A little over a month ago I started taking care of 4 month-old Alexandra four days a week. Since then I’ve been getting up at 6:15 because she gets here around 6:45 and goes right back to sleep. This gives me roughly an hour and a half to two hours of silence as the sun rises and I read and/or write for virtually the only me-time I get until 8pm.
I can’t even describe how amazing I feel, energized from an entire cup of coffee that hasn’t had to be reheated 8 times and a bowl of Cheerios that is not a soggy mass by the time I finish it, when those little rascals bounce out of bed. They are usually immediately looking for fire trucks and dogs out the window or yelling in excitement for a story to be read to them or something equally startling to un-caffeinated and un-showered adults.
The boys go down for their afternoon nap right about when Alex wakes up after her first nap and is ready to eat. While the boys nap Alex is awake most of the time. She’s a baby and doesn’t run and yell and climb yet, but this time is when I feed her and give her tummy time and play with her and rotate her positions including on my lap which is where she was when I started writing this post. Without the boys around to entertain her she doesn’t have a very long attention span in any one spot so I’m lucky if I get much of a lunch before her mom comes at 3pm.
Obviously I knew what I was getting into when I agreed to take on this job and I can’t complain. She’s an amazingly easy baby and it’s so fun to see her grow and see the boys interact with her. (She just now drifted off to sleep holding a cloth Elmo book beside me on her lounger.) Today, however, has reinforced for me the importance of my morning silence.
I noticed a small sound in the boys’ room when I woke up this morning, and cringed but figured whichever boy it was would be back to sleep soon. I showered. I said goodbye to Brian. I still heard some slight bedroom-sounds. Cringed again. Alex came and went back to sleep like the angel that she is. Meanwhile the cribs started to bounce. My morning time was ruined. A frenzy followed. I went in to find that Clark had pulled pants out of the drawer by his crib and flung them about the room. He then told me that he wanted to be in Cal’s crib now. Calvin started counting and talking about lights and cookies—his two favorite subjects—and about the friends that were coming over later. There was a brief skirmish over two green blocks and I pretended not to notice that they were flung across the room as I got clothes and diapers out.
I felt unbalanced and vulnerable as I made breakfast and lunch and am only feeling more normal now as I’m rationing out pretzels to the rejuvenated troops. I’m thinking I’ll get up earlier tomorrow, for my silence is even more valuable than I realized.