Five Green Acres Mary Jo + Andrew Borchardt Poynette, WI
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Banishing Insomnia

Banishing Insomnia
March 23, 2009 Mary Jo
These are dried apricots.  Arent they beautiful?

These are dried apricots. Aren't they beautiful?

I’ve been having some trouble getting to sleep in the past few weeks.  All signs point to the crazy-hormonal-overload that’s preparing my body and mind to hold my brand-new baby, a baby that’s likely to be nocturnal if my new sleep patterns are any indication.  It would be lovely to give in to the new tide and relinquish my desire to fall asleep at a reasonable time, but there’s that matter of the First Child, as she’s soon to be known, the one who’s not operating in a nocturnal time zone.  Also of concern is the possibility of going into labor at the tail end of an exhausting day, before first recharging with some sleep.  So I’m fighting it, and trying instead to find ways to regain control of the wheel, at least while I have the option of a full night’s sleep, punctuated of course by a handful of bathroom breaks.  In my aresenal you’ll find herbal tea – an aromatic chamomile and lavender blend spiked with Scullcap tincture, but this is only useful if I remember to drink it earlier in the evening, lest I add more bathroom breaks to the already-full nighttime schedule.  There’s also light exercise, which sounds like a great idea but again really requires some forethought.  At the end of the day, the mere act of climbing the stairs is utterly exhausting.  A warm bath is also reputed to be good for this type of thing, but our tub is less than hygienic right now and cleaning it requires a bending-over maneuver that is physically out of the question, thanks to This Belly.

At the heart of the problem, I’ve learned, is the challenge of quieting my mind.  It’s as if my pregnant body has transformed my creative reception from AM frequencies to HD, with so many more channels and a remarkably improved sound quality.  (I don’t have an HD radio, and you already know we’ve turned off our TV, but the analogy seems reasonable nonetheless)  My mind is reeling, constantly, with ideas and creativity and to-do lists that rise up and spill over the banks of my consciousness.  Through the course of this pregnancy, I’ve come to know this little one as my Renaissance Baby, as I’ve entered in a period of prolific Making that I never would have fathomed possible before.  And it’s wonderful.  A gift.  Timely.  And useful for this phase of making-a-home.  But really, really hard to shut off when needed.  So I’ve found that the very best weapon in my arsenal is a blank book by the bed to download some of the data from this overactive mind before turning off the lights.  Naturally, it’s a book of lists.  On the first night, I filled four pages with project ambitions, some needing completion before Baby’s arrival and some more lofty in scope.  And I slept.  Step 1 accomplished.  Step 2, I quickly realized, was completing as many of the tasks as my very limited energy supply would permit during the waking hours, so that I could cross them off the list at night during the next download. This creates quite an opportunity for Show and Tell, doesn’t it?  Here are some of the more photogenic graduates of The List.

Kitchen Table gets a new outfit.  Thrifted placemats lose their tassel edge trim and gain a fresh red and white polka-dot edge.  I made the bias tape edging with my handy Clover Bias Tape Maker, which I adore, from fabric formerly constructed as a blouse, also thrifted.  The napkins were cut from a vintage tablecloth I had stashed away for just that purpose, and are a collection of eight.  Eight napkin edges are a lot to press and sew, I learned, when in the midst of crazy-fast-get-it-done-now sewing.  So boring.

No doubt this project will facilitate the new-baby bonding period fast approaching, just like the kitchen pantry I was compelled to rearrange and scrub on a whim last week will be duly noted and appreciated by Baby.  Clearly, the intensity and diligence and explosive creativity is there in this frenzy, but rationality and practicality are most definitely not.  The funny part is that I can see this irrationality clearly, as I’m plowing ahead, calling Andrew to tell him that I will not indeed be making supper because this particular project must get done and I can’t possibly stop now.  I can see clearly that supper is pretty important too, and that in no way will the quality of baby’s life be affected by a better organized pantry, but I’m completely powerless to stop.  I laugh as I ask Andrew to pick up something on his way home to bail me out, but my hands are tied.  He has a good sense of humor, so it all works out.

A reorganized pantry begets a new rug for the pugs’ food and water dishes, of course.  Clever me, as I pulled out the most boring of the rag balls inherited last summer and saved myself the trouble of cutting my own.  There was not quite enough to make it to the end of my row, so I spliced in some leftover red from our bathroom rug, giving it a surprise burst of color and a Red Herring persona.

So this one is a tad more baby-related.  These are sachets for Baby’s dresser drawers.  Never mind that the clothing to go into the drawers is in a mixed-up heap on the spare bed, most of it with spit-up stains 3 1/2 year old, waiting to be sorted, spot-cleaned, rewashed, then put into the drawers.  Never mind that.  It’s all on the list, but first things first.  Sachets.  Filled with lavender.  Sewn from a pack of fabric squares I thought I liked but then decided I really only thought of as acquaintances and besides – what was I going to make from a bunch of matchy-matchy 5″ squares of fabric anyways?!?  Sachets.

Then there is This.  It’s a gift for a friend who just had a baby, and it’s at this moment sitting in a box by the front door waiting to be shipped out.  I’m afraid I can’t show you what’s inside until it arrives safe and sound, lest I spoil the surprise.  I can tell you, however, that the polka-dot drawstring is left over from the placemat project, so it could be argued that it was necessary to complete that project, seemingly random in its urgency, in order to complete this project, of critical urgency.  Aha!

And now, I hope to cross off one more thing in today’s To Do agenda:  Blog.

Maybe a good night’s sleep is just around the corner.  Please?

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