Every morning I open my eyes and feel like crying, and some days tears really do start leaking out of the corners of my eyes. My little guy eats every two and a half hours around the clock, which means I'm awake and staring at the shadows on my bedroom wall around eleven pm, one-thirty am, four and again at six thirty. My girls usually leap on my bed and attack me around seven. I know in a few more weeks the baby will start sleeping in longer stretches, as my other babies did, but right now the night time trenches feel like cruel and unusual punishment. I have unconsciously adopted a whole list of activities that I "try really hard to avoid" because I'm too tired, ranging from blow drying my hair to grocery shopping. The very thought of lugging the infant carrier into the grocery store and than plodding up and down the aisles makes me shudder. Maybe after I have a nap, I tell myself nearly every day.
Ah, the beauty and grace of nap time. I know there are many who eschew naps as the ultimate waste of time, but I'm leading the charge with the opposite school of thought. I work harder, try harder, and generally feel more motivated in the mornings when the promise of nap time is dangled before me like a carrot. Sometimes it's all I can do not to leap across the kitchen table and holler at Elisabeth to stop fooling around and eat her lunch so we can have "quiet time" (I no longer use the "n" word with her because a swift rebellion immediately follows). So instead, I turn off the phones and lure my gullible four year old upstairs to my bed, much like the witch luring Gretel into the gingerbread house. Let's snuggle. Let's read stories. Let me scratch your back, I say sweetly as I cast the nap time spell over her.
Today I tried to get the baby to sleep in his bouncy chair, but he kept whining in protest at being the only one left out. So I hauled him into the bed too. An arm around my baby boy, cradling him close, and poof, he fell asleep. The other arm around my little girl and poof, she fell asleep too. I awoke forty minutes later feeling toasty warm, my eyelids heavy. Elisabeth's cheeks had flushed dark pink as she burrowed against me and James' eye lids fluttered in his sleep.
I should get up and write, I chastised myself, craning to peek at my clock. But then Elisabeth exhaled a blissful sigh and James began to suck in his sleep. Or I could stay here, I thought, and hold my babies close.