don't hate me for being a morning person

I've hit a rough patch with parenting. Mostly, things are good, actually. Daniel and Anya are the best of friends and play together beautifully (except of course when they don't, but I realize fighting is part of siblinghood). The relationship between me and Daniel, though, has reached a new stage that often leaves me either speechless or yelling. Most of the time he is sweet and charming, but there are other times when he is defiant and belligerent and resists everything I tell him purely on principle. Our biggest arguments usually stem from the smallest, routine tasks like getting dressed or washing his hands after using the bathroom. He'll refuse, I'll insist, he'll yell, I'll yell, and before you know it he's weeping in the time-out corner while I confiscate his tinker toys with gritted teeth. Fortunately, he only exhibits this behavior towards me and sometimes Stuart, never (as far as I know) his preschool teacher or other parents. I know this is typical and part of being three and a half (those 6 months make a big difference, trust me) and learning to be independent and all that, so I'm not worried. I have a pretty strong stubborn streak myself, so not only do I know where he gets it, most of the time I know I can handle it fine. I just get frustrated from time to time.

It doesn't help that Anya's naptime is unreliable, at best. She could fall asleep anywhere between 11:30 in the morning and 3:00 in the afternoon for anywhere between 30 minutes and an hour and a half, though she's usually not asleep for more than 45 minutes. That makes for some looooong afternoons, especially now that we can't be outside for too long before we're cold and miserable.

Sometimes just the anticipation of a long day will put me in a bad mood, particularly if Anya has kept me up at night (she still doesn't sleep through*) or if I've had to get up at 6:00 or before with the kids. 7:00 is sleeping in, for us.

But I've discovered a new therapy: running. The last two mornings in a row, I've rolled out of bed, slipped on my Vibrams and gone straight out the front door for a 3.4 mile run. I relish that half hour or so I get to myself, and it feels so good to get moving first thing. It clears my head for the day and puts me in a better mood, which is good for everyone; I've noticed Daniel and I get along better when I've had a chance for some honest exercise. I know Stuart isn't wild about it, since it means he has to do the breakfast routine solo, but he's a good man and hasn't complained. Plus, my morning run has yet to make him late to work, so he'll deal.

I finally got around to reading Born to Run, and I can't stop talking about it. Yesterday I yammered on about the evils of traditional running shoes to the guy at the farmers' market who sells goat cheese and hot peppers, and he was nice enough to pretend to be interested. When I met my knitting friends later, I bombarded them with trivia like "Did you know humans are the only animals who sweat to cool off? Did you know that if you can keep a deer in sight for 6 miles you can chase it down and hunt it with your bare hands?"; at least they know me well enough to know I'm not nuts, just enthusiastic.

Reading Born to Run has completely changed my attitude about running. I've been using the Vibram five-finger shoes since before I read the book, so I was sold on the concept of running barefoot (or nearly barefoot) already. What I didn't get until I read it, though, was just how well-designed the human body is for running. We were meant to run. Running is probably the reason we survived and the Neanderthals didn't. So if running is our destiny, it shouldn't be a chore to do a 5K every morning, it should be a pleasure. And by golly, it is a pleasure! At least so far. Ask me again in a couple months when the morning temps are in the single digits and I'll be singing a different song, but I won't let that spoil it for me now.

*Please don't offer advice on the sleep problem. Just don't. It is what it is and I have to work this out myself.


Jessi said…
3-4. Much worse than the "terrible twos." It'll get better.

Also, those of us who hate morning people (and as someone who does best sleeping to 10, I am firmly in that category) are more jealous than anything else.
Steph said…
I got through the whole day of teaching today with the promise to myself that later I could go running in the beautiful sunny cool early fall weather, and then by the time I got home, the winds were gale force, so I had to be content with a Fresh Air podcast and the elliptical trainer.

That Born to Run book turns all of us into preaching zealots.

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