the smell of my desperation has become a stench

Early birds

I have mentioned before that Marlo has an internal clock that goes off at exactly 5:30AM every morning, never a minute before, never a minute after. Here’s where I could refer to her as a turd, but hey, that’s pretty damn consistent. A good quality in a human being. Add that to her other amazing qualities – 1) thinks farts are funny, and 2) understands that whiskey made outside of Kentucky cannot technically be referred to as bourbon — and you’ve got yourself right there a kid who is going to kill it in wood shop.

Because of this I’ve had to sacrifice (willingly) the ability to stay awake past 9PM, 9:30PM at the latest. And last week after attending the opening social at Alt Summit, only to return home a few minutes before midnight, I was like, dude, if I wake up and suddenly I’m a pumpkin, I want you to send a mean email to my fairy godmother and end it with a hearty UNFOLLOW!

That was the latest I had stayed up in a hundred years, and the following morning hit me in the face like the back of a frying pan. Mainly because my days are now a dead run from 5AM until my head hits the pillow at night with no breaks anywhere whatsoever. And I can handle this pace as long as I’ve got at least eight hours of sleep in my fuel tank. Yes, eight. I know that some of you are rolling your eyes because you eat people like me for breakfast, the one that you’re having after only 15 minutes of sleep, and that’s after four straight days of no sleep at all while running the government of a small country. You win.

Having said all this, I really cherish the time we spend together in those first quiet moments of the day, and it is these moments that were much of the motivation behind wanting another kid. Because OMG BABY. Marlo is a full on baby now. She is erupting with personality, one that resembles a sine curve, really soft and mellow all the way to DID I SAY YOU COULD LEAVE THE ROOM, WOMAN? I DIDN’T THINK SO.

And because she wakes up so early, we get to spend about an hour together, the three of us in bed, until Marlo has had about enough. She’ll grant us that hour, make it seem as if all our funny faces and voices are the reason she wanted to get up, but then she starts contorting her body in any way she can so that she can get a good look at the door. Because The Second Act is bound to come in at any moment, and if Leta sleeps in an extra minute or two Marlo will shoot toward the opposite end of that curve and it’s all WHERE ARE MY DAMN WAFFLE FRIES.

When Leta does stumble in, blear-eyed and hair a flame of tangles, she doesn’t say hello to us or even acknowledge our existence. It’s MARIO! MARIO! MARIO! and she hops up in bed so that her nose is touching Marlo’s forehead. Marlo’s reaction is so violent that you might think something was wrong. In fact, you might believe she was dying. Because she starts to hyperventilate and smack herself in the knees while simultaneously squawking like a chicken being tased in a bathtub.

Those two kids adore each other. And I’m not going to get all sappy on you, but the magnitude of it fills the room every morning. It is giant, mammoth, knock-you-over electrifying. And Jon and I deliberately remind ourselves to stop and soak it in, to be present for it, to push away the thoughts of the dead run ahead of us and admire the magnificence that is our children. Ok, I lied. I just got all sappy on you. MINUS TEN POINTS FOR ME.

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.

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