My eyes spring open as my heart is pounding and my mind is forcing itself to replay the sound I just heard. As my heart slows down I hear it again. The waking sound of a baby. I am praying that it stops, that my 10 month old will go back to sleep. Maybe she will notice that the sun isn't up, won't be coming up for hours. Her cry is getting louder. I have mere seconds to rush downstairs and grab a bottle before she wakes the house. My legs aren't working properly, weak from lack of sleep.
I grab a bottle and race back upstairs while my muscles scream in protest. I carry Alyson to the queen bed in her room. She's intently drinking her bottle, I can't keep my eyes open. I hear the familiar sound of air being sucked in. I pick her up and place her back in her crib and turn off her lamp. I creep out, ever so quietly closing her door behind me. I use my hands to guide me in the complete dark, back to bed, back to peace. I notice the angry red glare of the clock and through hazy eyes I see the number three. It's early. Too early.
I snuggle into Scott, letting my body sink into the mattress, close my eyes and take a deep breath. I hear the cry again. I take Alyson downstairs, Scott has to get up early and needs his sleep. I sit her down on the floor and grab her basket of toys. I lay down beside her. She's plays contently.
Little nails are scratching my face and I realize I have fallen asleep. She's fussing. I am short tempered. The alarm goes off upstairs and the shower starts. I crawl to the couch, Alyson following me, fussing, wanting up. My arms are too tired. My body too achy. I grab the cordless phone, the remote controls, anything that Alyson is not allowed to play with but will find interest in for a few minutes. The shower shuts off and minutes later Scott comes downstairs. I try and hold a conversation with him but the noises from my mouth make me sound like I spent solid hours at a bar throwing back tequila. My tongue is even too tired to talk.
I love time with Scott but today I just want him to leave for work. I don't want to have to explain why I am allowing our baby to slobber all over the remote, why I am letting her chew on my car keys. He leaves. I fall into the couch, eyes half open, car keys hanging off my finger, dangling there while Alyson tries to grasp them. I fall asleep again. My mind keeps telling me to start the day but my body is not responding. I am content, one eye half open, making me feel like a better parent because I can vaguely see what Alyson is doing. Sleep, nothing else matters. Sleep, it's survival of the fittest and I am losing badly.
Alyson starts yawning. I snuggle her warm baby body and bring her upstairs. I place her in her crib, tuck her in, close her door. The sun is up, there is no need to turn off the lamp. As I creep back into my bedroom I see my bed patiently waiting for me. I hear footsteps behind me.
"Mommy, I'm hungry."
I look at Jonathan, look at Destyni, then look at my bed. I turn around, walk downstairs and make breakfast.