It’s 5.08am. A quick glance at the iPhone tells me this as I’m roused from sleep by a noise outside our bedroom door. From the light in the room it could be midnight, or 3am. It’s pitch black and I feel like I’ve only just gone to sleep. I’m hoping that our house is haunted and the noise is a poltergeist casually breaking some crockery in the kitchen. Or that a team of possums has invaded the roof and are making their home there. To be honest I’m that tired and desperate for sleep I’d even settle for a petty thief rifling through our drawers in search of the car keys. Because deep down I know the horrifying truth.
The toddler is up for the day.
Our bedroom door creaks open like something out of an Alfred Hitchcock movie and he’s silhouetted against the faint moonlight coming from his bedroom window. I pretend to be asleep ridiculously hoping that this will somehow convince him to go back to bed himself (my only excuse for such flight of fancy – I’m desperately sleep deprived and must be delirious – did you read my thoughts on tiredness? ).
Through the half light and half opened eyes I see him advance. As I nervously open one eye the perfectly timed throw of a teddy bear glances off my eyeball as he frees his hands up to get better purchase on the mattress to propel himself up. Without a sound he launches onto my belly like a gymnast mounting the pommel horse and I’m momentarily grateful I was already awake and knew what was coming or I would have launched him out of the window in full defensive mode.
I can’t fault his manners.
I take that back.
It’s not even the crack of dawn. This can’t be happening. The only thing about to crack around here is my sanity. And possibly my soul.
Husband is laying beside me apparently still sleeping – slumbering away in self contented smugness that he chose the side of the bed furthest away from the door. Sly bastard.
The one saving grace is the fact that the baby, who I had last seen at 4.30am and got back to sleep, had not woken up too.
I take that back.
I briefly consider telling hubby that I’m off to the bathroom, grabbing the car keys and checking in to a local hotel for a 3 day sleep bender. But then another whack from teddy, a further demand for MILK and another wail from down the hall drags me back to reality and drags my sorry arse out of bed. I’ve read all the books that say be the parent you want your child to be but I find it emotionally impossible to be cheerful at this time of day. I try and smile. The look on toddler’s face makes me think I’m evoking another Hitchcock movie so I remove the grimace and head for the kettle, tucking little man under my free arm on the way through (who, incidentally, gave me a look of sheer contempt when I opened his door – standing at the end of his cot where he had clearly been for hours – how dare I leave him for this long?)
Neither toddler nor baby want to be put down, yet both demand milk. I turn the kitchen light on and we must resemble a nest of vampires in the dawn light shielding our eyes against the brightness and making high pitched whining noises.
I manage to open the fridge but realise getting bottles and pouring milk is impossible with zero hands. I have also just been informed in no uncertain terms that teddy requires a bottle too. Doing a quick mental calculation of who will make the least noise if put down I decide I have no option but to stand the toddler on the kitchen bench and hold onto the baby – I’m sure I can master this one handed.
There’s now milk on the floor, the kitchen bench and the teddy. As I should have done straight away, both boys are now sitting on the kitchen floor whilst I hurriedly pour milk to the accompanying cacophony. And hubby sleeps on.
Morning me always implores evening me to prepare a couple of bottles of milk in advance so they are nice and ready for emergencies such as this – evening me could even be super considerate and have a fake one sitting there in case teddy was thirsty – but no. The only bottle that evening me is concerned with is the one containing red wine. None of which usually survives until the next morning.
I feel like I’ve run a marathon. The milk is done! What an achievement. I’m sure it must be at least 7am by now. A quick glance at the iPhone reveals its 5.14am, the day stretches out before me like a vast, desert plain and I can see the tumbleweeds of my sanity blowing away in the breeze.
OK that last bit was a bit dramatic but after my third time boiling the kettle in a desperate attempt to make tea I find myself cursing evening me once again for not saving morning me any of that wine.
It’s now 5.45am and I have tea. The sun is beginning to rise over the palm trees out the back and I can see this from my foetal position on the sofa. It’s beautiful, and it’s not the only thing that is. I look over at our gorgeous, perfect boys and realise that I would get up a thousand times at 5am if they needed me. They are the reason I get out of bed every day and they are my world.
And as I look at them happily sitting on their mini Wiggles sofa slurping back milk and watching Fireman Sam, there is a rare moment of peace in the house I am filled with gratitude. Thank you Fireman Sam for my 15 minutes of tranquility!