Sunday, January 22, 2006
It's Christmas day. The Amby bed, and our salvation, will not arrive until Thursday December 29th. I know this because I have been tracking its progress via UPS in a rather obsessed fashion. They haven't moved the trucks in two days. I holler at the computer screen that they could at least pretend that the box has done something in 48 hours rather than sit. Our chance at a sleeping for at least 3 hours straight is biding time in a box somewhere in Wisconsin.
I drag, because dragging is the only way to move when you have slept for 2 hours in the last 24, down to the "baby pit". This is a sunken living room that also doubles as Aidan's play area, and now my bedroom. Mark quietly informs me that nothing moves around Christmas time. This includes not only our Amby bed, but us. We've spent the last hour staring at the unopened gifts discussing whether or not we should wake Aidan. Mark appears to have slept in his jeans and I'm wearing old maternity clothes that double for pj's. We look and feel like reheated meatloaf. We speak in hushed tones because Abby is swaddled to her chin in the electronic cradle at our feet.
Stephan, our 10 yr old, has been awake since 4am. I know this because I was awake with Abby and urging him to go BACK to sleep without using curse words. I failed and he asked if Santa was going to pass me over. I let Mark sleep until around 6am before I, with a tiniest bit of sadistic enjoyment, pulled him out from under his covers. They were used to be our covers until we moved a twin bed down into the pit so that Mommy could take night shifts with Abby. This way Mark could get 6 hours straight until I would crawl up the stairs and give him the morning report. He would be informed of how much she ate, how much she slept, whether or not she was swaddled, and what mood he could expect as he went on shift. I would write this all down on a tracking page provided by nestle.com. (Which Mark always ignored swearing he kept all the information in his head. This is why we now run around saying "how much did she just eat?")
But this morning is different. Mark is not sending Stephan to school and then pushing through the morning shift with two babies one 5 weeks and one 15 months, because he's "better at multi-tasking than you hon." It's Christmas. Abby grunts and stretches her neck in the cradle. Stephan asks if this means we can open gifts. We again tell him "no" and he looks ready to implode. He begins to bargain with Mark about "just one gift" while I pull Abby from the cradle. I absently remember that my father, sister, and her boyfriend are due to arrive in a few hours. I watch the ongoing battle of wills between Stephan and Mark while wondering how much coffee I'm going to need to maintain any measure of conversation. Oh screw conversation! They'd be lucky if anything I mutter is intelligible.
FINALLY, as Stephan tells us, Mark goes to wake Aidan at 7am. This trek upstairs is a momentous occasion, because it is the ONLY time that we would wake any sleeping child on purpose. (Unless it is for school. School mornings are revenge for the sleep dep each child has caused us in the past.) I look down at the little angel in my arms. After the last 12 sleepless nights, I know that when she starts middle school I will thoroughly enjoy flinging her door open with a loud and cheery "GOOD MORNING PRINCESS!"
While Mark is helping Aidan downstairs, whose dazed look says "you people usually want me to STAY asleep", I suddenly realize that this is why my own mother and father were so damn happy in the morning. It had nothing to do with love of work or being morning people. They were simply paying me back!
As Stephan tears into his gifts, I think my theory makes perfect sense. It falls right in with sharing photos to prospective boyfriends of me during that awkward phase when I was 9. Maybe it's sleep dep turning my brain to the dark side, but I am suddenly comforted by the thought that even if the Amby bed is a bust, I will survive long enough to give my darling a little payback.
I snuggle Abby to my chest and watch Aidan learn how to remove wrapping paper. It's Christmas. Things will all work out. After all, Abby is our little miracle. Mind you that right now she is a miracle akin to getting the #1 in the DMV line only to find out you must move to another line, but she is a miracle. Born 6 weeks early on Thanksgiving Day, 20 days in the neonatal intensive care unit, and home for Christmas. At least that's the way my mood is swinging at the moment. Small miracles. Like the two hours she gave me on Christmas Eve. Like watching the Nutcracker with Aidan on my lap during those hours in the dark of the living room.
Mark sips his hot chocolate, Aidan makes off with one of Stephan's gifts, and chaos ensues. Abby wakes up with all the arguing and I smile. Whether or not I will feel optimism in the next hours, as my urge to slumber twists me from Snow White into her Stepmother, doesn't matter. These few moments are precious. Amby bed or not.