I had intended to stay up until David came home that night, but I fell into bed at 10:30. David had been travelling, and as always happens by the end of one of his trips, I felt like a piece of stale bread somebody left under the broiler too long. You know, toast.
He arrived home from Connecticut a short while later, dropping his suitcase on the tile floor with a clatter, then cursing under his breath–his whisper, bless his heart, is sort of the same decibel at which you and I speak–because he’d been trying to be quiet. Irony, that. It was 10:52. I came downstairs to chat, and after muttering a few incoherent sentences, was ushered back to bed. (A delirious wife in crumpled pajamas and still-wet hair trying to hold a conversation in their kitchen with the road-weary husband, still wearing his tie from seven that morning? Moments like that are what keep a marriage on FIRE. Or maybe that’s just my eyes burning from lack of sleep. Either or. )
At 2:33 a.m., Cian woke. I fed him, even though the doc says he probably doesn’t need it, and our other children both slept through the night by the time they were, oh, five months, so I know he doesn’t need it, but dear golly when it’s 2:33 in the morning and all you want to do is go back to sleep, you know what? He’s getting fed.
At 2:49, I crawled back into bed.
At 3:33 a.m., Quinn came into our room, carrying her little lantern nightlight, because she was afraid of the dark. We consoled and sent her back to bed.
At 3:38, she came in again, to pee. In our bathroom, I mean. Not, like, on the carpet. Though at that point I probably wouldn’t have cared.
At 3:40, she tried to crawl into our bed. This was after she got tangled in the curtains, tried to climb on top of the nightstand, and reached up to hug the lampshade. I’m not the only one who needs more sleep around here.
At 6 a.m., Cian woke. I pushed dear Quinn off of my arm (and chest, and hair) and got out of bed. Or rolled, more like it, because I didn’t have the capacity to sit up on my own strength.
This has been the pattern for the last month and a half, and it’s ridiculous. We have had hurricanes blow by our house, storms so bad we’ve been thisclose to hiding out in the basement, cars crashing into telephone poles on the road at the end of our street, an actual helicopter land in a field next to us, and Saoirse has slept through it all. Cian? Well, he wakes up if you sneeze in the driveway. And Quinn… you see what the nights are like with our dear Quinn. The Mighty isn’t so mighty at 3 a.m.
To say the lack of sleep is getting to me (did I just say that? I think I already said that) is like saying Mommy starts to lose her stuff by 4 p.m. every day: it’s a given, especially by 4:01 when the girls are begging to watch TV and complaining that playing is no fun and the baby just woke from his nap and what the heck are we having for dinner because I haven’t had a chance to go to the grocery store and all we have in the house is a 4-lb. bag of quinoa and some old cheese sticks.
In the past few days, I’ve sent Quinn to school in Saoirse’s pants. Quinn is 3. SK wears a size 8, so you can imagine how in the world I could’ve missed that. The pants weren’t even the color I thought they were.
I almost rolled my car into the back of another minivan, because I thought I’d put my car into park and hadn’t. Twice.
I actually backed into a planter that sits at the top of my driveway because I was actively, deeply distracted by the new sidewalk that had gone in across the street. (This will be the first time David hears about it, so, hey, Dave can you pick up some black paint the next time the car’s at the dealership it’s not that bad okay thanks!)
I opened my contact case to find that I hadn’t actually placed one of my contacts–one of my last pair, mind you–in the case the night before. I had no idea where it was. I found it on the floor three days later when I stepped on it and it cracked.
I put the milk in the pantry and stored the cereal box in the fridge. I went to the grocery store to buy one item, only to leave with bags of other stuff and not the ingredient i needed.
I’ve written emails that were illegible.
I’ve written texts that were illegible.
I’ve had conversations that were illegible.
I keep waiting for it to get better, but Quinn keeps appearing beside my side of the bed at night (always my side, which is why David is so bright-eyed and bushy-tailed when he gets out of bed at 5 for the gym), shouting “Mommy! I want to sleep in YOUR bed,” and that dear boy still wants to hang out at 2:30 a.m., and then the oldest child comes into our room declaring that her sheets are wet (why do they never knock, these children? Or whisper? is it so hard to softly say, “Hey, Mom, can you put my bedclothes in the wash and sanitize my room because we all have to get up in two hours, please?”). A friend of mine texted me the other day and asked if she was the only one who felt like she could never keep her head above water. She, as you can guess, also has child(ren) who won’t sleep well at night. And I didn’t have an answer for her. Of course I don’t. I was just sort of glad to hear I wasn’t the only one who felt like she was trudging through her days. Because it’s not misery that loves company, it’s the sleep-deprived.
I read somewhere that being an adult means always being being some form of tired. I don’t know who said it, but I’ll bet you anything she’s a parent. And that by 4 p.m., she’s hiding in the bathroom with a handful of chocolate, too.