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By Daphne Biener

I’m not tired. Three little words that bring with them an icy omen of fits to come. Perhaps you’re familiar with the cousins that have a similar chilling effect: I’m not cold. And I’m not hungry. First thing tomorrow I’m calling Will Safire at The NY Times and telling him to eradicate these chunks of literary bullshit from the English language.

Only pint-sized, mini-aliens claim to be ‘not tired.’ At least in my house, the only times this ludicrous statement is uttered is by barely recognizable creatures with red-ringed, undulating eyeballs, hair on fire and a scent of insanity. It’s not just the little ladies in our house prone to this one, I’m afraid. Even when sleep deprivation wrought its worst, I was never one to decline an offer of tea (make that marTInis) and sympathy with a couple of mutually-afflicted mamas. I may nod off in the appetizers but I’ll deny it all the way down. Who me? Asleep in the asiago? Hell no. I’m wide awake. On my way to the bar in fact. Gonna throw back a few shots and shimmy ’til those cows get back. Which hopefully is very soon.

Ahhh, the second fallacy – I’m not cold. Here’s how I deal with this one, and I’ll admit, it’s a bit unconventional: Honesty. I honestly believe that they are too busy spinning in circles and splitting their cells to recognize this sensation. That, plus the fact that they sleep bare ass to the sky while I am buried under blankets in sweatpants and wool socks clearly illustrates the stark difference in our internal thermostats. But that’s totally besides the point. Here’s how honesty works when temps dive below 20 degrees:

“But Mo-o-o-o-o-o-m” (isn’t it incredible how a one-syllable word can become a 5 minute operatic aria when whined in just the right inaudible tone?) “I’m not cold.”

“I know my love. But (and here my sweet-as-stolen-Halloween-candy voice lifts a few decibels) I AM YOUR MOM and I AM COLD and I WILL NOT look at those sweet blue lips for one second longer, so wipe the sweat from your brow and zip up that parka, now!”

The third lie, I am not hungry, is plain un-American. The closest I come to ‘I’m not hungry’ is “sure, let’s share the molten chocolate cake for dessert.” Question my patriotism in other areas if you will, but I am always hungry. My children did not inherit this gene. They are not even remotely familiar with the sensation. Three grains of white rice and they are good to go. While I am smart enough to envy their ability to push away from the table when their little bellies send a shop’s closed message, I do question it when the telegram is delivered before the first nugget is consumed. But what truly boggles my brain is when my daughter walks away from dessert. Sweet, sweet dessert. Her cupcake gleams, licked clean of its frosted hair, but nary a crumb of the cake has been devoured. Why? “I’m not hungry.” WHAT?

Well, no need to waste a perfectly clean cupcake. Pass it over to mama.

I know I should encourage their internal monitors on satiation. Clearly it’s a skill we abandon more eagerly than a stained onesie. I should probably respect the immunity they’ve cultivated against goosebumps as well. But sorry, I can’t.

Maybe I sound a little bitchy. Truth is, I’m feeling pretty cranky.

Maybe it’s because I’m cold.

And tired.

And hungry.

You can read more of Daphne’s work here on the mama bird diaries or visit her site, Sestina Queen.

6 Responses to i am not

  • Kate says:

    Yeah well I've got the "I'm hungry" — the snack masters start barking at my house around 8:15am when the breakfast dishes are still on the table! But no one is ever tired here…ever. Not even when the tears start pouring out during a rant of pure misery.

  • Kristen aka cold mama says:

    I got Isabelle to wear mittens today for the first time this season (it was 0 degrees when we left the house). Mind you she only wore them from the car to the place we were going. If I put them on Mallory she will cry and cry until she gets them off! Apparently, I am the only who gets cold when the temperature is 0. No worries, the wind chill is expected to be -40 on Saturday. Yikes! Great writing!

  • David says:

    I love it! Great writing! I swear our son would die if we didn’t force him to eat, he never seems interested. Eating is merely time spent away from playing. Sooo, do you still have that clean cupcake? I’m in!

  • Grace Gentile! says:

    I love this story! The writing is great, you keep getting better and better! We never get I’m not hungry in this fraternity but always the I’m not cold or tired!

  • Valerie says:

    Daph, I just read this 6 weeks after the fact, but thoroughly enjoyed it. We argue daily about whether Davis can take his coat off in the car before I have even started the ignition and heat. I'm freezing my rear off and he's trying to strip down to his undershirt (the undershirt I had to BEG him to put on)…

kelcey kintner