I sat slumped on the couch, the day mostly done. Up before the sun, a morning routine flown through- the rush to get everyone where they spend their day. Then the full day at my desk and the rush to retrieve everyone and get back home only to pack in the afternoon requirements- homework, dinner and bedtime routine. They need to get in bed, so they can get enough rest to start the whole thing all over again before the sun comes up.
On this particular afternoon, I had a sinus headache. Thank you Spring for arriving in February. The boys were covered in nectarine juice and running laps around the table. Their hysterical giggles let me know this was some sort of game that I wasn’t privy to the object of. CJ had asked me if he could try a nectarine, so I’d bought one per kid. They’d enjoyed them for their after dinner snack. He’d rubbed it in his hair, even though he hates having it washed.
While they wore an indention in my kitchen floor in the shape of their race track around the table, I wondered what people who didn’t have kids did after work. There are people who could lay down with their sinus headache and not have to worry about nectarine in a kid’s hair.
I began to wonder, if I would ever have a quiet house again.
Then I thought back to the weeks after we first brought WC home from the hospital. I didn’t have a clue. This child ate every two hours on the dot. It could take an hour just to feed him, change him and get him back to sleep. Then I’d have an hour before we had to do it again. 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And that meant I’d only get to sleep in 1 hour increments, even at night. And that included the time it took to fall asleep. Now both Jay and my mom would help, but the sleep deprivation hit.
At one point in time, I believed that I’d never sleep again. This would be my life and questioned why I signed up for such misery.
Some of the misery, I brought on myself. We’d known people who had a child that wouldn’t sleep in their own bed. The child was at that time, 4 years old, and it was causing problems. The child had been allowed to sleep with the parents from birth. I naively believed we’d nip that in the bud by never allowing it to happen in the first place. I’ve since altered my view on it slightly- namely the birth of CJ while having a 3 yr old WC who still needed tending regardless of how much sleep I’d had.
Six weeks into the life of WC, I was severely sleep-deprived and miserable. My mom offered to watch him overnight. She told me to pack his stuff and let him sleep over there. She had a crib- because she would be watching him when I returned to work. She didn’t have to work too hard at convincing me.
I dropped him off and went straight back home, showered and went to bed. It was the best 12 twelve hours of solid sleep I’d ever had up to that point in life. When I woke up, I immediately wanted to go get him. I even refused to wait on Jay to get ready to go with me.
Over the next few weeks, WC slowly added length of time between feedings. And the sleep deprivation faded into a distant memory.
In hindsight, it was only a few weeks. At the time it was happening, I couldn’t imagine that it would ever get better. It wasn’t forever, just a small blip on the radar of my life.
I watched my kids running circles around the table and screaming with laughter. And this too is just a small blip on the radar. One that’s going to fade too quickly. I watch them for a while and treasure the moment. Soon it will be time to stop them and go run a tub of water.
This is my joy in the midst of the chaos.