Friday, January 11, 2013

A Quiet Night

It's been slowing down, but I do this about once a month. In the quiet of the night, before I fall asleep, I replay the scene of me and Claire and Murphy (the dog) running to the corner of our walk-out basement, just ten seconds before a tornado passed by us, causing a few hundred thousand dollars damage to our house, completely destroying four houses within eyesight. Meaning, shit was scary and not just "a little windy".
I'm able to watch us with a birds eye view, almost like it's a vignette in a movie scene, like I'm watching myself, and not remembering it from my own perspective.
Sometimes this replaying is prompted by hearing normal wind outside, other times it's because I've been dealing with insurance claims that week and thus the situation is in the front of my head, and then sometimes, like last night, it's just out of the blue.
I was about ten minutes into it last night, Nick snoozing beside me, oblivious to my worries. (It's better that way.) I heard the creak of Claire's door open, a few pitter-patters across the narrow hallway to our door, and then my door creak open.
I braced myself for a crying toddler; either a tantrum, begging and pleading (subconscious... see last post) to go back to bed, or a thirty minute process of putting her back to sleep. This has become the norm in the last month or two; Claire typically wakes up at night about 4 nights a week crying.
Instead, last night, in the middle of my tornado rehashing session, Claire creaked open my door quietly. Before she had a chance to say anything, I quietly addressed her. Honestly, I was quite surprised she wasn't crying yet and wondered if I preemptively started talking to her, if I could distract her from crying. "Claire? What is it?"  
She said she had a bad dream, which in itself wasn't too surprising. This makes up about 40% of her given reasons for waking up in the middle of the night. But when I asked her what her dream was about, and she quietly answered me, still just talking like a normal kid and not wailing and crying, I was instantly chilled. "I had a bad dream about it's windy." (sic)
I sprung out of bed, hoping to not wake Nick, and we went back into her room, and I put her back into bed. Of course I held her first, held her so close. She put her head on my shoulder -- an act that any of you parents out there of toddlers know, is a rarity these days. She let me put her back into bed without a fight, and we just quietly talked about better things to dream about... going to the beach in Pentwater, riding in the wagon with friends, making sandcastles, and playing on the playground.
She let me put her to bed without a fight. It was a quiet blip in the night, probably the quietest mid-night wake up we've had in months, but it spoke so loudly to me, my ears (and heart) are still ringing. I am a lucky, lucky woman.

Thursday, January 10, 2013


That Awkward Moment When...
... you're at work and you see someone you haven't seen in a while, so she politely asks you how your new baby is doing and then you go off on a tangent about details about your kids that nearly no one is interested in except me, and then about 3 minutes in you realize you're babbling and bragging and revealing your neuroses and extrapolating your current experiences into the future and waxing nostalgic and looking for validation (I feel like only parenthood can conjure up all of these things in a 3 minute span?) and then you have to rein it in, quickly, because DON'T BE THAT PERSON. And then you rack your brain to remember what it is she specifically asked you, so you can say, "oh, well, to get back on point, she's sleeping great!" and then walk away.
So I'm this moron who is a really slow learner. Like, they say you have to prepare yourself for less sleep once you have kids. Well with Claire (my 2.75 year old) -- I hit the sleeping kid jackpot. She slept for 10 hours straight starting around 2 months old. With the exception of not sleeping in on the weekend, not too much changed when I had my first child.
So I braced myself for a horrendous sleeper when Amelia was born. You know, all those haters who say, as if they are wise and sage-like, "Oh, the second one will give you a run for your money." I believed them. Then my sweet angel started sleeping for 10 hour stretches starting around 2 months old. I make nothing if not consistent babies!
But the sleep! I had been bracing myself to lose those precious zzz's in the middle of the night. I was just thinking about the wrong end of the REM cycle. The sleep I'm losing is the morning sleep. I have to set my alarm for 5:30 am in order to get to work by 7:30 or 8:00. It honestly never dawned on me that I'd be losing morning sleep. Slow learner, this one. Well, that, and I'm also lazy, and I honestly though I could skate by with nary a noticeable different going from one kid to two. DUH, two kids is about 2.5 times the work of 1 kid.  Not an even 2x the work... you get the added 50% extra due to the necessity of multi-tasking, thus actually losing efficiency.
Case in point: must do these things, all at once.  Breastfeed 3 month old. Wake up 2 year old. Clean butts of both. Clean clothes for both. Wrangle toddler and plead with her to do what you ask of her. (* See below. Oh lordy.) One time, no joke, I was in the middle of feeding Amelia when Claire started demanding something. So I got up, Amelia still getting her milk on, walked into Claire's room, crawled to the other side of her queen bed to find her security blanket object (a tiny bear the size of a quarter...... weirdo), felt and heard the warm numero dos from the wee little one still attached to me, suckling away. Got up from the bed, to the baby's room, laid her on the changing table. SHE WAS STILL DRINKING. Like, you probably have no idea how insane that situation is unless you've lived it. Maybe I'm giving myself too much credit, but it's like I'm a non-stop butler/concierge/cook/maid/servant sometimes. But then I drop them off at daycare and I immediately wish I was a stay at home mom and OK suddenly this post got a little weepy so next topic.
* The pleading. I swear, sometimes it feels like nearly every interaction with Claire is a barter, or my subconscious underlying tone is just begging her to do whatever needs to be done without throwing a tantrum. It's exhausting, but I still love the shit out of that kid, cuz two minutes after said tantrum, she'll say "I love you Mommy... you're the bestest Mommy in the world."
She doesn't come up with this shit on her own. I don't mean to brag. She gets it from Nick. When he picks up the girls from daycare, he gives Claire a line to say to me, so when they get in the door (or if I get home after them), she busts in and says:
"Mama! You're the bees knees!"
"Mama! You're the bestest Mommy in the world."
"Mama! Did it hurt, falling from the sky? Cuz you an angel."
And of course, she botches it. That last one will turn into "Mommy, are you a hurt angel?" and she'll look to Nick, knowing she blew it and that she needed some backup. I love it. I love her. She's just in that toddler tantrum-y phase and I have to remember the bees knees and angel jokes to gloss over the tantrums.