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How to have a great night’s sleep, one step at a time…
Work all day. Pick up your kids and baby. RACE to your house because you do not have enough time. Enter house. Begin shouting orders at children. Place your way-too-easygoing baby in the center of the floor of the living room, so you can see her while you bolt around the house caring for a sick puppy, repeating orders for the 9th time, preparing for the Extracurricular Activities of Doom. Scoop up baby. Let her nurse for 4 minutes while you arrange things with the husband. Put her in the car seat. Go to activity.
Go back to the work at 7pm to take care of unexpected development in a very urgent project.
Return home at 10pm.
See your husband and all three kids sleeping soundly and beautifully in your bed.
Contemplate sleeping on the couch.
Remember the condition of the living room, which houses the couch, and determine you’d rather sleep suspended by your toes in the garage.
Move biggest child to her bed.
Attempt to carry middle child to his bed. Cuddle his sweaty little neck when you transport him.
See the baby you haven’t really seen all day.
See the baby you haven’t played with.
Hear her little snores. Wonder how she’s managing to get along so well without you, when you’re obviously doing so poorly. Feel a wave of gratefulness for the amazing people caring for her.
Feel a wave of sorrow because you aren’t those people.
Wonder what the fucking point is. Of work.
Remember you have to work the very next day. Consider moving the baby to her crib, because you’ll sleep better without her in the bed.
Realize there’s no way in hell you can be away from her for one more moment.
Pick her up from your husband’s arm. Wrap her in yours. Offer her sleepy self the breast. Watch her ignore it, too settled in deep sleep.
Pull her close, on your arm. Put your face to hers as close as you possibly can. Smell her breath. Kiss. Kiss. Kiss. Consider you might wake her up. Consider that you couldn’t care less about waking her up.
Close your eyes and inhale her heaven scent.
Wonder what the fucking point is.
Because you can’t stop.
Because you couldn’t stare all day.
Because she’s so luscious and wonderful and perfect you still can’t believe it.
Close your eyes. Try to sleep. Realize you cannot. Baby’s a bit too close.
Realize you don’t care.
Stare again. Kiss again.
Watch her wriggle. Nurse her. Be grateful.
Look at the clock. 11:30pm. Be ungrateful.
Settle deeper into determined attempts to sleep.
See a little shadow in the hallway. See that it’s your son. Tell him to come on in, but he’s gotta get on daddy’s side.
Watch him crawl in with his kitty stuffed animal. Watch your husband enfold him without waking up.
Hear the larger male snore.
Bang on husband to roll over and quit snoring. Watch him do it.
See that it’s 12am.
Begin getting really worried. Decide to move the baby to her crib so you can stretch out and really sleep.
Kiss her again.
Stick your nose against her mouth to smell her breath again and feel its whisper across your face.
Pick her up. Feel your heart break a little when you lay her on her crib. Because tomorrow will be another day of no-baby. Tell yourself it’s alright.
Even though it isn’t.
Go back to bed. Close your eyes.
Miss the baby so much you can’t fucking sleep. Wish things were different. Begin regretting almost every decision you’ve made in the last 10 years.
Say a prayer to calm the mind.
Repeat the mantra to redirect the mind.
4:30am. Hear the baby yelling “HI!” from her crib. Go get her. Change her. Watch her smile. Smile back because you can’t resist.
Bring her back into bed. Nurse her. Fall asleep.
Wake up at 6am. Refreshed.
See your baby smiling, waving and saying “hi” from the other side of the bed, forgiving you already for leaving again.