Cian doesn’t sleep through the night by himself. I mean, this isn’t something new: I don’t think he’s really slept through the night well since he was about 20 weeks prenatal, rolling around in my belly at 2 a.m. like some deranged BMX biker on Red Bull (speaking of Red Bull: is that still around? Or am I just remembering 1999 a little better than I should?). We moved him out of a crib into his real bed a few months ago, thinking that maybe he was just too big for the confined space (he was) and that having more room would help him relax (it didn’t). So here we are now: lying down with him as he falls asleep at night (third child says, “haha, SUCKERS!”), then jolting out of sleep around 11, 12, 1 in the morning when he wakes up, realizes we’re not with him, and either cries like we’ve all decided to go to Fiji and leave him behind, or shuffles into our room to crawl into our bed like some cat burglar with separation issues, and we wake to realize that there’s a foot in one of our ears and a child breathing directly into the other’s face.
David and I are tired a lot. This is why.
And since we’re not the co-sleeping type of parents, and since we are the type of parents who always were consistent-like about the sleep stuff with Child 1 and Child 2, we want to rectify this (i.e., get the boy child to sleep on his own already). It’s just, so tired. It’s so hard to be a consistent-like parent when you’re tired. Unless you’re consistently losing your mind, that is.
It’s just me and Cian at home these days while his sisters are in school and David is locked away in his office, on conference call after conference call (he likes his job and seems to be really productive. But I wonder how people in the business world get anything done when they’re always discussing now to get things done. Which is why he does what he does and I do, well, this. Which is type on the computer and yell at the kids to stop using one of my scarves as a leash for the cat). I’m waiting for the girls to tell me one day that I treat Cian differently than I do them. Because they will, because I do. The heart softened up a bit when I realized he was the last baby. I totally admit that I wanted to hold onto this last child just a little bit longer, that I kind of sort of wanted to enjoy this a bit more than I let myself with his sisters because we were so busy trying to do what we thought was right. Right is exhausting. Right is even more exhausting when you’re already exhausted to begin with.
This is not good parenting, this inconsistency between the kids. I know that. And yet, it’s really hard to walk away from a two-year-old when he or she is taking your hand, kissing it, and wrapping it around his torso so you don’t leave. The girls didn’t do this with us, so maybe that’s the real difference, and not just our complete abandonment of my and Dave’s parenting style. I dunno. But I do know that if our kids are anything like me (pray for us) when I was growing up, we’re going to hear how we’re treating Cian differently because he’s a boy, which makes me want to stick my head in the oven (I won’t. That’s terrible. And it needs to be cleaned, so that’s gross) because ohmygosh let me not be as predictable as that.
It’s not because he’s the boy baby. It’s because he’s the last baby.
He’s going to be fine, I swear. The girls bounced off to school today, happy and excited (Saoirse, because she’s buying lunch–it’s chicken patty day! Which is like a chicken nugget, but bigger!–and Quinlan because she’s staying for a full day, with a lunch packed specially because she’s still a little apprehensive about buying a massive chicken nugget-like lunch. Can’t say I blame her). Cian right now is in the room with me, playing on an ottoman with matchbox cars, stolen Legos of his sister’s, and some article of clothing he snatched from the folded stack on the coffee table. It’s peaceful here. Dave’s off his call (so THAT’S when the work gets done! I was WONDERING), and there’s no fighting over toys or somebody kicking the other, or why can’t they have ice cream as a snack when other kids get ice cream as a snack it’s just not faaaaaaiiiiir. Everyone, as far as I know, is happy in his or her own bubble right now.
Happy. We are tired, but we are happy. So maybe it’s like jobs–some careers are meant for some personalities (Dave’s on a call again. I’d be hyperventilating from all that conversation), and maybe some children are meant for some parenting styles. Maybe we’ve just gone soft. I don’t know.. But right now, the house is (semi-)quiet, my girls will come home this afternoon content and pleasantly worn out (or fighting like cats in a back alley. It could go either way), and I’ve promised them ice cream for dessert after dinner. We will read books and say prayers and tuck in the girls to bed, and then one of us will lie down with Cian until he kisses our nose and closes his eyes for (a few hours of) the night..
I’m holding on to all of them. Holding on to this. Because even in the space of seven years, it changes so much.
As, I suppose, do we.