I’m tired. No. I’m exhausted. I’m so exhausted that I’m tired. I don’t even remember what a full night’s sleep is, let alone half a night’s sleep.
Maddie has always been the better sleeper, niggling once at about 2am or so, but then settling very quickly after I give her her bottle. Alex has always been my little terrorist; on a good night he wakes 3-4 times, a bad night sees him not sleeping at all. But for the past 3 nights, Maddie has been even worse than him.
Alex has this terrible habit of shrieking at 2am; I’m talking straight-through-your-eardrum kinda shriek. Most mornings I can get to him before he starts shrieking, so that I can take him through to the lounge, where I fight with him to settle for anywhere up to an hour, and then he usually either lies quietly on my chest, or passes out. But he really battles to settle down, and most of the time I put him into the cot that we’ve got in the lounge, and I curl up on the couch. Somehow Maddie has cottoned onto this, and whilst she doesn’t shriek like Alex, she has woken up 4 times each night for the past 3 nights. So where I usually just have 1 baby to try and settle, there’s me in the lounge with both of them, rocking and bouncing, trying to stop them from pushing themselves out of my arms, and also trying not to lose it completely.
This morning was no different; I ended up in the lounge with Alex at about 3am, after finally getting Maddie settled for the 2nd time. I sat with Alex for about 30mins, but he had no intention of falling asleep in my arms. At about 4am, I put him into the cot in the lounge with a juice bottle, and he lay down drinking it. I then curled up on the couch and waited. At about 5am I woke up, almost in a panic. Maddie was niggling in the bedroom. Now I do generally know which niggle I can ignore, and which I need to tend to ASAP; this niggle however had me a bit lost. I lay on the couch and waited… and waited… and waited. After about 5mins or so she stopped, and I breathed a huge sigh of relief. Then I almost smacked myself for almost waking Alex up, as he had fallen asleep in the cot by the couch. And all I could think of when I was listening to Maddie niggle?
Please don’t cry again. Please don’t wake up. Please please please. I don’t actually know if I can deal with it.
At 5am this morning I was fighting back tears; big, fat, wet tears, at the thought of having to raise my exhausted body off of the couch, to go and see to Maddie. Maddie has slept through once in almost 13 months; Alex never has. In the last 7 years my sleeping pattern has deteriorated to the point where I wake at anything, but the past 2 years have been pretty awful; basically my pregnancy with the twins and the subsequent months. What sounds like bliss to me? A night alone; just me and a huge comfy bed. Will that ever happen? Not in the foreseeable future!
Now some will see me as ungrateful, a bad mom, whatever. Think what you want. I love my children (not that I have anything to justify to anyone but anyway…) with all that I am, and even though I don’t know if I could have handled getting up to see to Maddie this morning if she needed me to, I know that I would have. Because I’m her mommy. And we do what seems like the impossible sometimes, because it’s ingrained in our souls, in our beings as mommy’s.
No, parenting isn’t all unicorn parties and sparkles. It’s an exhausting, frustrating, depressing, anger inducing journey, that has sob-fest tendencies, with a sideline of wine by the bucket load. But parenting is also getting to that point where you feel that you just cannot do it anymore, and something so simple as a hug, or a kiss on your forehead reminds you why you haven’t thrown the towel in just yet. A stick figure drawing (the 10th for the month) of the family, all smiling and holding hands. Sticky fingers asking you to share a biscuit. Learning how to clap hands, stand up and give a kiss.
An unexpected “I love you mommy”.
Listening to your son say “oh dear” when he throws his bottle out of the cot, because that’s what you do. (say oh dear, not throw his bottle out of the cot!)
Playing “ta” with your youngest, because she thinks it’s the best thing ever, and feeling so proud, because she ACTUALLY understands the concept.
Knowing that these 3 little people are from me, are a part of me.