the smell of my desperation has become a stench

Gone are the days of the snooze button

After a few discombobulating hiccups (whoever taught my baby to roll over? MINUS TEN POINTS FOR YOU), we’ve finally transitioned Marlo into a regular nighttime routine. It’s not exactly perfect because she can barely make it to 6PM and then she’s done. Kaput. Like she’s been studying for that calculus final through the night and passes out, her head mushed sideways into the textbook, and her roommate has to physically restrain herself from taking a permanent black marker and writing BONER on her forehead.

And then some internal alarm clock goes off in her head at 2AM exactly. Sometimes it breaks and goes off at 1:58 AM, but that is rare, and I hop out of bed, run down to her room and savor the ten minutes or so that she eats. Then she’s back down until 6AM. And oh, is she up. She is awake and ready for the day, barking orders and not really interested in the fact that we’d like another half hour of sleep.

For the past two nights Leta has come into our room having had nightmares about spiders, and it’s always right at the point when I have just fallen back asleep. So in my weak and lazy state I just pull her up in bed beside me and we snuggle for the rest of the night. Or more accurately, she flails her arms and sticks her feet on my head. And I lie there awake resenting every sleeping person in the world.

And then at 6AM we’re all there, all four of us in the dark, mushed together in bed, Marlo trying to tell us that we’re boring and need some new tricks. The light from an iPhone is no longer entertaining. That rattle is so dumb. Please turn on the light and amuse me, slaves! So I reach over, fumble around until I find the bedside lamp, and then all four of us wince at the sudden glaring light. Some of us wince more loudly and agonizingly than others. I won’t name that someone, other than to say that if there were a prize for best impersonation of a hyena being gutted with a chainsaw, we’d have a winner.

This morning I looked over at Jon and said, well, this is our life. Our Every Day Starts At 6AM Life, our Hit The Ground Running At 6AM Life, and as Leta made faces to make Marlo giggle, and Coco whined longingly in her crate to be let out, please let me out, you’re having all that fun without me, we both laughed at the ridiculousness of it. Because as bad as it might sound, it’s just so incredibly awesome.

  • Jenny

    2009/10/23 at 11:14 am

    Darling, as always!!

  • Chris @ Marriageconfessions

    2009/10/23 at 11:15 am

    This is my life too.. Its so great, but i do miss sleep.

  • Betsy

    2009/10/23 at 11:15 am

    Sounds like a perfect morning to me!

  • Claire

    2009/10/23 at 11:18 am

    Lovely 🙂

  • tracy

    2009/10/23 at 11:18 am

    I used to be a sleeper-inner, but my daughter…not so much. I thought I would miss sleep (oh, sweet sleep) but as it turns out, I’d much prefer to spend those hours awake with Ellis.

  • Rebkas

    2009/10/23 at 11:20 am

    Yep– And guess what….It will never end! I have 13,12, and 8yr old and I am STILL awakened at ungodly hours for – well, NOTHING! My standard response to the 2am “Mom, I can’t sleep” is: “Are you sick? No? Well, then SUCKS TO BE YOU” and I roll over and go back to sleep!

  • IL~Janet

    2009/10/23 at 11:20 am

    wow! such cuteness- does Leta think Marlo resembles her?

  • Anonymous

    2009/10/23 at 11:23 am

    You have accurately described my life almost perfectly. I have a lovely 1 year old daughter who we just recently got into a good routine, meaning she goes to bed between 6 and 6:30 pm and sleeps through until about 5:57-6:00am (minus the few times she wakes up to turn on her musical aquarium and goes right back to sleep). But man is she ready to be up and moving when 6am hits. Which means she often times wakes our 5 y.o. daughter up around 6:30am which is way too early for her. So we have now had to start putting our 5 y.o. to bed at 7pm so she gets enough sleep, helping to prevent nervous breakdowns and tantrums (on her part) to, oh at least 5pm.

    The plus side to all of this, in our house at least, is that my husband and I sit and look at each other at 7:15pm and can’t believe the silence around us. We then get excited about the fact that we can watch a WHOLE movie or show, UNINTERRUPTED, and still go to bed by 10pm if we want. Because hey, we have to start our day at 6am the next morning:)

    Congrats on finding your own family “groove.”

  • Erin@TheLocalsLoveIt

    2009/10/23 at 11:25 am

    We could call eachother and talk. I basically live the same schedule. Only mine comes running in at all hours of the night screaming “I’ve got to go potty!!”

  • Donna

    2009/10/23 at 11:28 am

    Your girls are beautiful!

  • Abby

    2009/10/23 at 11:28 am

    My daughter is about a week younger than Marlo, and her schedule is just about the same. Waking up in the morning is just so much better from her point of view!

  • Janelle

    2009/10/23 at 11:29 am

    Same here. My son wakes up and sonars me: mom mom mom mom mom mom (you get the idea) until I go get him. Then he exclaims at the top of his lungs – Vitamins!…Cereal!…I Wake Up!…Sun’s Up! (always in that order – always with more enthusiasm then the day before)

    When I tell him the sun’s not up yet, he says “uh oh”

  • Shauna

    2009/10/23 at 11:30 am

    It’s fabulous you guys are finding the humour in it! At least there is coffee. THANK GOD FOR COFFEE!!!

