Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Burned Out

I keep getting into these ruts where I'm supremely tired--so tired I feel that I'll never be not-tired again--and I never really get over it; I just suck it up and absorb it for awhile, until it starts overwhelming me again, typically in the middle of the afternoon when I am faced with (yet another!) day of short naps (the babes) and caffeine over-reliance (me). And the light at the end of the tunnel is difficult to see because until Genevieve deigns to drink whole milk--cow's milk, that is--I am doomed to nurse her several times a day, including upon wake-up (oh, so early is the wake-up! six a.m., five a.m., the dark depths of pre-dawn!). Which means that the idea of a long night of sleep--ever!--that extends, uninterrupted, beyond 5:30 a.m. or so seems like science fiction. I have a wonderful husband who, if time and scheduling permit, sometimes allows me to return to bed after this wake-up nursing to snatch some extra sleep, but truth be told, it's usually not very restful. Either there's too much to do and the day has already begun to run away with itself (and me), or the baby's shrieks permeate the bedroom door, keeping me awake, or Julia wakes up at the same time and then it just doesn't seem right to leave one adult up with two wee ones while the other slacker adult goes back to sleep. Even if the slacker adult totally deserves it.

Sometimes I dream of talking the grandparents into coming and taking care of the girls some weekend--even just one night!--and Christopher and I would go out for dinner and stay away overnight at the fancy river inn downtown, and come home rested the next day, giddy with the joy that (so I've heard) comes with a few child-free hours. Can you imagine? A night away from the babies? Something we've never, ever done? In over three years? But then I remember that I have to nurse the baby to bed at six p.m., and nurse her first thing upon wake-up the next morning (at the aforementioned ridiculously early hour). And so I have to rub my eyes and square my shoulders and think, "OK, brew some coffee, get on with it."

It's strange. I love these early baby days, you all know that. I kind of dread no longer being a "new mom" or a "young family" or having "babies" or "toddlers" or "preschoolers" in the house. Because there's just something special about this time, all of it, no matter what other, unknown joys lie in wait for the years to come. But at the same time, it's sort of torturous too: how there's never enough time to care for all of them, and yourself. How there's never enough sleep, enough relaxation, enough replenishing and recharging. How that treadmill of get up, get going, nurse the baby, drink the coffee, stay awake, keep going, muster the energy never ends, it just gets adapted to, successfully and less so, depending on the week.

The one good thing about feeling this way is that perhaps it makes it easier to resist the temptation of having just one more baby. Because the exhaustion? Wouldn't it just about kill you? Mother Nature might be smart that way: surely I'm partially this tired because I'm still nursing a baby four times a day, which is probably a signal to nature that another baby, a new one, would not be the best idea right now. So, to make sure I don't do anything stupid, I guess, Mother Nature just makes me really, really tired and burned out. Awesome!

THANKFULLY, my dear husband is taking three days off from work soon, which means he'll be home for a five-day weekend for the first time in almost a year. Also, my parents are coming for a few of those days, for the first time in over two months. Hopefully I can pawn off as much baby care on all those other adults as possible. Because Mama needs a break, a nap, and a full night's sleep. NOT another pot of coffee.

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