It sets in every night between 3-4:30 AM. Exhaustion. Huck's quiet grunts turn to whines and I close my eyes tightly, hoping that he will re-situate and fall back asleep. He never does. The whines turn to cries and I wake up, my brain slowly connecting to the rest of my body.
Get out of bed. Shuffle into the kitchen. Sleepily fill up a bottle.
I pick him up and his warm body slumps into me. I feed him his bottle and if I'm lucky, we both stay half asleep. I change his diaper halfway through, saving a couple ounces to rock him to sleep with when I'm done. I pray he doesn't have another night of wanting to stay awake for two hours. His eyes stay closed, and I breathe a sigh of relief.
I make a conscious effort to put the phone down after scrolling through Instagram for a while. To stare at his cheeks in the dimly lit room instead. His cheeks somehow always seem chubbier, more kissable in the middle of the night. I kiss him, smell his baby smell on the top of his head. Rock him a few extra minutes and gently place him back into his bassinet. Pray for at least three solid hours of sleep, uninterrupted. We usually don't get it. The process repeats.
Morning always comes too soon, and for some reason on the days that I don't work, both kids are ready to go before the sun comes up. I drag myself out of bed and we go about our routines. Marleigh goes potty, Huck blabbers on while I make breakfast and coffee, we watch a little bit of Netflix to gear up for our days.
I try not to let myself count down to nap time. Try to enjoy the moments. Try not to think about how tired I am. Try to remember to brush my teeth.
Brew more coffee. Sing more songs. Color more pictures. Play more "Dr. Mommy." Finish more puzzles. Spend more quality time. Watch another episode of Pajanimals for good measure.
Nap time comes and my internal battle wages on between either relaxing and attempting to sleep or getting ahead on my freelance work for the day. Work always wins. I sit at my desk, the sounds of white noise machines and the swing cranked up as high as it goes (the only way Huck likes it) in the background. I brew my third cup of coffee for the day. If I'm lucky, they will both sleep long enough for me to enjoy it while it's still hot.
I check off items on my "to do" list. Take a break to tidy up the house, even though I know it will just get messy again as soon as "Hurricane Marleigh" wakes up. I peek into their rooms and watch them sleep for a minute or two. I count my blessings and thank God for giving me these beautiful little humans to call my own.
Hour two of nap time approaches and I am starting to get bored and lonely. I secretly wish they would start to wake up, even though I still have more that I could do while they sleep. I go back to my desk. Waste a couple more minutes on social media. Think about blogging. Usually can't find the words.
Wonder if four cups of coffee before 4 PM is too excessive. It is. I brew more anyway.
I hear the grunts turn to whines and the whines turn to cries from the bedroom. Make another bottle and soak up a few minutes with my boy.
Wait until Marleigh wakes up. She always wakes up hungry, even though she has done nothing but eat all morning. I make her a late lunch and do the dishes while she eats. Huck attacks Sophie's face and fills the house with noise. The feelings of boredom and loneliness from just a few minutes before are now a distant memory.
I soak it all in.
We watch the clock until daddy gets home. He pulls into the driveway and Marleigh goes to "hide." He walks in the door and you would think that God had just entered the building. We try to talk about our days but are usually interrupted by a talkative toddler and a four month old who is nearing his "whitching hour." We try not to lose our tempers. Our tempers sometimes win.
We settle in for a "niiice family night."
More reading. More coloring. More "Dr. Mommy" and "Dr. Daddy." More Pajanimals.
8:30 sneaks up on us. We start the bedtime routine.
We tuck Marleigh into bed, but not before singing our songs, saying our prayers, and tickling her back, tummy, legs, feet, hands, knees, and whatever else she can possibly think of to prolong the process. She won't go to sleep without her daddy calling her a Pajanimal. She giggles every time.
She always gets out of bed at least once because she "has to go potty." She never really does.
We try to hold off as long as possible before feeding Huck and swaddling him for the night. 9:00 is usually his limit. He finishes his bottle, gives us his best grown man burps, and we tuck him in with his binky. Turn his "Sleep sheep" on the ocean setting. Crawl into bed as quietly as possible so as not to wake him. Pray for a decent nights sleep.
These monotonous days are making up my fondest memories. Good and bad, quiet and chaotic, fun and frustrating... and I wouldn't trade them for the world.