Wednesdays are work days for me (yesterday was my last scheduled one for the semester, though! WOO! There are definitely bonuses to work that is aligned with school schedules). Since Grandma Hud is out of town, Grandpa Hud and Daddy were in charge of Syd for the afternoon and evening. I stopped at home once to pick up a few things I'd forgotten and found Grandpa feeding Syd dinner and doing a great job of dodging one of her latest tricks: bitch-slapping the spoon out of your hand so that whatever you're feeding her somehow gets ALL OVER YOU. And not her. And then she laughs at you (yesterday I was covered head to foot in bananas and oatmeal). I really have birthed a genius.
So when I get home from work last night the house is lovely and quiet. I walk in the door and John is on the couch with his laptop getting some work done, the dogs are lazing on the carpet. The night-time routine is complete and Syd is in bed. My husband helps me unload the truck (we'd had an end-of-the-year bonfire on the beach for the kids) and I promptly shatter two jars of salsa on the garage floor BUT don't cuss because for some odd reason it doesn't ruffle me. Perhaps its that I know I won't have to bathe or put the baby to bed tonight? We talk about the day and laugh as we wipe salsa off the garage floor. I start a load of campfire-stank laundry, tiptoe to the shower, and scrub the dirt off. I soon doze on the couch in my pajamas after lolling through the Costco coupons (!!!) then drift to my desk to check my email one last time before going to bed.
And then it happens. The lights on the monitor flash and my daughter whines the "I lost my paci" whine. I don't panic. I wait for her to find the paci … she does. But then? IT ESCALATES. I go into her room and find her sitting up in bed. She smiles and reaches out her arms. It's 11:34 p.m. I think it will be no problem to rock her back to sleep (we have now resorted to rocking on the glider ottoman which has the same cadence as the chair did).
*TWO HOURS LATER*
I'm curled up in the fetal position on the couch – fading in and out of consciousness – and John is on the opposite couch trying to use the awake time to get MORE work done but mostly is having to fend off our near-toddler, who is doing everything in her power to get to and BANG ON his laptop. She (very happily, might I add) pulls up on one couch, cruises a few feet, then takes off one hand and balances, even picking up a foot here and there as if she's thinking about letting go. She touches the carpet and drops to her butt, then crawls (SO FAST) to the couch on the other side of the room, pulls up, cruises, balances, falls, then chases a toy down. She laughs and shows us the toy, alternately calling out "Dada!" and "Hat!" This continues until THREE A.M. The slightest swipe at her eye convinces me ITS NOW OR NEVER and I make her the umpteenth bottle of the night and take her back to her room where she wrestles me until in utter involuntary defeat she drops to sleep.
I stumble back to bed CURSING Shermag (the glider company). And the laundry basket in the hallway (which I run into). And the suitcase my husband has STILL NOT UNPACKED (that I step on). And the dog who is patiently waiting for me in his usual spot next to the bed WHERE I STEP ON HIM ANYWAY. I pass out and dream that my husband died and then somehow came back to life and I'm SO MAD at him for DYING in the first place that I cannot be excited that he's now alive again. Then I have a conversation with Mandy Moore about something I can't recall now, although I do remember we did use the word "like" a lot in conversational pauses.
Syd started squawking on the monitor around 9 this morning but I could not peel myself out of bed until nearly ten. Even now as I type this I feel like I did so many mornings in college after hard partying and dancing all night the night before. UGH.
Emily has informed me (she also sent me this link, to which my gutteral response was "NO. NO! NO NO NO NO NOOOOOO! It's not FAIIIIIR!" Even though it was helpful) that this whole shakedown is a normal thing – it even has a NAME called "9-month sleep regression" – that someone of Sydney's age goes through as she's getting her mind BLOWN developmentally (I'm assuming it goes something like, "Woah dude! I can get around BY MYSELF! And look! I can stand on my own FEET! And then maybe if I pick them up and put them down in a different spot I can GO PLACES!"). Also? She has a huge bulge in the front of her gums where one of her teeth is about to cut. So basically? We need to batten down the hatches and wait it out because we're about to get served a few more ass-kickings before this things runs its course.
Except I'm so tired. Except I know that if I drink this entire huge second cup of coffee I will have the jitters and an upset stomach. Except I cannot take my kid – who is usually sunshine in a bottle – YELLING AT ME.
And so parenthood does it once again: Just when you think you have it all figured out you realize that you have no idea what you're doing. Just when you get a little schedule going and some normalcy BOOM-SHAKA-LAKA you get punched in the gut.
The bright side? At least you get hugs and kisses after you get punched.