Last night, Gabe and I stayed up late to watch a movie and although I was exhausted from the day I'd had with Liam, I was unable to really settle in to sleep until almost 1 a.m. (Thank goodness That '70s Show is on The N in the middle of the night.)
Just before 2 a.m. Liam began stirring again. Instead of just talking in his sleep (telling me about whales like the previous night) he was fussy and fitful. Woke up with a scared scream- bad dreams again. Into our bed he comes, where he played with my hands FOR HOURS and eventually asked to eat. I snuggled him into the crook of my arm and he drank a cup of milk in the dark. I thought he was asleep again so I tried too, but despite my aching tiredness I couldn't sleep. Then he started moving again, murmuring, playing with my hand. Sticking his elbow up under my shoulder blade and into my ribs. FOR AN ETERNITY. At 4:30 a.m. I decided to move to the couch but once my body left the bed he screamed for me again. Back into bed. He's sleeping now. Back to the couch. Eyes heavy. Maybe a couple hours of sleep before Gabe gets up for work, then...
"Maaamaaaaa," he cries in his sleep, heartbroken, reaching for me in the dark. I pull him onto the couch with me, where he settles onto my chest like a newborn, listening to my heartbeat. The calm should soothe me back to sleep too but I'm losing control of my ability to function, and I start crying. Less than an hour of sleep? my body asks. No way, lady, my mind taunts, and I start to hyperventilate.
I haven't hyperventilated since the 8th grade.
Gabe calmed me and I layed there with Liam still on my chest. Feeling like a bad mom for having a meltdown while I am holding my sleepy child. I ask for some water. In the dark, I look down and see the faint light from the kitchen reflecting off of Liam's tired eyes. I run my hand over his golden hair and kiss his little lamb locks.
"I'm sorry you're not sleeping well," I whisper to him. "I'm not either. I know how you feel."
He shifts a little, resting his hand on my wrist as I keep smoothing his hair.
"I love you, Liam. I love you and I'm sorry. I didn't mean to scare you."
"Did you dream of whales again?" I ask.
"No," he replies, and I'm glad he's listening.
"Did you dream of doggies? Of duckies? Of climbing mountains?"
Everyone who had children before me was always saying to me, Take in every moment. They grow up too fast.
Which is totally right, and I know that, but this 22-months-old thing isn't going so well so far. This phase is bringing broken sleep and OH MY GOUDA THE NAUGHTINESS. Our 22-month mark is making a cranky toddler and a hyperventilating mommy. I don't want time to fast-forward, I just want the kind of partnership between my son and I that leaves me feeling content and adequate. He seems to have forgotten about my little breathing episode and we had an easy day but I want him to only feel strength and comfort from me. Not panic and anxiety.
Those who've had babies before me say, You have no idea how bad it'll get, and I find no comfort at all in this normalcy.
Liam slept into the afternoon; a nice, long, misplaced nap. When Gabe got home from work we hopped into the car with him and swung by the grocery store. Liam sat in the little plastic car at the front of the shopping cart and steered around the aisles. While we were checking out, he started using his feet to steer and he stuck his little face through the window and shrieked, as if to say to me, "HOW AWESOME IS THIS???"
It is. It is awesome.