Enough already. After five years of either pregnancy or breastfeeding, Alison finally threw in the towel. At least she tried to. Miss Camille had other ideas-which she expressed by shrieking relentlessly in the middle of the night until Mom caved-just before Camille woke up the rest of the county. We can all take a page from the negotiating book of a two year-old-loudly and unashamedly demand what you want without reprieve until you get it. Almost always works.
Plan A-gradual weaning, failed miserably, as did plan B-reasoning, plan C-bribery, and a few more already forgotten. On to plan D-cold turkey. Mom disappears after dark, spends the evenings at Grandma’s. Dad takes care of the kids until dawn-for two straight weeks. Here we go.
It’s day five and I’m beat. Last night looked something like this.
9:30 PM-ish-Dad steals a solitary moment of peace in the living room, with a good book and a respectable glass of chardonnay. Dad makes it through six pages, still exhausted from day four’s nocturnal campaign, crashes before 10.
12:42 AM-Camille cries out. Dad leaps up and goes to comfort her. “Where’s Mama?” she asks. “She’s working,” I answer. Okay, so I lied-guilty as charged. I couldn’t think of anything better on short notice. “I want my Baba,” she demands. “I’ll make it for you,” I obey. “I want to come with you.” She climbs into my arms and off we march.
3:10 AM-I sense a stirring next to me. Linus arrives, clutching his action figures. “Is Power Rangers on Dad?”
“Not yet, son. It’s too early. Climb on in and close your eyes. I promise that I’ll wake you up.”
Uh-oh, the commotion aroused the little one. “I want some more Baba, Dada,” Camille pleads. “Sure, baby.” Back to the kitchen for round two. I stagger in a sleep-deprived haze.
No matter what anyone says, real work pales in comparison to child rearing. I’ll take ten hours at the office over two hours alone with Thing One and Thing Two, master destroyers of the universe-or at least most of our house.
5:27 AM-Camille props herself up on the pillows. An outside tint of yellow reminds me that a sun still burns out there, somewhere below the horizon. “I want some breakfast,” she starts. I throw off the covers. She’s up.
Camille sits on the counter while I butter her toast and wait for the coffee to kick in. I reflect back to a few hours ago, the overwhelming awe and wonder I felt as I lay on my back, my baby daughter nestled into my left shoulder, my boy snuggled into my right. No words could ever express the profundity of feelings that washed over me and brought a small flood of joyous tears.
Sleep or no sleep, I wouldn’t trade my spot for anywhere in the world.
“Sweet dreams, Mom,” I thought to myself.
That’s A View From The Ridge…