Sooo, my sweet little man has been teething and the discomfort has wrought havoc on his sleep. He is waking more frequently right now and is also rising well before dawn. Sweet.
A few mornings ago, he woke up just after 5 am and was ready to start the day. We waited to see if it was just a fleeting desire, but when it was clear that he would not be going back to sleep, we developed a game plan. Gilbert went in, bundled him up, and popped him in the stroller. I made myself a nice large mug of coffee and decided to look on the bright side of our early morning…it was chilly outside, I had yummy coffee, and if all worked out we would get to see a beautiful sunrise!
Once W was settled, we took off around the neighborhood. The crisp air invigorated me and I took the opportunity to pray and enjoy the quiet morning. William nestled in and relaxed as we walked our familiar route in an unfamiliar time. It seemed that this was the perfect solution to his fussy wake up and I was just about to pat us on the back for our brilliant thinking until…yes until. Such power in a single word. As soon as one hears/reads/utters the word “until” it becomes instantly apparent that something is about to change…and in this case, not for the better.
The loop around our neighborhood is just over a mile. When we were as close to the halfway point as possible, William lost it. I mean, absolutely positively lost. his. mind. There were tears, there were screams, and my feeble attempts to reign him back in were fruitless. The serene setting I had only moments before embraced now turned into a wicked nightmare. The quiet only magnified the piercing shrieks and the once friendly looking houses were now certainly filled with angry, judgmental neighbors with their phones in hand calling DCF.
I sang, I danced, I pulled out every toy I had stowed away, and there was absolutely no effect. In fact, at certain points my antics seemed only to add fuel to the fire, with his cries reaching the upper register of a banshee. When it became apparent that my usual tricks were not going to work this time around, I swiftly popped him out of the stroller. With his screams still slicing through the darkness, I threw my coffee into the seat of the stroller and started hauling tail toward home. With W still crying in my arms, I started singing “The Mexican Hat Dance”–our go to meltdown tune since he was a newborn. This turned down the volume, but didn’t eliminate the noise entirely. With only a single bullet left in my gun, I drew out the iPhone and loaded the “Rattle” app as quickly as I could. Magic: crying stopped. Being carried, sung to, and entertained with technology was the solution I sought. Any attempt to withdraw any portion of this twisted trifecta resulted in more tears.
And so we motored on. I was as happy as a mama could be walking with a baby in one hand, simultaneously pushing a stroller and engaging an app making farm animal noises with the other, while singing “The Mexican Hat Dance”…all before dawn.
As we rounded the bend for home, we passed a jogger taking full advantage of the cool, peaceful morning. I cringed as we neared this unsuspecting person, who until this point had no doubt been living under the blissful assumption that the neighborhood was free of crazies. Not the case. I could only imagine how ridiculous I must look to someone outside the insane world of babies. I had to appear absolutely certifiable.
When our eyes met however, I found something I wasn’t expecting…familiarity. On this woman’s face, I saw the unmistakable acknowledgment of someone who knew exactly what I was enduring. A fellow mama in a different season, she recognized my world and gave me the knowing smile that said, “Don’t sweat it…I have been. there.” I could almost see the battle scars on her face as she shook her head and closed her eyes, no doubt recalling countless moments of her own insanity and offering as much compassion and empathy as she could.
I smiled the rest of the way home. Motherhood is such an incredibly cool club and I am beyond blessed to be a part of it. There are highs and lows, victories and challenges, and when I find myself crossing the border into crazytown, it helps to know I’m not alone. ;0)