I get a lot of "I don't know how you do it"s from a lot of people, even my family. In all honestly, I'm not really sure either, most of it's a little blurry. Since Rob's been home from his year in Iraq (which was actually more like two years with all the pre-deployment training) I've become something of a wuss apparently. Last night was hard but thinking back it's not as bad as some of those nights he was gone and the light of his arrival home hadn't yet come into view. While he was gone it was just me...and four, then five, kids. I don't know how I did it. This weekend it was just the one night and I didn't even have a newborn yet I whined silently to myself while I did what needed to be done. I guess I've gotten soft since he's been back.
Last night I decided to try and keep a tab on the clock and report to all of you just what a typical night being a mom of five kids all under age eight, starting homesteading, homeschooling and being alone is like.
6:30pm Max went to bed, his usual time is 7 with the other kids but he was cranky and didn't nap well earlier, read to Emmy in her bed till the kids bedtime
7:10pm Kids movie is over, herding them to bed
7:34pm they're in bed, take the puppy out, put the rabbit to sleep (not like that)
8:00pm finish up the dishes, get ready for bed, grab my book and read on the couch
8:48pm stop falling asleep on the couch, take the dog out one last time, brush teeth
9:04pm I get in bed and try and fall asleep
9:26pm Max wakes up, if I had the foresight to make a bottle beforehand, which I did, give him a bottle and start praying he takes it and goes back to sleep
9:39pm Max starts crying again. Go in and rock him, pat him whatever it takes to get him back to sleep...while standing up
10:01pm Get back in bed
12:54am Max wakes up screaming. Make another bottle, stand and rock him more, realize after fifteen minutes of that, he's not going back to sleep. I stuck Alex in my room hoping to let Max play with me in the boys room but his screaming woke up the dog. So we went downstairs, let the puppy out and put on Ace of Cakes.
2:03am Try and get Max back in bed. Put the puppy away, try and go back to sleep myself.
2:22am Max starts crying again. He's teething and I think going through a spurt, plus he's got a clear runny nose.
2:40am Try and get him back in bed after stand rocking him that entire time.
2:44am It didn't work. Back to rocking, patting, cajolling the kid to sleep. All while standing up.*
3:31am I get back to sleep
6:16am Emmy wakes me, and subsequently half the house (including the puppy), up.
I counted it out and it seems that I got about six hours of sleep somewhere in there. Not bad really. If it was all together. This was actually not one of the worst nights I've had. At least this one didn't have vomiting, pee accidents, diaper leaks, nightmares or night terrors. All of which we've done, a lot. None of the kids were ill, I wasn't sick. Only one kid got up and it didn't domino effect into the house being awake. At two a.m.
Overall, not a bad night. I just keep telling myself there will be a time when I won't have any tiny feets or screaming voices jerking me awake in the middle of the night, when my body wont act on autopilot, when I will drink coffee because I like it, not because it's a necessity and I will be able to wake on the weekends slowly, at my body's own pace. I tell myself that time will come and I'll miss these nights. Cuddling soft babies in the darkness, soothing wee ones that can't do it themselves, humming songs and late night playdates.
I tell myself I'll miss it.
I just wish, when I'm standing bleary eyed in blackness, my back aching from holding a twenty two pound sleepy, screaming lump, as I pray to any God anywhere to just please, please please, please, please, let me go back to sleep just for a little while, that I believed it.
*Every single night, every time I get up with Max I look around his darkened room and wonder where the heck I could fit a rocking chair. And I conclude, there is no room. But every single time, I do it anyway.