a cat purring

[written 10/14/12]

lately i’ve been waking up early, well early for our schedule nowadays.

our schedule is mostly dictated by baby girl’s sleeping patterns, which shift fairly regularly, and as i’ve reassuringly read, is super-normal for toddlers, particularly in the 18-21 month set. she is a good sleeper, i’d say, and only gets restless in the early morning right after the sun rises. my guess is that if we had blackout curtains, she’d sleep through those early mornings, but i love our pretty pink-red curtains and the way the sun slowly brightens our room, and anyhow, it’s just a hypothesis and would probably be nullified sooner or later with her changing sleep habits.

i remember just before she was born, i would worry about what kind of mother i’d be – largely because my sleep was so uncomfortable at the end of the pregnancy, that i’d often be wide-awake at 3 am and sleep in until 2 pm and so on. (not that there weren’t many other reasons to worry about motherhood, but sleep, like hunger and thirst and warmth, has a very physical way of making itself a Priority.) it’s depressing to wake up when everyone is finishing up lunch. it feels like life is just passing you by, you lazy girl.

and now, well, i take sleep when i can and i try to not beat myself up about it. i’m pretty sure i’m chronically underslept, but since (almost) no one seems to notice i’m terribly changed behavior-wise, then i guess it’s slow on having drastic effects. i’ve definitely, oh very very definitely, been much more emotional these past two years, but it’s hard to separate all the many things that invariably are affecting me – moving to another continent, losing my profession (just for now, not for always – i tell myself that regularly), leaving my family far away, starting a new family, loving them so but feeling the precariousness of building rather than being born into, feeling my body change for pregnancy and then (in two days!) eighteen months of 24/7 breastfeeding, the exhaustion and amazing joy of letting a big new love in your life (oh baby girl, we love you so), the general stress of aging (hello mid-thirties! yup, not a young pup by any means.), and so on and so forth.

but really, at the end of the day, we’re just animals. and though it’s taken me many years of reminding myself the same thing over and over and over, these three magical questions solve the majority of my stresses if i’m upset: have i eaten lately? am i well-slept? am i physically comfortable? if i answer no to any of those, well break out the food, catch a nap, kick off the shoes and/or jump in the shower. invariably, i’m at least 50% better when the above questions can now be answered with yeses.

however. record scratch here. babies do not allow for any of the three easily, especially the “catch a nap” part. and really, at this point, i need more than a twenty-minute power nap. i need some r.e.m. and no, not the music. i need a week of eight-hour sleeping. it feels positively indulgent to even type that out. (see how low my needs have dropped? eight hours! i remember when eight was a minimum, nine or even ten was really the sweet sleep number.) i can barely believe it now but i haven’t sleep more than oh four hours without waking in almost two years now. and waking, nice readers, is the kicker. i sleep much much better than a year ago, definitely. but it’s the continuous sleep that’s the main problem. i’m no longer a walking zombie, like i was way back in the newborn time a year or so ago. now i’m just a quick-to-anger emotional .. well, not wreck, but definitely rubbernecking-worthy event. at some point it will come. that’s what all experienced mothers say. hard to believe. even harder to believe is that probably most of all the mothers of toddlers i see out-and-about are this sleep-deprived. how in the world do we do it! seriously. we really deserve medals or something.

so, with all that said, all that whining!, why am i happy to be waking earlier than baby girl? if sleep is oh-so-precious, why am i using time i could be sleeping to ramble away on this here blog? three reasons: 1) we live next to a school yard which, however many pluses it has, means i’m regularly woken by screaming pre-teens (why do they do that so much? i don’t remember being so screamy) and extremely loud and over-used teacher’s whistles and megaphones; 2) beyond the three items listed above (sleep, hunger, comfort), time to oneself is the next most valuable prize a parent seeks. it is my Precious.; 3) i’d rather be wide awake when baby girl tosses and turns to awake, because i’m able to see how adorable she is, rather than, mid-sleep, be super annoyed and impatient with the kicking feet and searching arms and cries of mama mama. (oh those feet! they kicked my ribs constantly in pregnancy and haven’t stopped trying to kick me in the eighteen months since. co-sleeping, i love you, but really there is no bed big enough for those feet.) impatience is my worst mom fault and when i’m wide-awake, i’m ashamed that i’d ever be even slightly annoyed with the cries of mama mama, as they are the sweetest words i’ve ever heard, coming from that mouth, with those searching arms and anxious tone, eyes still closed in sleep, but there it is. i’m a mama, so proud to be one, but i’m also still me, still andrea, who used to take sleep for granted, who used to take time for herself as a given, and who has always been a bit too rough with the loves in her life. so, all in all, wide-awake is the best way to be in the early morning.

anyhow, rambling is what i do best here it seems ~ i used to post links and projects and hey even fotos, but that’s ok. this is my life right now, well the smallest snippet of it, but still a very real one. and it feels good, as always, to write a little something on this here site. happy weekend ~ ~ baby girl is waking up. she is such a sweet armful.