My day starts sometime after 7am. Light is just starting to find it’s way through our larger, south-facing front window into our living room which is generally littered with small cars, stuffed animals leftover from before-school morning cuddles, and the occasional chocolate milk sippy that wasn’t put away before leaving.
Sometimes there are Legos that get stepped on. Those mornings are sweary.
I don’t ease quietly and serenely into my day. No, I wake up to a hungry and angry baby girl shout-crying into my face via the monitor on my night stand. As I blink away the sleep, she gets crabbier.
I mutter something like, “I’m coming, Alice,” as if she can hear me…or would care if she could. You know what? It’s hard to pee when you’re trying to convince your brain you are indeed awake and not still dreaming all while trying to hurry because the boss has not gone from crying to some sort of shrill wail that makes it sound like feral cats are about to attack her.
Once I get my bathrobe on, the coffee going, the Today show on, and the bottle in the baby’s mouth, I can say the day has begun.
This has been our only consistent routine since the little lady joined our household seven weeks ago. Every other attempt I have made to find some sort of schedule or regularity in our days is thwarted by Little Miss Alice.
During week six, I thought we finally had it. Every day she was taking a lengthy snooze in her rock n play in the morning while I cleaned or baked or wrote or read or also snoozed. The afternoons were lazy. Since I was so accomplished in the morning, we usually cuddled together on the couch for some Netflix or History channel or Tiger ball game or just silence. Sometimes I read my book while she was curled up in my arm, sometimes I slept.
On the days Eddie doesn’t go to the after school program, we would go pick him up then come home to start dinner while Eddie entertained Alice.
Things were breezy, man. Totally breezy. I even made a laundry schedule and a “chore” list for each day (example: Mondays = groceries, and doing Alice’s laundry along with a load of our laundry…the darks, yo).
Then week seven happened.
And I remembered that babies are on their own schedules, and sometimes that means lengthy fussy times because OMG LEARNING ALL THE THINGS AND GROWING IS SO VERY HARD AND EXHAUSTING AND I JUST NEED TO CRY ABOUT IT, MOMMA.
I showered less last week. I slept less (exhibit A = the giant bags under my eyes in that picture up there). I got WAY less done. I said, “Oh, Baby Girl!” a LOT. But by Thursday we were finding our way again.
She was still a mad head and didn’t want me to put her down, but dude. Life needs to continue. So the Moby wrap was taken out of the car (I use it for shopping with her), and I threw her in it while I made dinner. She still fussed a bit, but it worked well enough until her daddy came home and could properly hold her and whisper in her ear that she was pretty. Which she likes, of course.
The week wasn’t all bad, after all. She cried a LOT, but she also laughed for the first time. I was singing “Three is the Magic Number” and “I Love Rock n Roll”. I am telling myself that she laughed out of pleasure and not because my singing was so bad.
Alice has begun to coo constantly at me and Cortney and her brothers. She definitely recognizes me and Cortney when other people are around, and seeing her brothers after they’ve been gone all day is sure to elicit smiles.
I also read that she can now appreciate colors and textures, so I busted out the activity mat…or the gym, as we call it. She found herself in the mirror and smiled immediately, which is funny because neither of the boys ever cared one speck for that mirror. Of course my baby girl would find it and love it.*
All the new stuff made her tired and cranky though, as I said. So the week had highs and lows. I spent a lot of the time holding the baby.
With Eddie this would have sent me into a rage-filled spiral. With Charlie I learned that the bathroom filth will be there tomorrow. With Alice I am practicing what I learned. I didn’t even worry about the bathroom or the dusting. It never crossed my mind to worry about it not getting done.
I just scooped her up and patted her butt until she fell asleep in my arms. Then I dozed off too. Or read a book. Or watched some TV. Because I knew she would wake up sad if I put her down.
So I just didn’t put her down.
I don’t know what week eight will bring this week, but I am sure not going to count on anything other than a baby who will eat, sleep, poop, and cry…but not in that order. At least not in that order every time.
*Fun fact: to get me to stop crying as a baby/toddler, my parents would plop me in front of a mirror. I would sit and smile at myself forever.