Monday Morning

I’m roused from sleep by the sound of Evan waking fitfully in his bed beside me. Without opening my eyes I know it’s still dark, impossibly early, too early to start the day. Yet I also know that’s exactly what’s about to happen. I was up too late again working the night before, meeting a deadline I had gotten extended once already. Then I was up twice with Evan, the last time around 3:30 a.m.

He turns over, whimpering, revving up for a full-on cry. I bury my head in the covers, not wanting to accept my fate. Maybe if I just lie here very still, Evan will fall back to sleep.

What time is it? I wonder.

Just then Chris’s alarm clock goes off, and I curse silently. I hear the monotone NPR newscaster rolling through his morning news brief and I know it’s 5:45 a.m. Chris moves and sighs and I swear again, knowing the creak of the mattress springs and the radio and the ruffling of sheets is not helping the cause of willing Evan to drift back to dreamland on his own.

He starts to cry, and suddenly my goal of staying cozied up beneath the down comforter in a haze of sleep is trumped by a new, way more important goal — Make Sure Evan Doesn’t Wake Kostyn.

I scoop up Evan from his Pack-n-Play and bury him in the bed beside me. “Shhhhhhhhh, shh shh shh shh,” I hiss into his ear, kissing his cheek frantically and fumbling for his pacifier, trying to get him to focus on something other than his own need to be heard.

He stops crying almost instantly, which is fantastic, but his eyes are now wide open. This means he’s ready to start his day. He pulls the pacifier out of his mouth and starts babbling, cooing, in love with the sound of his own voice, and I find it both impossibly cute and totally unnerving.

“Daaaaaaaa.....wuuuaaaaahhhhh........wuuuuaaaahhhhh....” he croaks, eyes wide, as I shush him half-heartedly and Chris turns over and smiles.

In the other room, Kostyn starts to whine. I curse audibly. It’s 5:48 a.m.

“I’ll go get him and bring him in here,” Chris says, and although I know that’s better than me having to get up and feel the early morning chill on my bare shoulders, it still pisses me off. I’m mad that my day never starts on my terms. I’m mad that my kids never sleep in. I’m mad.

Chris reappears a minute later carrying Kostyn, who’s whining and wiggling and doesn’t know what he wants. He deposits his older son beside his younger son, moving his own pillow sideways to create a bit of a border between Kostyn and the edge of the bed.

Then he’s gone, and I spend the next 30 minutes under a dark cloud of jealousy as I hear Chris going about his morning routine. I’m jealous that he gets to stand in the shower for as long as he wants, no door left open to hear a baby’s cry, no toddler running in to open the shower curtain and get water all over the floor. I’m jealous that he gets to sit in peace at the table and sip his coffee and read the newspaper uninterrupted by a hungry baby or a dirty diaper or “More Cheerios Mama?” while I’m in bed getting my hair pulled by a 6-month-old and my face kicked by a 2-year-old.

It makes no sense in the light of day, knowing that he’d give anything to trade places, to stay home with them, to soak up our early morning ritual of tangled bodies and yawns and hand-holding in Mama’s bed.

But there is very little that’s rational in my brain at 5:50 a.m. So as I lay there feeling the impossibly soft skin of my boys, hearing Kostyn sigh and Evan coo, watching Evan reach for Kostyn and Kostyn admonish his brother — “No baby, no hair! Not!” — I am unable to soak up the moment for what it is. Which is perfect.

After several minutes of Evan grabbing and Kostyn flailing, I realize they cannot be next to each other, so I scoot Evan over to my nice warm spot, wedge myself between them, and try to get comfortable lying on my stomach with no pillow and somehow trying to face both of them. This is ridiculously futile. It’s a queen-sized bed, but when you factor in the wall of pillows on both sides of the bed there isn’t much wiggle room left for two wiggly little ones and one overtired mom.

We should all just get up, I think. This is stupid. It’s not like there’s a chance in hell of any of us falling back to sleep. Dawn is breaking, the room is slowly getting lighter, and I’m waiting for the first of many times Kostyn will ask to “Watch some TV?”

But he doesn’t. He flips over onto his belly, his diapered bottom up in the air, grabs my hand and closes his eyes. This is an astounding turn of events. I lie there very still while Evan pulls my hair and caresses my shoulder and tries to yank on my shirt.

I close my eyes. Evan keeps talking. Please, please just be quiet. I think about trying to leave with Evan, to get out from under the covers, in the middle of the bed, without waking Kostyn. There’s no way.

“Daaaaaaaa...” Evan says. I’m mad and jealous and tired and irrational.

And then, somehow, I open my eyes and things are different. Quiet. I can see the brightness beaming in from the corners of the curtains. I lift my head to peer over a sleeping Kostyn at the clock. 8:16 a.m. I turn to Evan. He’s staring at me. When our eyes meet, he grins.

I reach over and caress his cheek and he grabs my hand and tries to chew on my knuckles. A few minutes later Kostyn stirs, rolls over and sits up.

“I luff you, Mama,” he says, smiling. “Good morning!”

Great morning.


Lyn said...

Reading this brings an endless wave of emotions for me...first, a memory of the 6 weeks I stayed home with Leah and that strange feeling I got in the pit of my stomach each morning when Ryan would get up and leave for work and I'd think "oh my god....DON'T LEAVE! I don't know what to do with her!!!!"

Next...a sigh of relief...since now my days are much more like Chris's (although, thankfully, I do not have to get up at 5:45m!) and I am the one that gets to leave it all behind...

Then, of course, what kind of mother (or daughter, for that matter) would I be if I didn't feel a little guilt, right? Guilt that I felt that relief...Guilt that I was afraid i wouldn't know what to do with her...

And then sheer joy as I think of a seemingly inignificant moment last night on the couch. Ryan sitting on one end with his pump on his leg working out those lymphatic, on the other end of the couch with my laptop....and leah leaning against my arm. Her soft hand slowly caressing my arm, her other hand tangled in her hair, a sure sign that sleep is near...she was so warm and soft and sweet and she eventually signed that final sigh and I felt her weight go limp against me and knew that she was out cold for the night....I love that feeling of her so comfortable and safe and so close to me...

As usual, Robyn, you brought tears to my eyes! I love hearing about and sharing with you our stories of motherhood. I feel closer to you than I ever have!

Lis said...

I have so been there. Even attempted crawling out the bottom of the bed before so as not to disturb them once they finally went to sleep. Makes for some interesting times.

I always love how you capture the emotions. Thank you for putting words to mine.

tlc said...

As I read your post, I silently thanked you for understanding how I feel toward my husband every single morning as he eats his breakfast, takes his shower, goes about his day without having to consider anyone but himself. But then you reminded me that he would probably give anything to trade places with me!

As your post unfolded, though, I thought WOW! What you described has never EVER happened to me. Jealous, but glad for you!!


PS - hope your thyroid is back in order soon.

Robyn said...

Thanks for the feedback, ladies. I love hearing that I'm not the only one with some of these feelings/fears/internal jealous rages. :)

And Tina, I'm praying you get to experience the "no way, we ALL fell back to sleep?!" miracle very soon.

Heather said...

Once again an amazing post, I have told you I live for your updates right? :)

I also relate to the jealousy emotion. Especially lately. I feel horrible that I want a break. I feel more horrible that I get angry knowing that I won't get that break.

Its gonna be rough when Bill leaves on a mission in a couple of weeks for 35 days. Talk about no break! But as always, I will continue to suck it up, and go on with my days, knowing that soon enough there will come a time when I miss these days!