>1. One o’clock in the morning. The baby is fed, changed, swaddled, and ready to go back to bed. Now to start the orbit around the kitchen island, employing that bouncy gait guaranteed to lull a newborn to sleep. I begin counting my steps. I can make it to 1000, I tell myself, before I might need to wake anyone up to help.
75. For the love of heaven, don’t spit out the pacifier anymore. I need you to just take it and go to sleep. I see those yawns, I know you’re tired. Give in, little one. Just give in.
110. Two years ago I would’ve been sitting on the purple exercise ball, bouncing Sebastian, but willing him to go to sleep with the same fervor. Should I get out that exercise ball? No, I don’t want to look at it every day, or have to explain to people that I’m not subjecting my child to shaken infant syndrome by using it.
335. Three weeks feels like an eternity with a newborn. Everyone says I should be easy on myself, stop trying to do it all. But I’m tired of being an invalid. I’m ready to get on with this new normal. Ready to pick up Sebastian again – to cuddle him, of course, but also to remind him who’s in charge here when he’s pitching a fit. He’s getting a little too big for those britches these days.
451. The new normal terrifies me. Alone most of the week with two small people. Changing diapers. Constant feedings of one or the other. Begging the universe to give me at least an hour of overlapping naps in order to have my brain to myself. Coordinating the carrier, the stroller, the diaper bag, the schedules, the boys. Is this really what my life is going to be about? I’m not afraid I can’t do it. I’m afraid I don’t want to. And then I feel guilty.
504. Oh no. Not the hiccups. I was more than halfway there and he was almost totally asleep! ARGH.
660. This time goes by fast. I know that from looking at Sebastian. So it’s going to be hard for a few months, and there will be too many diapers. But then they will both be bigger, Sebastian will be off to preschool, and I’ll be going back to work part-time, sad that my time at home is up. But… will I? Will I be able to find a position in the district that will work for me? Am I willing to share a classroom again? Is being a teacher even what I am supposed to be doing? I should really stop reading that Yale Alumni magazine. It just depresses me to hear what fabulousness my classmates are all doing while I am home breastfeeding and cleaning up spilled yogurt.
722. Look at that sweet face. I can only see it every 20 steps as I pass the glow of the oven clock, but that is enough to show me that he’s finally dropped off. Ok… should I keep walking, just to be sure? Why not? I can make it to 1000. C-sections are no match for me and my need to do it myself.
790. A squirming, a red face, a wiggling of the lower body. Gas. Dang it. At times like these, it feels like I will never sleep again.
815. Ok, asleep again, that wasn’t so bad, just one time around the island. Shouldn’t have panicked.
903 I should be grateful, I know. I’m lucky to have the option to stay home with my boys, and the idea of only seeing them nights and weekends doesn’t work for me at all. I think I’d be fine with these years off if I knew what I wanted to do afterward. But I don’t. I’m not sure teaching – at least not what I was doing – is really my passion. But I haven’t really proven to myself that I can be great at it yet. And if it isn’t my passion, then what is? Why don’t I know this already??
960. So close. Two more times around. Look at that sleep smile! I love that, and the little giggle when he’s dreaming of something funny.
982. One more lap. One more shift done. One more year in which to make life changes. I have to remember to enjoy it, for more than just the transition it is. Hard to do that when your brain is mush and you are filled with envy for everyone else and their “regular lives.” Ugh, have to control this negativity. I took almost a thousand steps and still ended up feeling depressed. Must conquer this bad attitude in order to sort out life goals.
1000. Sleep wins! Both of us to bed. There will be a thousand more steps tomorrow and a hundred more questions. And maybe, just maybe, an answer or two.