 times the sleep lost to the end.  In fact, J was kicking me to get out of bed on Sunday and deal with the dogs because I just kept sleeping, and it was an hour after they are used to me feeding them.   I just could not get up. 
All week long, I have gone to bed after I have cleaned the kitchen when K’s feed ends.  I have tried to take the hour I need to wind down, but stress and interruptions in sleep have kicked the snot out of me.  There is so little left in my tank, and it has left me inarticulate when talking about some moderately important issues with my kids.  I can only console myself realizing in their lack of sleep minds my saying exactly what I meant would still probably have gone over their heads.  As it was, I went over it all with them again after the fact.   The most memorable moment spawned the title of this post.
O in one of his angry moments tried to say why he shouldn’t have to put something together he knocked down,” Yo bro! This doesn’t work!”
I told him, “You don’t call me ‘bro.’ You are using that term entirely too much without any sense of when it is appropriate.  There are times where some may get offended.”  When he asked me who would get offended, I told him “The term bro is one which has been used for generations by Black men to describe other Black men.  You may have noticed I am ghostly pale.”  
When I said this, A started crying thinking this was something else which made her different from our family.  I calmly pointed out to her, “your old teacher and babysitter Mrs. J called me ‘Bro’ right?  She can do that because the term is really about closeness and implies a closer age gap.  ‘Bro’ is short for brother.  O could more correctly call his friend down the street ‘bro’ than me, his dad.” 
I would like to think that in a clearer mind with perhaps a little more time, I could have explained the term has more to do with shared experiences of the two people than their age.  I would like to think I could have better imparted the racial connotations in a way letting her know calling someone bro is suggesting you have a lot in common with him or her, and if that feeling is not shared, it may be seen as fake.  Being seen as fake is a hard way to have a conversation.  “Bro” use in slang implies race gives many of the same experiences and people of the same race have a certain common starting perspective from which to view what is happening around them.  Would she have understood in those terms?  I doubt it.  I barely do.
As for “Yo”, I could not get anything more across than saying it makes one sound like they cannot speak well.  When he said he heard another kid at school say it, I asked him if he heard mommy or daddy say it.  No.  I asked him if he wanted to bet whether he would hear us say it outside of quoting somebody else.
The entire conversation is one I spent wishing the words came easier.  At the same time, I know my kids need to have these conversations with us.  I do not want to shy away from needed conversations or teach my kids it is OK to turtle up when conversations are difficult.  All of this leads to unenviable spot we find ourselves in with regard to A’s therapist.  When she spends multiple weeks coming out of the office yelling at her therapist, we question the approach used.  Through the months of therapy, there just never seems to be any relationship at all between the two of them, and we can see an increase in her needs.  We will not pull her to find another therapist in the midst of the ongoing spat, but both J and I agree, “I don’t think this is working.”
Insomnia, it comes at us from all sides.
Sleep is for the weak…though without it we all grow weaker.

Tuesday update:

After waking up 5 times last night to try to calm K down from aborted puke attempts (can’t  with stomach tied to slow reflux), I can’t get get Romeo’s, “What light through yonder window breaks?”

I want to answer, “…and turn that freaking thing off or I’ll be throwing more than pebbles at the window!”

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