When I told people that Portia was sleeping through the night, I had a feeling I might jinx it. Sure enough, she woke up hungry at 3:30 this morning. If that had been the only nocturnal disturbance, it would have been okay, since she’s only three months old, and infants are expected to wake their mothers up at night. Five-year-olds are supposed to be past all that.
But as I’m sitting on the couch watching the news and feeding Portia, Cordelia comes walking into the living room with a stack of books, plops them down on the coffee table and announces, “Can’t sleep.” Moreover, she’s hungry, and wants me to make her breakfast. Fat chance. I tell her to go back to bed. “Not sleepy,” she says. The baby has now been fed, changed and put back down to sleep again, and I’m dying to get back to sleep myself. Stupidly, I offer to let Cordelia come sleep with me, since her dad is out of town.
“Hungry,” she declares just as I’m starting to drift off again. If I ignore her, maybe she’ll go to sleep and stop bothering me. Or maybe not. “Want breakfast.” Although she’s been speaking in full sentences since she was a year and a half old, she has recently developed the annoying habit of truncating her sentences to the bare minimum of words needed to get the point across. Maybe she’s seen too many You Tube clips of The 300 with her dad, and is trying to be Laconic. Maybe she’s practicing for when she gets her own cell phone and will need to keep it short and sweet for text messaging. Maybe she’s just trying to annoy me.
Eventually she went to sleep and let me do the same. I think it was around 5:00. My alarm, of course, was set for 6:30 so I could get up as usual and do half an hour on the elliptical and as many abdominal exercises as possible before Portia wakes up, trying with desperate vanity to un-wreak the havoc wrought by a fourth pregnancy and c-section.
None of this is meant as a complaint, by the way. Having my four daughters has been the most wonderful thing ever to happen to me. They’re worth the lost sleep, the dieting and exercise, the cost of diapers and formula and pediatricians and piano lessons, and the acres of pulverized Cheerios and dessicated Play-Doh I’ve swept up over the years.
If I don’t get to sleep again tonight, well, that’s okay. They’re worth it.