We get up early around here. The kids have to be at the bus stop by seven, which means that the littles wake up at six, which means that I–in order to have time to shower and be human enough to help the girls get dressed and do hair, etc–get up around 5:30.
I’m so not a morning person. You have no idea how much not.
My three-year old is in that weird place where she sometimes doesn’t need a nap and she sometimes does. So planning my day is a little like playing Russian Roulette. If I plan a nap time for her, chances are she’ll riot. If I don’t plan a nap time for her, chances are she’ll melt down.
This girl is as unique as they come. She has all sorts of adorable quirks (she can only poop in the toilet when she’s pretending to be a dragon) and funny quotes (“I’m the Doctor and I SAVE BANANAS!”) and she keeps us in stitches pretty much all of the time. One of her latest quirks is a funny little thing we’ve dubbed NumberSpeak.
When she gets tired, she talks like this:
“Mom, I’m so forty-five ninety-six seven eight ten HUNGRY.”
“Hey, did you see fifteen one two three sixty-teen five black blankie?”
“I’m so eighty-four five six seven eight nine one-hundred TIRED. Wait, I’m not tired. NOT TIRED. NOT TIRED FIVE FOUR ONE NINETEEN SIX.”
Yesterday we were at the grocery store and the NumberSpeak started. She was sitting in the seat of the cart, making her body as rigid as a board chanting FIVE SIX SEVEN EIGHTEEN TWENTY-FIVE THIRTY-SEVEN EIGHTY-ONE MOM I NOT TIRED I NO TAKE A NAP SEVENTY-SEVEN FORTY-ONE MOM DID YOU HEAR ME I NOT TIRED I NO TAKE A NAP TWENTY-TWO SIXTY-EIGHT MOM DID YOU HEAR ME?
And every time I would say, Yes, darling, I heard you. No nap today. We’ll just have a cuddle when we get home (which was a total lie because it was clear to everybody within a fifteen mile radius that this kid needed a nap). By the time we got to the check-out she could hardly keep her eyes open (but somehow she’d still managed to keep her body stiff as a board). We paid for our stuff (NINE SEVEN THREE ELEVEN MOM I NOT TIRED) and loaded the groceries into the car (FIFTY-ELEVEN TWENTY-FOUR MOM I NO TAKE A NAP), buckled her into her carseat (TWELVE THIRTEEN SEVENTY-ONE MOMOMOMOMOMOMOM), drove home (NOT TIRED FORTY-SIX NO NAP TWENTY), and left the groceries in the car in an effort to get to our snuggling-not-nap as quickly as possible before the self-destruct sequence reached its ugly end.
She chanted numbers all the way to bed. Chanted numbers as I wrapped us up in a soft blanket. Chanted numbers as she drew her little fingers across my face as is her cuddling protocol. Chanted numbers as she slowly drifted off. And I held her, drinking in her uniqueness and chuckling over how the past hour and a half had proven to me that it doesn’t matter how long I’ve done this parenting gig, there’s always room for new surprises. She’s so different, so utterly different from any of our other kids. And I’ve thought that about each and every one of them at some point or another.
God, it’s cool to be a parent.
Anyway, I was laying there, holding tightly to this moment and savoring my girl, when the always-on-mom-alarm went off again: The groceries were still sitting in the back of my car. But you know what? I snoozed the siren in my head, shoved the list of all the things I still needed to accomplish that day into an overfilled mental junk drawer, and stayed in the cocoon with my girl who was not tired at all and dreaming of numbers.
TRUE STORY: I hate cold weather, but I love that my car can be a makeshift fridge if need be.