A gentle nudge on my leg from my hubby wakes me up. Time to get up, shower, and get ready for work. I get up slowly, carefully untangling myself from the small arms and legs that are draped on me. Blearily, I collect my towel and trudge off to the downstairs bathroom (where the heater is). As I take my clothes off and turn on the shower, I hear a loud thud from upstairs followed by running feet and then a loud combination of wailing and sobbing from the stairwell, "mooooommmmeeeee!!!!!". I sigh. It is 5:55am and Joshua, on cue, is already awake and screaming for me. This is how my weekday starts.
There are variations. Sometimes, he goes straight to the bathroom, clutching at my waist and sobbing uncontrollably, "mommy, *unhunh* *unhunh* please, I want you to stay with me *unhunh* *unhunh*. I don't want you to leave, please sleep with me pa." Sometimes I make it back to the upstairs bathroom where I dress before we do the please-don't-leave-me routine. Sometimes I open the bathroom door to find him sitting quietly in a chair, waiting for me. The routine doesn't last long though, after about 5 minutes, he calms down and starts playing or chattering to me, as if nothing happened. Lately, it struck me --- Joshua seems so grown up already, very independent and not wanting to be babied. But in those moments between sleeping and waking up, when he cries out for me, then I get my baby back. It only lasts five minutes and believe me, in the middle of it, I am wishing that he is still asleep. But a teeny, tiny part of me realizes that this will not happen for much longer. And I think I will miss it.
Faith, thankfully, usually remains blissfully asleep the whole time. This one has a night time routine as opposed to Joshua's early morning one which usually involves talking non-stop even if everybody else is asleep (or almost asleep), trying out different positions (on top of me, head on my stomach, feet propped on the couch, etc.), and eventually prying my eyelids open insisting that I wake up and look at her while she falls asleep. Sometimes, she gets up on my back or she makes me sit up cross-legged on the bed while she puts her head on my lap until she falls asleep. Only then can I carefully move her to the pillow and fall exhausted into bed, only to be woken up at 3 or 4 am by an insistent Faith, wanting to sleep on my lap again.
It's weird to be a mother. I am always torn between complaining about the lack of sleep/lack of privacy/etc and regret that when they grow up, they will not need me as much. Torn between being happy that they are getting independent and feeling a twinge of sadness at yet another sign that they are leaving their babyhood behind.
I wonder how it feels to them, to sleep beside me. They both take possession of my hands, each of them running my fingers all over their face until they fall asleep. They refuse to sleep with their grandparents when they know I am home. I think it's because I am their parent but they do not act that way with their dad. It's only with me.
So I wondered. Then I remembered how it felt like to sleep with my mom. I used to be afraid of the dark because of all the scary stories of local lore that our maids and grandparents fed to us when we were kids. But I remember thinking one time when my mom gave me permission to sleep beside her, "Ah, now I can think and remember all the scary stories that I like! I won't be scared." And I wasn't. And I always think of where my mother was sleeping as a place where it was always clean and the pillows smelled nice (always nicer than mine).
Now I know.