night detective

volcano

It feels as if every night our household is given a measured sand sack  of sleep, and one never knows how it’s been divvied up until the sun rises. Lux is murmuring to herself late into the night, then sleeping late into the morning, complaining if someone wakes her up before 9am. Joan is a wreck at 7pm, weeping with fatigue as we tuck her in, and waking like a clock at 5am. She gets out of bed, walks into our room, creeps up close up to our bed and whispers “cereal” in the direction of my pillow.  

Occasionally Joan wakes at 2am or 4am and takes up the blanket that I tucked her in with, after she was asleep, that is NOT her usual blanket. She walks into our room and throws it at me and walks back to her bed. 

It’s just a suspicion but I think I’m getting the lightest dwindle of sand, just a sweep over my eyelids every evening. It fascinates me that I wake up to Joan’s vindictive blanket walk no matter what time of night. The soft swish of her diaper and the pad of her feet on the carpet in our room. I appreciate that motherhood has cracked the vise grip sleep-adoration once had on me. It doesn’t hold the same promises it once did, a cure-all soother that could go on forever. But just how lightly am I sleeping that I can wake up to those soft footfalls, I wonder to myself. Does lightly even mean poorly to me anymore? 

I used to aspire to family dinner, like people putting food in their mouths at the same time at the same table, and I think I used to aspire to family sleep. Or couple’s sleep. It was on my fairy tale list of demands that Joe at least pretend to fall asleep with me. But now he basically tucks me in and gets back to his life of productivity, and I’m used to it. I wake up with Joan and it takes him hours to join us. Lux wanders out even later. 

Recently, I’ve been forced to disregard all personal thoughts that occur after 8pm. I’m so tired. Did I do anything right today, I wonder to myself. Was anything easy? Did the girls have a good day?

Naturally these thoughts are occurring at a time of day when all is murky, I’m not even sure if I remember what we did that day anymore, much less can offer an analysis of it. I am a once-nimble detective examining my evidence with bleary eyes, rifling through my nonsense notes to self, scribbling down clues to malfeasance. No, I finally conclude with a sigh, better simply to fall asleep and examine the postmortem where I find it in the morning. 

Naturally in the morning all evidence of misbehavior has disappeared from the scene. “Cereal” and a vague plan of action that sounds fun for our day is forming in my mind. Both girls are grinning at me with an odd infusion of cheer. The fridge does appear relatively full after all, and it looks a bit like the sun might be coming out. 

Finish every day and be done with it. 

You have done what you could.

Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in;

forget them as soon as you can.

Tomorrow is a new day: you shall begin it serenely

and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.

-Emerson

Photo: I made a volcano because Lux digs them these days, using Oh Happy Day’s printable photoreal mountain box.

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9 Comments on "night detective"

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Jess
Jess
2 years 5 months ago

This is the best post. What a great way to explain that nighttime feeling! And that poem…it’s going on a wall somewhere.

Becklist
Becklist
2 years 5 months ago

What a great poem. I so needed that.

Ashleigh Coleman
Ashleigh Coleman
2 years 5 months ago

Le sigh. Can I ever relate to this, especially the thoughts that occur at murky times of day. Thank you. Thank you for sharing; this season is not easy but it is nice to remember that I am not alone and that there are many joys to be found despite the lack of sleep. How do people do it with more children is what I ask myself often.

Kara Overton
Kara Overton
2 years 5 months ago

I’m new to your blog (by way of Camp Patton) and I must tell you I’m completely enamored with your writing. It reads like simple, honest poetry – a rare reprieve in the blogging world. Thanks for sharing.

Susie Wales
Susie Wales
2 years 4 months ago

This first paragraph is gold.

Mimi
Mimi
2 years 4 months ago

Completely relate :)

Audra
Audra
2 years 4 months ago

Vivi cried around 1am because her paci that was next to her face was not directly in her mouth, around 2am Poppy is in a panic crying something about flowers?!? I’m still not sure, around 3 Sebastian tries to sneak in our bed, I kick him out, around 5 I nurse Marshall, all kids up by 630 and Chris out the door by 7. I have no idea what I did today. Seriously no Idea. Love your writing dear friend. The struggle is real. Really real. Audra

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