It’s the first week of the New Year and time for the annual Johnson family sick-fest – a week of whining, coughing, runny noses, sore throats, ear infections and perhaps a little bit of croup thrown in complete with hourly wakeup calls. I’m actually pretty thankful because I realized it has been well over a year since I took our oldest to the ‘after hours’ clinic, which, to me, is a strong indicator of overall health.
Despite my fatigue and irritation with cranky children who cannot be soothed for any amount of money, I had to smile a little last night, imagining a bird’s eye view of our house’s ever-shifting occupants. The oldest landed in bed right on schedule with a minimum amount of complaint and we breathed a huge sigh of relief. With only the youngest to go, we had visions of zzzz’s dancing in our heads. But the youngest resisted and so our makeshift sleeping arrangements began. I slept on the couch from 8.30-10.30pm while J watched a movie we’ve had for at least two weeks. (Nothing says ‘watch me now’ like a Holocaust movie). I continued my slumber on the couch from about 11.00pm to 12.30am while J and the babe slept in our bed. Then it was time to implement my New Year’s fitness routine – walking circles around the house trying to get that cranky kid to fall asleep. Finally at 1.30am I kicked J out of our bed and sent him upstairs to a twin bed, while I returned to the couch – giving that tiny baby a queen sized bed all to himself.
I’d just dozed off when I heard those tell-tale footsteps: our oldest’s new habit – running into our room at odd hours to snuggle. Fearing he’d wake up the baby, I whisper-shouted so he’d come to the living room instead. And thus my spot on the couch shrunk as I made room for him. At 2.30am it was back up for another round of appeasing the baby, after which I elected to climb into the preschooler’s (twin) bed, leaving him on the couch by himself. But lo and behold, before I could close my eyes he’d run into the room, looking for me. And so we shared his twin bed, remarkably peacefully, until 4.30am when little brother called. After feeding and changing him, I decided to reclaim what was rightfully mine – and put him in his crib so I could sleep in the big bed all by myself. Sweet slumber was rudely interrupted around 7am when big brother decided it was ‘breakfast time.’ My arguments that it was still dark out, that I was tired, that we should sleep a little more fell on deaf ears. And so, my day began. I thought of making coffee to aid in the process of opening my eyes, but the kitchen was in such a state, I barely found a clean bowl for G’s Rice Krispies.