A Barenaked Ladies song that constantly gets stuck in my head makes me laugh. It is entitled "Who Needs Sleep?" and is so fitting for mothers everywhere!
Who needs sleep?
Well you're never gonna get it
Who needs sleep?
Tell me what's that for
Who needs sleep?
Be happy with what you're getting
There's a guy who's been awake
Since the Second World War
That is essentially how I have been feeling the past few nights.
And then all the action happens in the night.
In order for Jeffrey to have clean clothes for work today, last night I had to stay up late to put two loads of laundry through. I didn't want to stay up that late, because I knew I wouldn't get to bed until around 11:30, and I typically go to bed around 9:00, but it was my own fault since I haven't done laundry for about two weeks.
I began the laundry, and put on an inane comedy to keep myself awake so that I could actually switch out the laundry when the time came.
All was running smoothly. I was laughing enough to keep myself awake, and the clothes were getting clean. When they finished, I happily went to bed.
I climbed in bed and my head was so happy to finally hit the welcoming cradle of my pillow.
And then Beth began to fuss. I picked her up and decided to feed her one last time before I went to sleep for the night. As I was feeding her, I heard a creak from the kids room, and pattering feet.
Faye was up.
"Mom, I have to go potty." She announced. She always announces her potty breaks for me and waits until I give her the go ahead.
She went to the bathroom, and on her way out, I called back to her to flush the potty and wash her hands. It is a struggle to get her to remember, and then to get her to do it.
When I gave the reminder, Faye crumpled to the floor, like a marionette whose strings had just been cut, and began to scream. She has a soar throat and is very vocal about things she doesn't want to do. The screaming was very pitiful. Evidently, the thought of going back into the bathroom and preforming those two extra chores at that time was incomprehensible and her world came to a shuddering halt.
She did NOT want to wash her hands or flush the potty. She just wanted to go to bed.
"This is the WORST night ever!" she screamed at me from her little huddled heap on the floor. "I just want my bed." she wailed wretchedly.
I had a very hard time not laughing, I tell you what! I tried reasoning with her. I told her it would be really fast. It would hardly take any time at all, but apparently, that was not satisfactory. The whole time I fed the baby, she screamed and ranted about not wanting to wash her hands. I admit, I thought about letting her just go to bed with dirty hands. But with Beth getting conjunctivitis so often, we have been hyper sensitive with hand washing as of late. I am tired of gooey eyes. Besides, it is a good habit to have and not washing hands after using the bathroom is just gross.
When I finished with Beth, I hurriedly put her in her bed, and got up to help Faye. We went into the bathroom together, the whole time with her screaming and stomping her foot, and then crying even more because she hurt her foot, but she didn't hurt it from stomping, it was just hurting and she didn't know why.
We stood in front of the toilet and waited for her to flush. I tried helping her, guiding her hand, but she didn't want me to touch her. I tried flushing with her, and she didn't want any help. Her arms went rigid and her hands curled into tiny fists of defiance. Finally, her hair stringy from the tears falling into it, her face flushed with anger and frustration, she yelled "FINE!" and gave in to flushing the potty.
Next step, washing her hands.
I turned on the water for her, put the stool in front of the sink and waited for her. I couldn't hear what she said exactly due to her scratchy sore throat and her contemptuously annoyed voice. She either didn't want cold water on her hands, or she didn't want hot water on her hands. I tried to make it the perfect warm temperature, but evidently I didn't succeed. It was too cold for her. I fixed it, and guided her hands into the water, pumped the soap onto them, and helped her wash them.
She became a limp noodle, making me move her arms to do everything for her whilst holding her up with my knee lest she crumple into the dropped marionette position again.
"My hands are wet now. I can't go to bed with wet hands!" she sobbed. I maneuvered her body over to the towels and tried to dry her hands, but she tightened them into fists again and put them under her arm-pits so I couldn't get to them. I did the best I could and finally just picked her up and carried her to her bed, the whole time with her weeping into my hair.
When we got to her room, Faye didn't want to climb the ladder into her bed. I was tired. It was late. I bargained with her and told her I would join her and cuddle with her for a little bit if she could get into her bed before I could sing the ABC's really fast.
She was up the ladder before I had finished the sentence.
As we lay in her bed, snuggled beneath her blankets and cuddling close, we listened to Keith.
He was having a bad dream, apparently. We could hear him moaning, and tossing and turning. My heart ached to be with him, stroking the hair out of his eyes, and cuddling him into stillness again. I hated that he was having a bad dream and was not happy down there, but what could I do? Faye was still needing me.
As I lay in the darkness with her, listening to her haggard breathing and Keith's moaning, I could hear Beth from down the hall fussing.
I wished with all my might that I could be in three different places at once. I wanted to be quieting Beth, comforting Keith, and helping Faye feel safe and securely loved. It was really quite hard knowing I had to pick and choose, but since Faye was the only one who was actually awake, I stayed with her.
Beth's fussing grew louder and louder until it was impossible to ignore anymore. She was awake. Faye finally told me I needed to leave her and go help Beth. She is such a good big sister! I gave Faye an extra squeeze, climbed down the ladder and stopped by Keith's bed. I stooped down for a second to comfort him. I pulled his blankets up around him, stroked his forehead, and gave him a kiss on his cheek, letting my hand linger on his back before I walked away.
By this time, Beth's fusses had grown into full sized wails, (get it? Whales?) spouting out a constant stream of slobber and tears, thus soaking her bed. I picked her up, took her into the family room where the rocker is, and began rocking her.
She didn't want to go to sleep.
She lay, looking at me, and began cooing.
Cooing, and smiling, and playing.
A small part of me just wanted to go to bed. I wasn't supposed to be up that late! It was nearly 1:00! But the mother part of me (which is the bigger part of me) cuddled that little girl close, gazed down into her huge sapphire eyes, and loved her back with every ounce of my soul. As I soaked her in, I remembered the scripture in 1 John 4:19 which says "We love him, because he first loved us." Growing up I had heard that scripture, but never really understood it. I could have loved God without him loving me first, I always thought. It made me feel so unworthy to hear the scripture, for some strange reason. Now, though, with a mother's heart, I can understand it so much better.
My children love me, because I love them so much and give everything I can to them. I give them security, knowledge, strength, understanding, and a love so deep, there is nothing they can ever do that will change that love. Because they feel these things from me, they can trust me and love me in return. So it is with us and our Father in Heaven. He has given us so much, we cannot comprehend it all. The very air we breathe, our children, His Son! Because of this, I love him! Because he loved me first, I love him. And the understanding goes full circle!
Beth and I rocked in that rocking chair, in the dark room, the snow falling silently outside, and we were cozy in that moment, wrapped in a love so deep, nothing can ever mar it. And I was grateful. I was grateful for the busy nights. Sure, I gave up much needed sleep. I had to function through the day today with only 5 hours of sleep (and if you know me well, you know I don't really function without my 8 hours a night), but it was worth it. I would happily give up three hours of sleep each night for deep understanding and peace like that. For the moments which forge our souls together, creating the bonds that will last through this lifetime and into the next. Besides, with that perspective, who needs sleep?!
Just a reminder:
Don't forget the Review Extravaganza begins this Thursday! Get your posts ready to put up any time between this Thursday and next Wednesday the 11th. We will be recapping January through March. There will be lots of wonderful prizes to be given away for playing along. Can't wait to see what your favorite parts of this past year has been.