The Mathematics Of Mothering A 10-Month-Old
It’s 6:40 right now and I would love nothing more than a half hour of peace and quiet to drink my coffee, check my email, and look at pictures of old high school friends’ babies on Facebook. But if I let Jackson sleep past 7, I probably won’t be able to get him down for his morning nap by 9, and if I don’t get him down by 9, he probably won’t nap at all before his babysitter comes at 10. If he doesn’t nap this morning, he will fall asleep on his babysitter’s watch, probably around 12:30, right before she brings him back home from story time at the library.
If he falls asleep on her watch, he’ll wake up when she drops him off at 1, and I know him — he won’t go right back to sleep after she leaves. He’ll be all, “Whatever, Mom, I slept from 12:30 to 1 and that’s enough,” even though it is definitely, absolutely, for sure not enough. He needs more sleep than a measly half-hour catnap in his stroller, and besides, I’ll still have to eat lunch and finish my work. I need him to sleep from 1:30 to 3:30 so I can get everything done and he can get sufficient rest and not try pull out all the hair on the right side of my head in a fit of sleep-deprived madness. Hell, I’ll even take 1:30 to 3. I’ll even take 1:30 to 2:30. But he has to have at least an hour nap in the afternoon. And an hour in the morning, or we’re both gonna be insane — and bald — by 5 p.m.
It’s 6:45 now. If I don’t wake him up, he’s gonna sleep until 7:30. And he can’t sleep until 7:30. If he does, the whole rest of the day will be fucked. He won’t get his morning nap, he’ll fall asleep for 20 minutes with his babysitter and then wake up when she leaves and then stay awake the whole rest of the afternoon because “he already got his nap.” Then, at 4:30 he’ll be ready to crash but it will be too damn late for a nap if I want to put him to bed by 7:30 (and I have to put him to bed by 7:30 so he’ll wake up by 7 the next morning; Also, I DVR Jeopardy at 7 so I can watch it at 7:30 with my dinner on my lap, fast-forwarding through all the commercials. That way, it’s over by 7:52 and I have just enough time to change into my yoga pants from Target and take out my contacts and get comfortable before the The Bachelor starts at 8). So even if he’s tired at 4:30 because he only got a 20-minute stroller nap at noon, I’ll have to keep him awake despite him being cranky and whiney and not wanting to do any of the activities that usually amuse him, like play dates and walking in traffic.
Shit, it’s 6:50. I’d really love to have a quick cup of coffee and, like, just 10 minutes of peace before the crazy starts. If I wake him up at 7 and then keep him really active for two hours, I bet he’ll be tired enough for a nap by 9. And if he goes to sleep — like, really goes to sleep, and doesn’t just bang his crib against the wall over and over for an hour — he can probably get at least a 45-minute nap in before it’s time to get him ready for his sitter. And then! I bet he’ll be ready for another nap around 1:30. That’s perfect.
It’s 6:52 now. That gives me eight minutes. I’m going to enjoy the shit out of this coffee and this english muffin and these Facebook pictures of my old high school friends’ kids for eight glorious, wonderful, blissed-out minutes.
…Annnnd there’s the baby.
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It started with a right swipe, a little green heart. Tinder of course.
Though I acknowledge and appreciate the differences in human experiences, and while your heartbreak is (and always will be) uniquely and completely your own, I must urge you to consider that I have been where you are.
With his hat cocked back, body tilted away from his cane, and right forefinger pointing directly at his audience, Joseph Ducreux commands the attention of those viewing his self-portrait.
I was born in 1990; he was born in 1973. I’m 23; he just turned 40.