  • dooce

    2009/10/23 at 11:31 am

    #13 Shauna, oh yes, In the name of Jesus Christ, AMEN.

  • kara

    2009/10/23 at 11:31 am

    Your writing always gives me such faith in the world. I chose to major in Things That WIll Make You Want To Kill Yourself, ie, Environmental Law and Gender Studies. Panic and Oppression, day in and day out. I wish I had someone to wake me up early and let me know that everything will be alright. Maybe I should get a dog.

  • Elle

    2009/10/23 at 11:32 am

    Isn’t it funny how kiddos have perfect internal clocks? My son wakes up for his middle night feeding at EXACTLY 4:17 am. No earlier, no later.

    Great post!

  • Jen

    2009/10/23 at 11:32 am

    I’m not sure which story I like better – yours or Jenelle’s (#12). You guys make me want a baby, something I’ve never really cared about one way or the other.

  • SAHM: Surviving Assorted Home Mayhem

    2009/10/23 at 11:33 am

    Hey, we have almost the same schedule! Little guy also goes 6pm-6am (however without the 2am wake-up now, thankfully) and we are up and at’em for the day! Of course, by 8:00pm we’re falling asleep in the front fo the TV and can’t remember the last time we stayed up past 10.

  • Anonymous

    2009/10/23 at 11:35 am

    This kind of makes me lose my will to live since I also wake up at that hour – but to go to work and wish I had your life. Congratulations. We’re all jealous.

  • dooce

    2009/10/23 at 11:36 am

    #18 SAHM, I go to bed at 8:15 every single night now. If I make it to 9 it’s a total party.

  • Sheila

    2009/10/23 at 11:36 am

    # 6- Yes is does end!
    My 5 kids are between the ages of 21 and 13. Believe it or not, I would love for one of them to jump in my bed at night and snuggle. It seemed like years ( I guess it was ) that my nights were full of elbows and knees. It really does go by fast, I’m happy you are enjoying it!

  • CreatureofHabit

    2009/10/23 at 11:37 am

    Good grief! The dimples!!!!!!

    Normally I sleep blissfully through the nights, a solid 8 hours or else I’m a real crab. But if it makes you feel better, there is an alley cat that has taken up in our ‘hood and that thing starts up at 4 am and sreams for at least half an hour (sometimes it comes back and starts up again). Every night for the last week I’ve had to listen to it… such horrible, alarming sounds…..

  • wn

    2009/10/23 at 11:37 am

    Life at 6am…when it’s filled with love…is surprisingly more pleasant than it sounds (or at least more pleasant than what I thought it would be when I was 21!).

    PS – my mornings are very similar, right down to the puppy in the crate…alas mine is a 2nd beagle….who is probably much dumber than Coco!

  • Fantasyland

    2009/10/23 at 11:38 am

    Hoping this comes across as positive, because it really is…This post made me smile and chuckle out loud, and lately I haven’t been able to do that as much here on The weird letter, the Maytag thing, the shingles video all were kind of a turnoff. But I’ve decided to never again look at MTH (or POP, for that matter) because it just gives me bad vibes and I think the whole drama surrounding your website has changed something…but only temporarily. But THIS post was great – reminiscent of your early writing and I’m so glad I haven’t given up on you.

  • Sue

    2009/10/23 at 11:39 am

    Must blow raspberries on Marlo-belly! How do you NOT eat her up with a spoon?

    While we have no children, we awake every morning with 3 dogs and 2 cats. And we look at each other and smile. So, yes, I totally get where you’re coming from, except my world has many, many more legs.

  • Finch

    2009/10/23 at 11:40 am

    Slightly related, but I’m wondering if you’ve ever used a dawn simulator alarm clock or a light box as a treatment for depression, Heather? (Or anyone, feel free to chime in!)

    I just recently picked one up and my god, it is amazing. I have had trouble sleeping my whole life and this dawn simulator alarm clock (no jarring BEEP BEEP BEEP) wakes you up slowly, naturally, using cues from the light. There’s also a back-up traditional alarm, but waking up slowly/gradually allows you to go out of REM sleep, so instead of getting jarred from a deep sleep by your alarm clock, the light triggers you to start waking up.

    The lightbox has also been fantastic, particularly living in Buffalo where we get so few days of sun over the winter months that my dad has a calendar where he keeps track of days without sunlight. Last year, there was a stretch of about 42 consecutive days without it.

  • Katherine

    2009/10/23 at 11:41 am

    I’m amused that your baby is more disciplined than I am with her sleep schedule. Amused and discouraged.

  • Kristen from MA

    2009/10/23 at 11:41 am

    ‘Are you pregnant and expecting a girl? GOOD LUCK.’

    Seriously, Heather?

  • Holly

    2009/10/23 at 11:42 am

    Sounds like the perfect way to start the day!

