Well, the big news in our household is the arrival of our (now) 5-week-old baby girl. Peewee is the fourth blessing that my husband and I have received as parents, and follows twin 9-year-old girls and a 7-year-old boy. Needless to say, we have been out of the baby business for a while, but it seems as though – according to many acquaintances – life with a newborn baby should be second nature to veterans like us.
There were, indeed, times during pregnancy when I felt like an old pro. While leafing through a catalogue, for example, I was able to diminish the list of “infant essentials” from 55 items to roughly four in about a minute and a half. Changing table? Please. It’s 2:30 a.m., dark and freezing, and I’m supposed to drag the baby to a designated location down the hall to do a diaper switcharoo? I don’t think so. A foldable, washable blanket works just as well, and if the diapers are set up close enough, Mama doesn’t even have to get out of her covers to get the baby comfy-cozy. Cha-ching! That little trick came back to me instantly.
What I’m surprised to have forgotten, however, is exactly how painful and delirious it feels to be genuinely sleep-deprived. The culmination of a month without sleep occurred last week in a conversation with my husband. I had spent my 30th consecutive night feeding a frenzied baby and gazing numbly at the Soap Opera channel. In one show, a character named Caleb found a package on the front steps of his mansion. When he reached for it, however, he was knocked unconscious by a villain who had been hiding in the bushes.
I thought nothing of the show again until my husband came home from work and ironically asked if a package had been delivered to our house. Suddenly, the world started moving in slow motion, as I lost a handle on fantasy vs. reality. I said, “Yes, there was a package! No, wait – I don’t know …Does your head hurt?” The husband just stared blankly, until I finally decided that we had not received a package, I was just thinking of someone named Caleb Cooney.
So I didn’t remember how tired I would feel mothering a newborn, but over the years held onto the fact that – though sleepless – these nights are precious. How could I have forgotten that? As my wise, old granny used to say, “Like sand through the hour glass, so go the Days of Our Lives.” …Well, someone said it, right?