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Mama Mornings

February 26, 2013

Inspired (poked?) by May in the Bay, who was inspired by Jenni Eaton and Woodbird, who were inspired by the babies of winter, the babies who sleep-crawl into their own patterns, the babies who adorably push away our adult-preferred night-vs-day cycle like so many spoons of avocado-cucumber-cumin purée, I share here my own mama mornings, prepared two ways.

Note, I share in the evening.

And I started this post two weeks ago.

Mama Morning #1: Yes This Really Does Happen And Quite Often At That
6:00 I rouse slowly from a strange and wonderful dream in which I am winning an award for Best Sentence, Five Commas or More. I have been sleeping since 11pm. I reach for the monitor and see my beautiful baby boy is still asleep. Having rolled to his tummy at some point during the night, with head to the right and tush elevated, he looks like a toddler to me. I think, I have a baby. I have thought this, with surprise, many mornings since he was born.

6:05 I feel awake. Maybe I’ll write. I slip out of bed and open our bedroom door. The tiny hallway, the core to our three-room apartment, is chilly. I retrieve my slippers, then open the door to the all-purpose living room. The cats greet me, hungry for breakfast. I feed them. I sit on the couch with my laptop. I write.

6:55 I rouse J—”It’s time for us all to begin our day”— and head to the kitchen to prepare coffees, bottle, fruit, kitty food.

7:00 Through the monitor I hear J’s voice: “Hello! Good morning little one! How are you? How did you sleep? Did you dream?”

7:15 We gather in the kitchen area. J feeds S while The Today Show plays in the background. I tap around the kitchen, emptying the dishwasher, cleaning out the kitty bowls, considering what veggie to make for S’s dinner later. We talk about the day to come, plans, medical appointments.

8:00 (because it takes that long for S to eat his breakfast) J takes a shower and I change S into an extra-soft hand-me-down outfit. We hit the activity mat for his daily physical therapy exercises. We sing, stretch, roll. He burps.

9:00 S is as routine-oriented as his mama; he yawns at almost the same time every morning. I feed him some cereal or more fruit, and he nearly sleeps sitting up. J readies for work, plants a kiss through the hole at the top of S’s orthotic helmet, and leaves. I carry my sleepy baby to his crib, start the mobile, the sound machine, and the giraffe that brings Victoria Falls to his bed. He smiles and giggles at his mobile, turns to his right, and falls asleep for the first of three naps of the day. I write.

Mama Morning #2: This Happens Quite A Lot As Well
3:55 I rouse slowly from a strange and initially wonderful dream in which I am winning an award for Best Sentence, Five Commas or More, but someone in the audience is wailing. I am clearly undeserving of this award and will have to give it back. The wailing persists as I wake. The cats. Which cat? Tiko? It has to be Tiko. Then I think, I have a baby! Is it the baby? I reach for the monitor and realize I have left it out in the living room. So is it him? Or the cats? It’s the cats, right? They hate being banished to the living room each night, but they were interrupting the precious little sleep we were getting when S first came home. Yes, it’s the cats, banging on the door that leads from our all-purpose living area to our tiny hallway and the only other two rooms in our apartment, S’s and ours. Poor Tiko is so out of sorts he’s licked a portion of his belly raw. Was I supposed to call the vet back about something? Sala’s heart murmur? I can’t remember. Wait. That is not the sound of a cat. That is, in fact, the sound of a baby. My baby. I have a baby!

4:00 Crib-side, I assess the problem. Poopy diaper? Teething pain? Stuck on his belly? He’s fine now, not wailing, snoozing away. Was it Tiko after all? I am going crazy.

4:05 Back in bed, I glance at J’s side, about to tell him it’s his turn next, when I remember his side is empty. He’s in Pennsylvania covering a story. He’s been gone for a couple weeks now.

4:05:01 I curse a little bit.

4:10 Blast. I would like the monitor, but the cats! If I creep out into the living room, they will want breakfast, then they will do what they always do after breakfast, which is play, loudly and enthusiastically. I decide to leave it.

4:15 I should get the monitor. I am, clearly, a terrible mother.

4:17 No. Too tired. Too cold. The cats.

4:20 I know what woke S. I heard it in his breathing, the congestion, getting worse as his cold settles in. I need the snot sucker, in case he wakes again. I ran the tube through the dishwasher last night, so I slip out of bed and into the hallway, pausing to laugh at the poor cats, their pink pads pressed to the glass panes of the hallway door, a feline The Graduate. It’s your lucky morning, I tell them. I head to the kitchen where I realize I forgot to restock the cats’ food. Anything we have is in the nursery bathroom, since that’s the only place we have for storage. I don’t want to creep in there for fear of waking S when he’s sleeping through this cold. The cats will have to wait. I smell, then see, that one of them pooped half in and half out of the litterbox we leave by the front door overnight. I stoop to clean it up and start to cough, as I do each morning when I clean out the litterbox, normally J’s job when he’s not in Pennsylvania. I curse a little bit more.

4:30 The litterbox is clean, I’ve inhaled my asthma medicine, I’m fully awake and ready for coffee.

4:31 There is no coffee. New beans are, in fact, in the nursery bathroom, along with kitty food. I open the dishwasher to retrieve the snot sucker tube. It’s not on the top rack where I’m sure I placed it last night. It’s not on the bottom either, not with the silverware, not stuck by a mug. I run a search of the entire main room. Behind the TV. Under the desk. Between the couch cushions. I return to the dishwasher for another look. And there it is, on the floor of the dishwasher, half of it still a tube, the other half melted over the heating element.

4:32 I return to bed.

4:35 Did I finish my grading?
4:36 Did I change the pediatrician’s appointment?
4:37 Do we have to select an occupational therapist or will one be assigned to us?
4:38 How do you treat a cat heart murmur?
4:39 What exactly is occupational therapy?
4:40 What is Beasts of the Southern Wild about?
4:41 Should I have kept the kitty poop for the vet? Is that what I’m forgetting? A sample?

4:42 I reach for my phone so I can Google occupational therapy, heart murmur and cats, Beasts of the Southern Wild. But my phone is not on the bedside table. It’s not on the bookshelves we’ve got turned and stuffed behind our bed as a headboard. It’s not on a dresser or on the bathroom sink. It’s in the main room. With the cats. I should just go out there and start my day. Write. No, empty the dishwasher. No, I don’t want to deal with the melted plastic mess. Just write. No, I have that grading. No, this is my time to write. If I don’t write now, I won’t be able to write for the rest of the day, the week, possibly a couple weeks, until J returns. I have to claim this time, even though I’m no longer fully awake. Can I write without coffee? I don’t think so, I really don’t. Maybe.

5:30 I rouse slowly. I have been sleeping since 4:43am.

From → Life

  1. Love this, Suzanne.


  2. Boy, did you capture that succinctly, Suzanne. I don’t know how Mums do it. Since it is your preoccupation these days, at least you are writing about it in your usual, spot-on way. May the sleep be with you!


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