On Saturday, we had breakfast with Santa.
(it’s ok to be jealous)
Think the holidays were busy before? Have a baby. All of a sudden your holiday schedule is busting with things that you normally would avoid. From a very far distance. Including – all things Santa.
I swore I would never do this – all this Santa shit. Because it’s a slippery slope into perpetuating a lie that your children will, if given the chance, take very, very seriously. I believed in Santa until I was 10 years old. Go ahead, laugh at me! I clung to my safe naivete until that age, with my biggest concern being the fear of what if Santa doesn’t know that we relocated from Brooklyn to the suburbs of Chicago.
HOW WILL HE FIND ME!
He found me. And soon later I found out he wasn’t real. The horror! You should have seen me when I found out there wasn’t a stork. (WHAT!?!)
In just a few days, Max turns 5 months old. He’s almost been here for half of a year! The time flies by. Wait a minute. I take that back. Considering I’ve been up at least 2 times a night for the past 20 weeks, the time has not flown by. It has ticked by, each night a new adventure of what will tonight bring? How many times will I find myself awake looking one-eyed at my iPhone at 3 am? Perhaps I speak for many new mothers when I say that while I both love the night because it means sleep (finally!), I also dread it because it means a steady stream of interrupted sleep (he’s up again!?!).
Two nights ago, we were up at 10 pm, 12:30 am, 3:15 am and 4:45 am. All that bullshit about them sleeping through the night: lies. Something that people tell you just to be sure you do your role in keeping the species alive. Hang in there, they’ll sleep through the night at 3 months! Nothing. 4 months, boys are more frequent eaters! Nothing. 5 months. Oh enough already! Just tell me that I’ll be up xx times per night for the rest of my life so perchance when he does sleep more than 4 hours I’ll consider him ahead of the curve.
(but know that I’ve already convinced myself that Max is stronger, smarter, and better than any other kid his age – that’s right he’s gifted!)
All joking aside (wait, this is not a joke, no it’s my life and it’s run on very little sleep, loads of decaf and even more bedhead), I love being a mom. No matter how many times Max wakes up, how many hours he whines at that grating monotonous I have no idea what you want whine, no matter how many times he holds his poop in for 3 days straight and when it finally arrives:
Disastrous. That’s the only word I can use to describe it.
No matter about all of that, I love the little guy. Like Chris said, it’s like falling in love. Every single day. It feels that good and exciting. Until he starts asking for the keys to the car or playing his music too loud. At that point, I reserve the right to find him slightly annoying.
Each night, we have a consistent bedtime routine. Feed, bath, winding down time, feed, book then bed. Chris leads the routine. I have to commend him: he knew Goodnight Moon after only one reading. I warned him – it’s the most pointless book you’ll ever read but kids love it. A few days later, I heard him walking upstairs while muttering good night kittens, good night mittens, good night mush, good night to the old lady whispering hush…
For the love of our college educations, neither of us can figure out what all of that shit was doing in that room. And WHO eats mush!?
Despite that snoozeworthy read, Max was up at 12:15 am and 3:55 am which is pretty typical. He eats, he gets changed. While he laid in his crib chit chatting until 4:30 am, I, on the other hand, found myself once again in bed at the junction of awake and very tired but still cannot fall asleep. So, I admitted defeat, woke up and headed to morning masters.
As I walked out to the pool deck, I spotted Dr. Erin. She’s a pediatrician. And I am sure she was thrilled to have someone try to talk work with her at 5:30 am.
I asked her about what was going on. Like, seriously, how much longer will this go on.
Will I/we/he ever sleep again?
Chris wonders how I do it. The other day he told me he was going to sleep in the basement. I said why. He said because I haven’t slept well in two nights. If I didn’t need him to read Goodnight Moon, I might have walked out the door and just continued to walk west while laughing my ass off hysterically. I haven’t slept well since....when did I get pregnant!? At this point, though, I don’t even feel fatigue. I just get grumpy or prone to shouting cuss words. I realize at some point Max will understand what I’m saying and my brother’s already warned me that there is nothing cute about a 2-year saying crap (from his own experience). Given enough sleepless nights, I’ll probably need a shock collar to curb my language.
