It was both the best of times, and the worst of times.
I lay my cheek down on the small, fuzzy, suffering head and pray for my small. I’m almost sure it’s a teething fever, but what if it isn’t?
I rock, I soothe, I offer a bottle and than a pacifier. Nothing pleases him except switching between the two, every thirty seconds. So that’s what we do.
Finally he falls asleep, his nose is stuffy, and he can’t properly suck on his nippy. He has it propped awkwardly in his cheek and I carefully extract it. Arching back, shrieks, and I quickly pop it back in. But no. It’s no longer what he wants. I heave myself out of the rocking chair and walk a little bit. He sags, and I sit. He screams. I stand. I walk around the living room and fall asleep as I walk. Finally he sleeps for real, and I stare listlessly at the clock. 1 am.
I ease into bed with my fuzzy little small tucked in close. For 3 blissful hours, I wake up only every thirty minutes to resettle his hot little body so he is more comfortable. I dare not put him in bed, trusting my mother instinct to wake me if his fever returns, and indeed, I do.
I gather him up and take him the kitchen for a drink and Tylenol. Again we rock and rock and rock. I turn on a meaningless show on Netflix, leaving it on silent, the flickering light somehow soothing on my closed eyelids. Again we ease down on the couch and he stays asleep. I lay him in his bed for a blissful hour of laying beside my sleeping husband. When he wakes again, my husband gathers him up and takes him to the living room and I sleep the sleep of a woman who has done her job well, and has an understanding husband to bear the load with her.
I love being a mom. I love my gentle baby even in his loudest, most fierce teething moments. But I wonder..... how is it possible to live with so little sleep?
And yet, on I go. My body is a mother, even if my selfish side is weak and tired. The more broken and tired I become, the more my instincts take over, and I mother on auto-pilot. If you are a male reading this, you cannot underestimate the mother instincts of your wife. You cannot disrespect her by saying “I can’t help you at night because I need my sleep”. Just don’t do that !
Be better than that. My husband is better than that, and I am so grateful!!