The house is quiet, except for the swish of the dishwasher. Most lights are off, but the muted television casts a flickering blue glow over the room. My husband sleeps in the next room. Our boys sleep in their rooms downstairs, and I am slumped on the couch, watching the night crawl by.
Oh, and there is one more noise. At my feet my daughter chirrups and coos, shaking a strand of plastic links between two fat fists and grinning at them as though they are the most facinating thing in the world.
It is the night watch hours, it doesn’t look as though I am going to sleep anytime soon, and this is when it is – for reals – hardest for me. I am bored, I am tired, no one is watching, and I’m feeling a little sorry for myself. The kitchen is right over there, and I know where to find the recipe for a quick microwave cake (Gray, you ANIMAL).
I have a few sane-person strategies to keep my head while all those around me are resting theirs. I brush my teeth. I keep my hands and mouth busy with a mug of herbal tea. I log onto FitDay and review how well I’ve done all day. I try to distract myself with TV and if Cake Boss comes on, I change the channel just as fast as my little clicker thumb can take me. I get down on the floor and hold a plank pose until the baby knocks me down with thrilled slaps and shrieks. I read weight loss articles like “20 Superfoods for Weight Loss!” (Spoiler alert: one of them is blueberries. Another is oatmeal. No, really.)
And then, five minutes later, I’m out of sane-person options, the baby is still awake, and I need something to stop me from diving face-first into the gold bag of chocolate chips (on the middle shelf in the pantry, behind the Cheerios, am I imagining things or can I smell them from here?). Aaaaand that’s when it gets…weird.
I sit up straight on that couch, toss my hair over my shoulder, cross my ankles like a debutant, smile, and proceed to have an imaginary interview with Oprah. Yes, really.
Oprah, you see, is really interested to hear just how I lost ALL THE WEIGHT, and so I am telling her about it.
“But wasn’t it difficult, with all you do, to take the time to exercise and watch what you eat?” she asks, admiration plain in her eyes.
“Well, yes, Oprah,” I say, nodding, “it IS hard. But everything that’s worth doing is hard, don’t you think? And if I don’t set this example for my children, if I don’t show them that it’s up to me to take charge of my own destiny, what lesson am I teaching them?”
She presses a hand to her heart, struck dumb for just a moment by the WISDOM of that.
And so it goes. I sit there on my couch, smiling and gesturing and talking like Oprah’s very special guest. The baby beams up at me, the most receptive studio audience anyone could ever hope for.
I’m sorry to admit that this can go on for QUITE some time. And my answers only get more grandiose and ridiculous as the “interview” progresses. It’s silly, it’s quite a bit childish, and if I was observed it might cause a medical professional to ask me a pointed series of questions to see if I’m oriented to time and place. But really, it’s no crazier than eating food I don’t need because I’m bored, when you think about it. It’s an unconventional way of entertaining myself, to be sure. But it’s not one I have to regret.
What about you? Do you have a…creative way of dealing with temptation, or are you busy dialing the number of a qualified mental health professional on my behalf? Does anyone else grant middle-of-the-night interviews to an imaginary Oprah, or are you more of an Ellen person?