So things were good, really really good. We had this perfectly behaved baby, Mort had a job he really enjoyed, and Mort’s mom and I had come to a place of not just ‘getting along’ but actually enjoying each other, at a long long distance. Every Saturday morning she would call and we would talk for eons about the minutia of details; Clare’s sleeping, eating, pooping etc. Never once was there subtle unsolicited advice or judgemental huffs and puffs on the phone line. She wanted to know the details because she genuinely cared, not just for Clare as first grandchild, but for me for my part in making that happen (a rather massive part I must say).
We existed in this happy little bubble and were taking a strong stand against having another child…why rock the boat right….well in October 2005 we welcomed Maddie to our little tribe. Now given that I have talked of life balance, it will come as no surprise that in the world of “even stevens” that if you have had a gentle ride with your first baby, buckle up because the next will test your limits, stamina, sanity, endurance, relationships, swearing, and personal hygiene.
While Clare was sleeping through the night at 8 weeks old, it was 14 months of pure wailing hell before Maddie slept through the night. And I am quite sure that as she watched me, slither out of her room commando style across the floor as to not disturb her after putting her down, that she lay there with a smirk saying quietly to herself ……..”I win”.
In the first few months I found a little slice of escapism in the 4.30 pm viewing time for The Bold and the Beautiful (oh come on – you know you all have). This would coincide with a snippet in Maddie’s sleep schedule (I hear mothers gasping everywhere with “oh my god, you let her have a nap that late in the day?”) but since we had been up all night, my theory was take it whenever you can get it.
So with this time I would also fill a very large glass of wine (another collective gasp – yes before 5pm). The theme song would start, I would sit Clare close to me with a colouring book and juice box. I would gulp down a large goblet of “Mommy’s juice” while I watched what the rich and beautiful people were up to (usually sleeping with each others sisters and son-in-laws)
Then one day I was settling Maddie while I heard the B&B opening theme song start up…..I came in to see Clare, with a “I’m proud of myself” smile on her face, triggered by the theme song to go and get herself a juice box and also get a bottle of wine from the fridge and plonk it down on the table (not quite what Pavlov had in mind). But the killer was that she was standing there holding out a straw “I got you a straw so that you could drink your mommy juice faster.”
That was it…..I turned off the tv, tossed Maddie into the stroller, put Clare on her scooter and out we went for a brisk walk. I would not let my sleepless nights define my waking hours.
I made what were to me, very easy decisions for the sake of myself and my family, Mort also faced similar decisions many years later….his were the wrong ones.