Every morning, my husband and I engage in the most unromantic of pillow talk conversations: who’s getting up with the baby. I have a history of bad luck when it comes to winning contests. This is the one exception. Nearly every morning, my name is pulled out of the metaphorical hat. I have the good fortune of spending a few extra early morning hours with my son.
In the last 476 days, I have slept in past my son’s 5AM wakeup call a grand total of 22 days. It’s a well known fact about being a new mother – sleep becomes a very valuable commodity. But, this is not a rant about how dreaded the feeling of sleeplessness can be, nor is it a long-winded post about the traumatic effects of a baby’s erratic sleep schedule on his parents.
Not at all. It is about the joy of sleeplessness.
I mean it. No sarcasm, I swear.
I’m not going to lie; it isn’t easy dragging my lifeless limbs out of bed each morning. My back and arms are usually aching from carrying my toddler during the day. Even after 15 months, the 7 hours I do sleep are rarely continuous, and frequently interrupted with bottle warming, feeding, singing, rocking, and holding. I manage to pry my eyes open and catch a glimpse of my animated alarm clock.
Every morning, a little boy breathes life into this empty corpse.
I am greeted with a wide-eyed grin that stretches from tiny ear to tiny ear. As of late, his high-pitched “Hi!” is accompanied by “mommymommymommy.” I can’t help but laugh out loud and give my little monkey a morning kiss. I can feel my cheeks flush and my eyes shine.
Sometimes, I bring him into our bed and we snuggle for a few minutes. I am reminded of just how small he really is when he is sandwiched between two grownups. The few minutes of laziness are brought to an abrupt end when he loudly proclaims it’s time to play, at which point we have no choice but leave our warm covers behind. He wanders around the living room a little disoriented at first, looking around as if he’s seeing his toys for the very first time.
I make my way to the kitchen to warm a bottle for him, and put a pot of coffee on for myself. I peek over the kitchen window and watch him mimic my actions by shuffling things around in his own Sesame Street kitchen.
“What would you like for breakfast?” I ask.
He almost always screams “eggie” in response. He pulls the plastic egg out of his mini oven and proudly shows me.
And, so, it’s become a bit of a morning ritual. We make breakfast together, and when we’re done I plant myself on the living room floor. Regardless of what he’s doing, he’ll come running over to sit on my lap. It makes no difference to him what is in the plate; he runs with same excitement and fervor.
In the silence of the morning, before the sun has risen, before the birds begin singing, and before we can hear the city streets hum through our window, my little boy and I sit and eat breakfast together.
It is the best part of my day.