Dr. Erin gave it to me straight: he is becoming a trained night wakener.
GASP! That sounds horrible! Worse than herpes. Know why? Because it implies I have something to do with it – that’s it not just one of those random it’s just because their babies things. It means that I may have trained him to wake up during the night. Hmm...
Now, I realize I’m talking about parenting here which is a very sensitive issue. Everyone has the freedom to have their own philosophy. And, what I’ve learned is that there is no right or wrong way. Ask some people and they would say I was raised the completely wrong way. You see, I am a successful, healthy, non-obese adult despite overcoming the fact that I was raised to sleep in my own bed, pissed in diapers until I was 2 and fed formula straight from birth.
I know, it’s unbelievable to imagine that after all of that I, at age 35, actually know how to dress myself.
But it’s not that I am worried about my parenting or me. I’m not. In fact, the less I sleep, the better I seem to swim at 5:30 am. (I’ve done a lot of crazy things to get faster in the pool but if all it takes is interrupted sleeping, then that’s one of the least embarrassing) I'm worried about Max. When forced to choose between eating or sleeping, he chooses to eat. When forced to choose between laying in his own filth while sleeping or waking up, he wants to be clean. Do you know what this means? There is a good chance when he is 12 he will wake up to raid the pantry, and, like my mom, if he can't sleep in the middle of the night we might find him vacuuming.
Here it is another day. We are at morning nap time already. Sleep or no sleep – the day must go on! Forget me – there’s a little person who 100 percent depends on me for everything. Sometimes I forget I am his source of food – which let me tell you is not an easy thing! The amount of food I need to eat to stay alive, to train and sustain the life of a human being is ridiculous. If I get behind, I make less milk. If I make less milk, we have a very angry Max. I eat a lot. Some of it is good stuff and some of it is…chocolate egg nog.
Each day, workouts are fit in between feedings and naptimes and naptime is not always predictable. I try to do workouts when he’s napping but the nap could be 45 minutes or 3 hours. This means I might stop to feed during a bike ride. A few times I’ve gotten caught with an awake infant while riding my bike – which explains a power file that looks like 100 x 100 jumps @ 200 percent threshold. That would be me getting off the bike, on the bike, off the bike, on the bike. Finally I just convinced myself each stop is like a stoplight. In my basement.
One thing (among the 1000 things) I’ve learned is how much I used to take for granted. Whether it’s sleep, taking a shower without a squealing infant waiting or being able to ride my bike for 60 minutes uninterrupted, all of that was a period in time I’d like to rename the easy life. (and yes, I chose to leave the easy life) Doing what you want, when you want. Skipping a meal just because. Not having to listen to the hoarse squawking of the breast pump (when I am done with that thing, I am tossing it in the middle of I-88). The simple act of running outdoors in daylight.
Perhaps it’s not even that I used to take these things for granted, rather I didn’t have the right perspective. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve shown up at the pool without my swim equipment or my workout. In the past I probably would have gone back home or saved the workout for another day. Like everything needed to be perfect for something to go well! Bullshit. Perfection is a colossal waste of physical and emotional energy. These days – it’s ready or not - SWIM! BIKE! RUN! The other night I finally got to swim at 8 pm. I forgot everything but my swimsuit. And that explains why I was wearing a pair of junior-sized camouflage Speedo goggles that I found on the deck. They leaked after every 50 yards. But heck if I didn’t swim one of my fastest 100s ever!
Right now, Max is napping and I need to get on the treadmill. Yeah, I used to be one of those oh I never run on the treadmill people too but….if I’m going to run, that is how it’s going to be. Actually, I’ve become much less of those people who say “oh I never” about anything. Yeah, I never would have been the parent to wake up every time the baby peeped or pay money for Breakfast with Santa or swim 3 x broken 1000s for the mainset at 5:30 am.
But maybe parenthood changes you. Because this morning, I looked in the eye of that white board on the pool deck and said – ok arms, we’ve got less than 45 minutes to bang that set out. No hottubbing, no yapping at the wall, no lollygagging. I’ve got to get back home so Chris can go to work, I can feed the baby then work, run and drive into the city.
Goggles down. Checked the clock. Looked at the guy behind me and said, on the top.
The mainset begins. The day begins. Ready?