Saturday afternoon the girls and I were chatting with my cousin Kenzie in the living room, the three of us taking turns holding the baby, when inevitably the topic of conversation turned nostalgic. Leta asked Kenzie how long she’d been her babysitter, and we all gasped when we realized she was with us for three years. Three whole years. That’s longer than a Mormon mission. Longer than some graduate programs. That’s longer than her husband’s hair, you guys.
We started to reminisce about what a fantastic sleeper Marlo used to be. Because Friday night she woke up at 2AM and would not go back to sleep, not because she was sick or had suffered a nightmare, no. She was amped that Leta had a friend sleeping over and wanted to celebrate. Small things like this disrupt her sleep now. I know I should be more forgiving because she’s just four years old and blah blah blah NO. I will not be more forgiving. There are big things and there are small things and on that list of big things is, wait, let me check it. Nothing. There is nothing on that list. She shouldn’t ever be waking up at night.
Nope. Not even if the world was ending. Because if any of the religions are true, she is so going to want to sleep through that shit.
So, yeah. 2AM and on (on…on…on… AS IT ECHOES THROUGH MY EMPTY BRAIN).
Ever since she learned how to climb out of her crib sleep has been a crapshoot with Marlo. Kenzie asked me if I remembered the frantic text she sent me that one awful afternoon when she was sitting in the living room having just put Marlo down for a nap and suddenly she heard a crashing thud overhead.
“Do I remember it?!” I repeated a little too emotionally. “You mean the one that said, ‘WHO WOULD YOU LIKE TO READ YOUR EULOGY?'”
Nicki Minaj after inhaling a gallon of helium. That’s who.
I was out running errands when she texted that Marlo had twice climbed out of her crib, the second time a little more dramatically than the first, and wondered if she should try to put her back in. I knew the very sad, very life-altering answer, “No.” This milestone is so immediately dangerous that you can’t ever put them back in the crib. Sadly, you cannot strap them down with rope or chain their ankles to a bar. You cannot duct tape their head to the pillow. I asked every lawyer I knew about this.
It took several weeks of failed approaches to get her to sleep through the night again, and it wasn’t until my friend Kate suggested the Cloud b ladybug night light that Marlo settled into anything resembling a normal routine. That ladybug became as important to my sanity as my prescription for Prozac, and when replacing the batteries wouldn’t fix it a few weeks ago I put the girls in the car RIGHT THEN and headed out to buy another one. She is not spoiled, no, I am just selfish. Threaten my sleep and I’d hand over my own mother to the Russians.
Strangely, Marlo didn’t want the ladybug this time:
(Remind me to tell you about Leta’s dead fish.)
Every single person who has come through this house since then has been shown “the turtle who turnsth orange!” Four out of five nights are good nights because of this little dude. But then there are nights like Friday where not even he can work his magic and she thinks, IT IS TIME TO FUCK SHIT UP, and by SHIT I mean MY MOM, and by MY MOM I mean, hold on a second, the head of this bat that I just chewed off is bleeding all over my pajamas.