Lest anyone think that when Olivia wakes me up at 4am and makes near-constant demands for the next two hours that she and her demands are greeted with sunshine and roses and perpetual cheerfulness, let me assure you, that is not the case.
I am not pleasant at 4am, not even when the source of the demands are feverish.
Okay, sure, at first I’m all pleasant and soft and I coo thinks like, “Oh baby, that’s a horrible fever you’ve got. Let’s get you tucked in and get some medicine in you.”
But after the third demand for a warm washcloth (WARM! I said WARM, not cold, not tepid, WARM you stupid woman!) I’m on my last nerve and clinging to the hope of lying down and getting even fifteen more minutes of sleep.
So when she rolls over and tells me her back itches, I scratch but I do so begrudgingly and I tell her, “Okay, Livie, I’m only scratching for a minute because I’m tired and we need to sleep.”
Her next request/demand almost always received this response, “Okay, Liv, that’s enough. Settle down and go to sleep.”
At which point, she burrows beneath the blankets for a few minutes before testing me again.
I do not make middle of the night visits/requests/demands pleasant. I am not that mom who is all gentle and loving at 4am. I don’t know why my grumpiness is not more of a deterrent to her waking up as often as she does.
While at a conference a few weeks ago, I was the ‘worst case scenario’ mom. I was the mom others were sending the parents of infants to, the one everyone was telling them about when they said they couldn’t do sleep training on their seven month old. If they don’t do sleep training now, their kid will still be waking them up when she’s almost seven.
And yet, as unpleasant as I can be at four in the morning, I know that in another ten years, I won’t regret having been there for my kids in the middle of the night. As much as I usually just want O to go back to sleep instead of bed hopping and coming to find me in the middle of the night, someday, I might miss the snuggles in the dark, the bare butt being pressed up against me after she’s shed her pull up and jammies.
But guess what? I don’t miss that right now because I’m still in the middle of it. Still. My youngest child isn’t quite seven yet but she still wakes me up six out of seven nights a week.
I am the worst case scenario.