Dear Kid,

What is it about the month of September and lack of sleep?

Because there is clearly Something Going On.

I’m pretty sure it’s the annual outbreak of the Exhaustion Epidemic.

The Exhaustion Epidemic (like the flu) tends to hit several times a year. Unlike the flu, there is no vaccine.

Symptoms include lack of actual sleep, feeling that there isn’t enough sleep in the universe to make you ever feel rested again, and a badittude.

Actual Text from My Friend Sue:

Just wanted you to know that there will be 2 of us in the car tomorrow. Me and my bad attitude.

Fortunately, Sue is a rank amateur when it comes to bad attitudes so I’m not really worried about being alone with her. And her car has plenty of room so we can make her badittude sit in the backseat.

Since I, your mother, have spent years researching and perfecting a Bad Attitude (the noise you just heard was your Grandfather choking on his Diet Coke as he read that), I now present Advice for Dealing with a Case of Exhaustion Epidemic and a Bad Attitude.

Warn People. Because Sue warned me there will be an extra passenger in the car, I’m now prepared to be a little more patient with her. This is far nicer than opening the car door and saying, “Oh. You came along too?”

Get Some Actual Sleep. The EE is only peripherally related to physical exhaustion. Most of the tired is being overwhelmed with life. Nonetheless, EE requires heavy doses of actual sleep.

Make a List. Part of the problem with EE is a feeling of being overwhelmed and not knowing where to start. This generally leads to paralysis and TV watching. Turn off the TV, and make a list of the Things That Must Be Done. Do one of them. You’ll feel better. I promise.

Eat Real Food. Nothing exacerbates a case of EE like junk food. Except maybe junk food and too much coffee. Either way, eat something real. Your badittude won’t want you to, but your brain will thank you.

Call Your Mother. It won’t necessarily help, but it can’t really hurt. And it will make me feel better. And I promise not to fuss at you for the first five minutes of the call.

Here’s hoping you avoid a case of EE this term.

Love, Mom