He woke at 5.30 this morning. He does that a lot, but usually I can get him back to sleep. Some cuddles while sucking on the boob and he usually drifts off and I can get another hour in bed, if I’m lucky. But this morning it was not to be. After half an hour of cuddles, my little giggly man was more than ready for the day. Into my room for robe and slippers, past the soundly sleeping oblivious dad and then down the stairs. How he sleeps through the giggling and the chat is beyond me, super powers.
What this meant of course was that by 8.30 am the energizer baby had lost all his bounce and wanted to sleep. He didn’t. He dozed. Finally went to sleep late morning and slept for not nearly long enough.
What I am leading up to say is that by 6.15pm he was tucked up in bed fast asleep. We had dinner together, quietly, with some conversation and not many screens between us, and it was nice. And then the prospect of an entire evening to ourselves loomed large.
He took himself off to write, something he is better at convincing himself to do than I am, and I sat. I watched some TV. I had tea and a muffin. And now it isn’t even 9 o’clock and I am at a loss.
I keep thinking of things I could do, or things I should do. And nothing appeals. I try to recall what I did for fun for me before all this began and I can’t remember much other than sitting.
I watch far too much TV and movies.
I could have a bath. But the time it takes to fill the tub plus the knowledge I could be needed to settle a crying toddler at a moments notice kind of add up to putting me off the idea.
I could read. I got a new book recently and am slowly….very slowly…. making my way through it. But my brain is a bit lacking today and I think I would end up not remembering most of what I read. So it would feel like wasted time.
I could sort through the dozens, if not hundreds of photos I have printed of him. I use a site that gives you 50 free prints a month, you just pay postage. And I have used it most months since he was born – 18 months ago. That’s a lot of photos. An insurmountable task for another night.
A jigsaw was always a favourite in the before days. And I even have one I haven’t made yet. But it won’t be finished in one evening, and the only surface I could make it on is too low, within toddler reach, so there goes that idea. I’d be finding puzzle pieces in the bin, on the floor, in his toybox. And some would probably be lost forever. Maybe eaten.
It is so hard to find time that is solely mine. Time that isn’t carved out for something else. Time that I can do with how I wish. It is precious and rare and tonight I feel like I’ve squandered it. I feel on edge all the time. Knowing that he will usually only settle for me makes it so difficult to relax or have an evening off. If I was confident that he would go back to sleep by himself or for his dad then I could have that bath, make the phone call, go for the walk, but I feel like a hostage. On edge just waiting for the next cry. I love that he wants me. I love that I can make his crying stop, I can put a goofy smile on his face just by walking in the room, and I can help him relax. But I would also love to take a night off. Let someone else settle him. Let him let someone else in.
And for those of you talking to your screens right now, telling me that it gets better; that its hard to see the positives when you’re in the middle of these tough nights and sleep deprived decision making; that the day will come when you get a full uninterrupted nights sleep, I say to you – I know. I am exceedingly excited about the idea. I am very aware that this is all temporary and that he won’t always need me. That I won’t always be the solution to his problem.
And as much as I am looking forward to uninterrupted sleep, to a night off, to a bubble bath with no one knocking at the door for something, I am dreading how I will feel when he stops giving me that huge goofy grin just because I’ve walked in the room.