The morning madness – that period from about 5 to 7 a.m. when anything can happen. The babies might wake up, or not. They might just eat and go back to sleep (yay!) or they might decide they are no longer content to lay straight-jacketed and wet in their crib and insist on being AWAKE for good (boo!). The three year old might wake up at 5 a.m. and demand the iPad (or have it shoved at him by his delirious mother) or he might sleep well past normal wake up time, thus throwing off the entire morning schedule. The goal is to be out of the house with the three year old around 7 a.m. and before the babies wake up. Generally, this goal is not met, but it’s good to have goals.
The missing hours – work can be a great, intellectually challenging, fast-paced distraction. Or, it can be a tedious countdown of hours until I can cuddle my little (and big) nuggets again. Mostly it’s both. It helps to have lots of pictures in my office. And to send (maybe too many) texts to the au pair asking for baby updates. If any one of the nuggets has shown any sign of illness the prior night or that morning, the missing hours become gut-wrenching as I constantly anticipate the e-mail, text or call letting me know that the sick one is really sick and mamma is needed ASAP. Because when you’re sick no one else will do.
The second shift – this starts the minute I walk in the door as I scoop up the babes to relieve the au pair. Then it’s a crazy dance of soothing babies while changing from work clothes and trying to prepare dinner for daddy and big brother. Dinner does not always pan out (but there’s always delivery). The second shift generally continues at a relatively insane pace, trying to meet everyone’s many needs, for the couple of hours between the end of work and bedtime (which is supposed to be 7 p.m. but always ends up closer to 8 p.m.). The shift can end with exhausted screaming babies and an angry three year old flinging himself around his bed until too exhausted to ask for one more book, glass of water, toy, or trip to the potty. On the other hand, sometimes this shift ends with babies falling gently asleep in my arms and my three year old passing out mid-verse of either jingle bells or bingo. This is a much better way to end the day (plus some wine or adult hot chocolate, i.e. with baileys)
The midnight hours – these are the middle of the night moments/hours needed to soothe and/or feed the babies. Also the three year old sometimes needs soothing (at least he’s given up midnight breakfast). The babies came home from the hospital relatively good sleepers but we’ve managed to screw them up. So now we are slowly clawing our way back to one feeding per night. Sometimes it’s one, sometimes it’s three. Sometimes I just want to tape their pacifiers to their faces, except that’s not allowed. These are also the hours spent not sleeping after all the feeding and soothing is done, thinking about ALL THE THINGS, while simultaneously willing my brain to JUST SHUT UP ALREADY. This is also the time for writing blog posts.
And then, all too soon, it’s 5 a.m. and the morning madness begins.