My daughter has taken to waking up at 5 AM. 5 is a great hour for people that like to seize the day. I am more of an anti-seizure gal. I prefer to greet the day once it has had time to brush its teeth, have its coffee, and check its email.
To avoid witnessing too many pre-dawn hours I bring my little girl into my bed where she alternatively falls back to sleep or tries to stick her fingers far enough up my nose that they stimulate the ‘get out of bed’ lobe of my brain.
The mornings when she falls back to sleep are glorious. For a few blissful minutes we are snuggled up close and I am completely in love with both her and the promise of more sleep. Then it strikes me that I really have to go to the bathroom. Getting up to go is not an option as that will wake the child, necessitating me to get up and meet the day while it still has morning breath.
Staying in bed has now lost some of its magic, but I persist undaunted. I slide toward the wall to accommodate this 20-some-pound toddler who has suddenly managed to take up 90% of the bed. (Physicists have yet to understand the phenomenon of the expanding toddler, but once this technology is successfully harnessed it will revolutionize the way we save seats for our friends in movie theatres and at first grade Thanksgiving pageants.) I am now clinging to the edge of the mattress for dear life, trying not to wet the bed. But I am tenacious in my quest to remain horizontal.
The unpleasantness is exacerbated when a small foot starts pressing hard into my stomach. Conclusive studies have shown that children’s feet are magnetically attracted to the solar plexus of the adult next to whom they are sleeping. They may be positioned right side up, upside down, or most likely perpendicular to you, but without fail their feet will find a way into your gut.
I plan on inventing the ‘gut shoe for kids’, as stomach is clearly the most comfortable footwear for children. They could come in flabby or ripped. Preorder yours today!
All in all, getting up in the 5 o’clock hour is not something I should complain about. I recently spent time with new first time parents and I was reminded of that dark land of utter sleeplessness where there is not even a faint hope of a siesta in the near future.
New parents are like addicts - all they can talk about is sleep, how much they need it, the lengths they will go to get it, when they might score next. So I am grateful for my six or so hours a night. I thought that in this scenario I would be the recovered addict, but since I have access to routine, regular sleep, I think that makes me the drug lord. This metaphor clearly needs work.
As I teeter on the periphery of my bed, longing for a bathroom, small foot embedded in my colon, I find that I am loving my daughter just a smidgen less than when we started this whole ordeal. But by now the day has washed its face and deleted the spam from its inbox; it’s nearing 6 AM, the tiny toes on the foot that impales me are pretty darn cute, and being vertical seems like something I just might be able to handle. Bring it on, day.