  • Aimee

    2009/10/23 at 11:42 am

    For the folks who actually do miss their snooze buttons, I offer a glimmer of hope:

    My kids are now 9 & 6. They still awaken too early, but they now get themselves dressed, brush their teeth, and unload the dishwasher…all while I am in bed hitting my snooze button once or twice. When I hear the pots stop rattling, I get up (much more cheerful than I would otherwise), make them breakfast, pack their lunches, and we all walk to school together. I think this is a lovely postscript to not sleeping through the night more than a handful of times between 2000 & 2006.

    (Of course, last night, just to prove me wrong, the 6yo was up three times for various reasons, and they were both up at 6:30 this morning, chattering away loudly enough to awaken me several times. We drove to school today.)

  • Anonymous

    2009/10/23 at 11:43 am

    She must be ready for her own press agent and secretary! How cute!

  • Kelly

    2009/10/23 at 11:43 am

    I’m glad you can be happy about it because I couldn’t be. Luckily my kids learned early on to sleep in. I usually get to at least 8am and lately my 17 month old is going through a growth spurt and sleeping until 9/10am. Now if I could just go to bed at a decent time, I might actually get a full night’s sleep.

  • Noelle

    2009/10/23 at 11:44 am

    It is so awesome–how much beauty is all wrapped up in the chaos!!! Congrats on your beautiful chaos. It’s what makes us truly rich in life.

  • momma in the big O

    2009/10/23 at 11:45 am

    the middle of the night pee pee report…”momma, I have to pee…” “well, you know where the bathroom is…”

    and she is 7 and 1/2…….

    sleep is for the old and empty nesters….who are too old and their prostrates and bladders won’t let them sleep!

  • Marsha

    2009/10/23 at 11:46 am

    This too shall pass and you will (hopefully) look back on these times and smile. (Is that sappy or what?) I don’t see it so much in this video, but I am amazed at how much Marlo looks like Leta. They are both beautiful.

  • Anonymous

    2009/10/23 at 11:46 am

    You say it’s marvelous at the end, yet everything before that sounds like a string of complaints. And then we get a whole slew of comments from moms who think anyone cares about what their kid does, probably thinking their kid is THE FUNNIEST & everyone else will too. Ladies, nobody cares. But I guess whatever gives you all a reason to shove your kids in everyone’s faces I guess 😉 And BTW, my kid is cooler than all of yours so there 😛

  • Bella-Sweet

    2009/10/23 at 11:46 am

    Aw, I love when you start talking and her face is like “Whoa! Thats my Mom!!”

  • Linn

    2009/10/23 at 11:46 am

    She’s so cute. Oh how I miss the days of the snooze button too. Four year old twins that don’t sleep through the night here.

  • Amanda

    2009/10/23 at 11:46 am

    She is soo cute. My daughter is about a month younger than Marlo and I love reading your posts to see what stage she’ll be moving into next. It’s nice to have a heads up!

  • Chriss

    2009/10/23 at 11:48 am

    You will get that snooze button time back eventually but by then you will be wishing they were coming in and bugging you…..

  • Judy

    2009/10/23 at 11:49 am

    Everyday, I understand another of my grandmother’s little sayings. Today, it’s “Count your blessings!”

  • Jaime

    2009/10/23 at 11:50 am

    Great Post! And how wonderfully rediculous it can be. I’m up at 2am and then 5am every morning with my almost 4 month old baby girl. Wouldn’t have it any other way…especially when she flashes that cute little smile.

  • Cat

    2009/10/23 at 11:50 am

    I could eat Mini Frosted Shredded Wheat out of the dimple on her cheek and use the one on her chin as a spoon rest. For when I start eating her arms.

  • Melissa

    2009/10/23 at 11:51 am

    I feel your pain. I don’t even remember what sleep feels like anymore… I woke up this morning and my 7 month old son was lying next to me. I don’t think I got him in the middle of the night. I remember getting up for our 3am feeding (it used to be 2am too) but I know I put him back in his crib… maybe my hubby brought him to me.

  • momma in the big O

    2009/10/23 at 11:51 am

    wow, #36, my kids are incredible…
    and you are just jealous….
    GET a LIFE!

  • chiquita

    2009/10/23 at 11:51 am

    Yep, same here, but it’s mostly ok. (although dreading the time change.. what extra hour of sleep?) Lately my daughter has been getting up after we put her down and giving us the sign for “eat”. nice try, but it’s time to sleep!

  • kate

    2009/10/23 at 11:54 am

    how do you get over those EYES?!?

  • Cat

    2009/10/23 at 11:54 am

    It is incredibly awesome. Keep savoring it!

  • Aimee

    2009/10/23 at 11:56 am

    The other day my husband complained to me that he really NEEDS to sleep in.

    I just laughed in his face.

    Over are those days, I said! We have a 2.5 year old and our second is due in December. We won’t be sleeping in until they are teenagers again.

    Such is life of parents… someday we’ll get to sleep in again, right?

  • Anonymous

    2009/10/23 at 11:57 am

    Darn near every morning, I wake up to find my 6 year old son asleep next to me, in my bed. I treasure those moments because I know they won’t last forever. Having kids is just so AWESOME!!!

1 2 3 4

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

read more