I’m sure I’m not telling any parent something he or she doesn’t already know, but having a baby is the very best and the very worst that life experience has to offer. Well, maybe not very worst, but really, really bad – particularly for parents who had conducted long, selfish love affairs with themselves until the magic moment of birth. A prime example is my own, sweet-natured Eeyore, who turned 4 months old on Saturday. That 4 months represents not only all the milestones that make a baby so adorable, such as cooing, smiling, babbling, interest in toys and even pictures in books, but it is also the amount of time it has been since I have slept through the night. FOUR MONTHS; also known as about 120 days. Really think about what that means for a minute. Sure, it’s bad when you sleep poorly for a couple of nights; you feel kind of crappy but know you can catch up on the weekend and maybe even spend your entire Saturday lying in bed watching movies and dozing. Now imagine that not only have you slept poorly, but you have in fact been up and out of bed, tending to somebody else’s well-being, for anywhere from an hour to three hours those nights. For a third of a year. With no apparent end in sight. Yes, that’s right; it’s hell.
R. and I are almost at the end of our ropes right now. Eeyore has been sick with a bad cold, so he has regressed from waking up once in a night to perhaps 10 times. Even if that means only one feeding, it still means getting up to replace the pacifier or simply to try to soothe his pitiful little cries. This would be bad enough, but we are both sick with the same cold. Waking up 10 times a night is not the way to get better, and so each of us has watched with dismay as our colds have descended farther and deeper into our chests even as Eeyore recuperates. When I feel this bad, it’s hard to be cheerful or focus on the good parts of being a mother.
Oh, look – I see on the monitor he has just woken up from his 10 minute nap. What fun. I guess I’ll have to save my analysis of the current state of the world for another time.