Sunday, July 15, 2012

What Moms Do

There are some moments in a mother's career, that go un-witnessed by any other adults. There are some fantastically strange and possibly inspiring and certainly humourous moments when all she wants is someone to glance at and exchange a knowing look with. To be understood.  To be seen doing these silly and extreme things. 

I think that is why I blog.  It's a way to have a witness. And it makes the unbearable moments, amusing in a way.

Last night, sleep eluded us. We are vacationing at my in-laws. A month ago, 100mm of rain in a 24-hour period caused the Thunder Bay city sewer pumps to fail, flooding 3500 homes. Mike's too. So the basement has been completely demolished and stripped to bare wall studs and cement floors. For our stay, he inflated a double bed down there. But I laid down there on the bed on the first night for about thirty seconds, listening to the white noise of the fans and figuring that I wouldn't be able to hear my son or daughter if they needed me in the night.

So I've been sleeping upstairs in a single bed in the same room as Amelia's crib.  Across the hall, is Cole's room. He's in another single bed with a child-rail that Kathy bought at a Mom-to-Mom's sale.

We've been having a lot of adventures at night and not a lot of sleeping.  There's been some debate back and forth about whether Amelia's teething or if she's sick or allergic to the soap we've been using or maybe she's just feeling home-sick.  Whatever.  She hasn't been sleeping.

But then, last night, she finally did!
She fussed a bit in the first few hours, but then I lay quietly listening for her stirring as the hours ticked by and I was rewarded with peace and blissful silence. The fact that I was awake to listen just shows I was so over-tired, when finally presented with the chance to sleep, ironically, I couldn't.

I heard my husband arrive home from being out with some buds. I heard Mike and Kathy get home from bartending a shag. Then I must have drifted off, because I was shaken from my dreams by my son's anguished cries.

I leaped out of bed and made my way in the dark in the direction of the door. (I had learned from my mistakes - earlier in the week when Cole had summoned me for a night-time trip to the loo, I'd run so quickly for the door, I'd slammed right into the filing cabinet, waking my daughter!) So I was cautious this time. Despite my best efforts, Amelia woke up to Cole's cries anyway.

I got to Cole and he clung to my neck for dear life. He kept exclaiming that he was afraid of the scary zebra. He was so frightened, he wouldn't let go of my neck. I took him to the washroom and he still wouldn't let go of my neck. Picture me leaning precariously over the toilet with his arms clinging to my shirt while I try to retrieve toilet paper.

Then we went to check on Amelia, and I had to lift her out of the crib as he still clung to my neck. I felt around in the dark for a diaper and fell onto the bed to change her. Cole shifted his clutch only slightly, perching on my back like a little monkey. As I felt the diaper in my hand, to open it up, I realized it was a swim diaper. I had to sit Amelia on the part of the bed closest to the wall, then zip quickly across the room to retrieve another diaper, with Cole still on my back.  Then I had to feel around in the dark for my baby girl, hoping she hadn't dropped off the bed.

I changed her diaper, leaning over carefully so Cole didn't flip right over my head. I felt a trickle of sweat dripping down my temple.

Then I lifted Amelia back into the crib and felt around for her soother, placed it into her mouth, patted her back and said good-night, all this with Cole on my back.  Then I had to carefully turn side-ways to get through the doorway without catching Cole's legs, past the filing cabinet and into the hallway and across to Cole's room. I tried to put him back to bed but he clung to me desperately. So I laid down next to him, resigned to sleeping with him for the rest of the night.

But Amelia cried out and I had to let Cole climb onto my back again and maneuver the hallway in the dark so we could return to reassure his baby sister. We repeated this process a half dozen times before I attempted the triple co-sleeping set-up, desperate to appease them all and get some sleep.

I took both kids into the single bed in Amelia's room, but it became quickly clear someone was going to roll off the bed.  Then we all climbed into Cole's single bed with a bed rail. If I laid sideways with my back to the wall, there was enough room for the two kids to lie side-by-side. However, Amelia was excited and kept hitting Cole in the face.  I tried shifting the arrangement so I was in the middle, but then I couldn't lay sideways and Cole said he was getting squished.

Finally, Cole and I slept in the single bed in Amelia's room and I just had a very serious talk and explained to my baby girl that she had to sleep in her crib.  She cried a few more times, but eventually we all drifted off to sleep until just after six in the morning.

At that time we all woke up and my night-shift ended and the day-shift began.

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