Moooooooooooooommmmmmmmm! she yells. The day is ready for meeeeee!!!
It is 5:32am.
The day might perhaps be ready for her, but I am not yet ready for the day. I pad over to her room with bleary eyes and shuffling feet, hushing the dogs who have followed me, who are both shaking off their own sleep, who are both making a miniature ruckus – their metal dogtags chiming, clanging down the hallway.
Lady, it’s not 6 yet, I whisper, but by this time I hear Bernie and George pitter-pattering to the kitchen, bumbling around for food, knocking over the water dish, getting an early start on general mayhem.
I’m not tired, she says, and my own tired brain doesn’t offer much logic either, and so, I succumb.
Alright, I say. Go feed the dogs, OK?
And she pops out of bed, a Bee-in-the-box, running to retrieve the dog food, to greet her four-legged siblings, to get an early start on her own general mayhem.
Bee was a great baby, for the most part. She put the infant in infantry for sure, but once we survived the demands of her eight pound dictatorship, once she finished a screaming reign over the fourth (OK, and fifth) trimester, we all sort of settled into a groove. We got some sleep. The plants stopped dying. I stopped accidentally putting the milk in the cupboard, Ken stopped falling asleep in his cereal, I stopped crying tears of exhaustion (mostly).
And we looked at each other, our swelled little heads, once she turned one. Whew! We’ve made it! The hard part is over!
Silly little civilians, mocked the queen Bee.
The hard part is never over, of course. Love, grace, patience. These are the hard parts. These will always be the hard parts.
A few summers ago, we spent a month in Singapore. Ken and I were there to teach a few courses (me on writing/blogging and social media, Ken on filmmaking and photography), and although Bee hadn’t yet turned 2, we thought a good old-fashioned family adventure was in order.
It was good. It was an adventure.
It was not old-fashioned.
We toted around an entire suitcase of sleep “reinforcements”: the baby monitor, three pairs of pajamas, two blankets, three stuffed animals, a sound machine, a back-up sound machine (I knowwwwww), lavender spritz, and four(!) of her favorite bedtime reads.
And yet, before 6am, nearly every day:
Moooooooooooom! The day is weady fow meeeeeee!
All I can say of kids is this: they grow, but they don’t always change.
A year or so ago, Bee learned the delicate art of fake napping. Every afternoon, I’d come in to “wake” her and, instead, find her wearing rain boots and a slew of hats, sometimes telling stories in her mirror, other times climbing the shelves in her closet, still other times with a stack of books behind her dresser. But always the rain boots.
Not yet, Mom, she’d call as I’d knock on the door. I’m still asleep.
A few weeks ago, I packed up the sound machine for the next baby. I wrapped the cord lovingly around the base, wiped it down, stored it in a Rubbermaid on top of our guest room closet.
There it sat, next to old sleep sacks, the baby carrier, newborn hats, tiny moccasins.
But yesterday, Bee asks me where I moved her stereo.
Your stereo? I say.
Yeah, the one with the rain on it.
And back down the sound machine comes.
They grow, but they don’t always change.
There’s this genius (and so well-designed!) little device I love called Suzy Snooze, and it’s a nightlight, sound machine, baby monitor and sleep trainer in one. Through the night, it bathes the room in the happiest little glow, playing soothing, sleep-inducing sounds and music, sending updates to an app on your phone. And in the morning, when it’s time for Bee to wake, it shuts off.
The day is ready for her.
Can I wake up in one hundred and eleventy one more minutes? she asks. I’m still not tired.
It’s another morning of bleary eyes and shuffling feet, of hushing the dogs, of 5:54am.
You can wake up when the light turns off, I whisper, closing the door softly behind me. Sleep tight, OK?
OK, she says, but I know enough to know she’s up for the day, and as I listen through her door, I hear her tiny feet padding over to her closet in search of rain boots.
The day is ready for her, after all.