How do I say this?
I had a sober moment of realization at 4:40 this morning, when I awoke suddenly to deafening silence. Two of my children were sleeping soundly in their rooms, and the third? Well, the third was banished to Grammy’s for the night because she just can’t hang.
For the past fourteen months, I’ve operated under the mistaken assumption that none of my children were sleeping through the night, causing sighs of disbelief all over the land. “I know. I know. It’s true, ” I would qualify. And they would shake their heads.
But you know what? It’s not.
Maggie wasn’t home last night and everyone slept. All night. The pain and tension in my right leg and lower back, that I’ve been waking up with for months, was completely absent this morning. The cloud of exhaustion (that’s followed me around for over a year) has evaporated into space.
Two meals were eaten and neither my husband nor I had to crawl on the floor to reconstruct a plate of food.
Bedtime waxed and waned without incident.
And everyone slept.
I hate to say this is such a rare occurrence in my house. I hate to blame such a palpable amount of chaos on a seventeen-pound toddler. Hell, I’ve had dogs bigger than that. I hate the feeling that our lives would look much different without all the chaos my daughter brings. I hate it, and hate to say it. But that’s the way it is.
And you (and I) would expect me to say, that, oh, but for the chaos, she’s a delight, and oh, how much fun we have with her, but I don’t think you are going to get any of that from me today.
She’s a pest.
There. I said it.
She’s a screaming, writhing, climbing, food-throwing, peace-shattering nuisance, and right now, I’m hard-pressed to find any charm in it.
And, of course, I realize this is not the first time I’ve said this, and hopefully (for your sake) this is the last, but when do these things change? She wakes up in the middle of the night as much as, if not more than, an infant. And screaming. Not bloody murder screaming, but bloody-murder-with-a-side-of-arson screaming. We’ve had her checked out, we’ve made every imaginable change to her sleeping quarters, her diet, and now her immediate environment, and she’s still prickly. We can’t seem to squeeze the prickles out of her.
And how do I deal with it now? I pray. Because what’s left? I literally pray, have been praying, for six months, that something will change, that she’ll stop screaming, that she’ll sleep through the night, that she’ll calm down. And, if you know me at all, you know that’s a little out of character.
I realize it’s presumptuous of me to believe that I’d have three perfect children who behave exactly within our expectations. I realize that’s not the way the world works. But I just can’t shake the frustration that we’ve done everything within our power to make things run more smoothly around here, and she refuses to settle.
And it sort of kills me that when we remove the variable, the problems disappear.
Though I hate (love) sending her off to Grammy’s (which, for the record, has only been done twice ever), we need to find a way to make things work. For everyone. We’re a disjointed, exhausted family of five who sometimes manages to make it all work. Sometimes.
And I don’t want to be sitting here, writing only about our scarce good times, two years from now. Or this. Because you can bet your sweet ass I’m way over this.