Recently, holding a baby I was struck at how the things that once consumed me as the mother of little babies are now just memories and blurry one’s at that. Back then I was obsessed with sleep; his and hers, not mine; I had given up on my sleep entirely thinking it was a luxury I foolishly wasted in my youth. I was constantly counting on my fingers in hours, the hours they should be sleeping and those they were actually sleeping. I would do sleep math like, he was up at 5:30am so… 1, 2, 3… he should be ready for a nap by 8:30am…1, 2… but maybe I could push it until 9:00 because maybe he’ll sleep until…. It went on and on like this. And that was just sleep.
When they were so little I lived in 30 minute increments. That’s all I could tackle at the start of each new day because 5:00 pm, when the second shift came on seemed insurmountable. If I didn’t think beyond the next 30 minutes I could face a day full of half hours. I remember lying on the floor in the playroom, my body craving sleep, the real kind, not the fragmented, night feeding, never-enough kind.
Things are so different now. I again foolishly waste sleep staying up late when no one is bugging me and no one is crying out to me from a crib at ungodly hours. Now in the morning I awaken to the sound of Libby padding out of her room and loudly closing the door behind her. And sometimes she comes in to hand me her soggy, nighttime diaper or to demand her bowl of oatmeal and juice as if I’m standing behind a counter with a stubby pencil stuck behind my ear and order pad in my apron. But mostly she makes a beeline for Isaac’s room where he has been looking at books and waiting for her. Oh to think that baby who cried out or toddler who called out to greet the day and jolt me awake, has come to appreciate the joy of quietly hanging out in his bed.
And I linger in my bed too because I simply can. I burrow into the covers feeling mostly rested and the day ahead isn’t daunting anymore. Now I think of our days in two parts, morning and afternoon – no more fractions. So, we did it, we made it to here, to this place where babies are in our memories and photographs and big kids sleep restfully for like… 9, 10, 11, even 12 hours in a row.