There comes a point in every parent’s life that the reality of parenthood finally sets in, as if to say, “The inevitable has happened; you have officially become your mother.” I’ll wager a guess that, for most, it happens as it did for my husband and I: in the middle of the night. It’s a hidden mercy, really; the grogginess helps to drown out the terror. Anyway—
Oh! I know what you’re thinking:
You know for a fact that Chandler and I have hardly been married a month.
You know our wedding was not, in fact, of the shotgun variety.
Nor could we possibly have been able to adopt on such short notice--
Well, now. That’s where you’re wrong.
As I was saying, if (somehow) this reality of parenthood does not set in during the late-night screaming and mid-morning feedings of infanthood, and somehow the toddler years don’t involve significant amounts of bed-wetting or late-night up-hours (Wow. You people either have unusually good children or you need to be more introspective!), it is bound to happen with sitcom-like accuracy when your child is just old enough to wander into the bedroom after midnight and insist upon the absolute necessity of climbing into bed with you. The scenario plays out only at the least convenient hour (for us it was 2am), on the least convenient night’s sleep (which, unlike in sitcoms where this reason is usually romantic, for me was due to my having a cold and struggling to stay asleep while unable to breathe through my nose), and for the least convenient reason (like a high fever, for example).
Parenthood is a form of sanctification. Sanctification is inconvenient.
It’s just after 2am, and I was sleeping soundly just a few short moments ago, when I heard the pitter-patter of little feet. Or, rather, I half-consciously felt the pitter-patter of little feet—very little feet—on my hand.
The scene was in the dark, so I don’t know what it looked like, but it sounded like this:
“Did you bring the hamster to bed?”
Confused pause— “Hamster to bed? No?”
“Something is on me! I just felt a mouse! Or a RAT!”
As Chan jumped up (Ok, let’s be honest, Chan doesn’t jump; he calmly crosses rooms) and hit the light switch (in an urgent-ish fashion), we looked down to see that our hamster was, indeed, curiously investigating our burgundy bedspread as if to say:
“Mommy? Daddy? Can I sleep with you?”
Thus, I and PeanutButter (now safely in his hamster cage and apparently very thirsty) are awake in the living room (at now 3 o’clock) while Daddy is back in bed sleeping soundly. You can’t really blame our nocturnal child, though; one of his parents (the sleeping one) left the cage door open last night while seeing what a hamster might do with a few pieces of shredded napkin. (He wads them up and stores them in his puffy little cheeks, of course, and spits them back out again in a more appropriate place. . .like his food pile.) In all fairness, I don’t really mind, since PB gets his nocturnal genes from my side of the family. I’m just thankful he didn’t wander off and get lost in one of my furniture-and-box-filled rooms or down one of the coverless heating vents in this very-much-a-work-in-progress house!
‘Twas the night before Tuesday and all through the house
Stewart Little was wand’ring (at least our version of the mouse).
Yes I have a cold, but my child doesn’t care!
Still I thank him for not being up in my hair. . .
P.S. Married one month today. Wowie zowie.
Food, figs and a measure of mercy
1 week ago