On resetting the parenting clock

The stirrings of the morning happened today at 5:30 a.m. We heard the baby babbling. Then Sam started calling to us that the baby was up.

Every morning at this time (literally, every single time), Nat and I hold out hope they will fall back asleep.

They never, ever do. Not once. And yet? The hope is still there. (Hope is the thing with feathers…feathers which are suffering from acute sleep exhaustion.)

I curled into Nat’s warm body, desperate for just five more minutes of being left alone. Alone with him. He sighed.

We’re both so tired.

“This isn’t forever,” I whispered to him.

He put the pillow over his head. “Unless they kill us first.”


I think I realized just how hard it was going to be the first day I came home from the hospital with Kit.

“Oh, shit,” I thought that first day, and then most of the time thereafter. “Ohhhh, shit.”

With the advent of the baby — our glorious, perfect, wonderful, loving, amazing baby Kit— we reset the parenting clock.

As soon as Sam hit 2.5, I felt this … weight being lifted from us. We were so close to having a little autonomy. We could probably call a grandparent to have them watch Sam for a whole night while we escaped. He’s a good conversationalist and can wipe himself — what more does a house guest need to know?  We would be able to go away for a night, eat at a nice restaurant. Talk to one another, get some sleep. And have unrushed, unhurried, non-obligatory sex.

And then we went and had a second baby. The baby who completed my heart. But who also makes it so we’re never going to get a night away ever again.

So I spend a lot of time thinking about the passage of time. Will Nat and I be able to get away for a night in four years? Five? Six? How old do you have to be to go to sleepaway camp? How many months should you know a babysitter until you ask them to stay the night and get up with your children? Will you ever be sure they won’t molest them?  When would I feel comfortable even asking this of anyone? (I think the answer to that last question is “never.”)

I worry about a marriage surviving without having any time to actually care for it. I worry that it will slip away.  In seven years, when Kit is 7 and Sam is 11, we  could probably stick them in summer camp (right?) or at least Sam could be in camp and Kit could be at a friend’s or at a grandparent’s. But in 7 years, I’m going to look like Large Marge. Will Nat still want to talk to me? Touch me? Will we have anything to talk about? Will it be exciting or will we still feel like roommates who also happen to be indentured servants?

I don’t have the answer. All I know is, we’re in this for the long haul. There is no one better for me. And he is too scared of me to leave. So that’s it. We’re just going to have to white-knuckle it for a bit. 


The other day, I was on the treadmill and an album came on my Spotify I hadn’t heard in years and years. It was an album I listened to constantly in my 20s (Menomena’s “I Am The Fun Blame Monster!”).

I had totally and utterly forgotten about this album. How could I have let that happen? And yet, I did. It’s perfect. It’s amazing. It’s so good. But I didn’t listen to it for years and years. Life got in the way and something splendid hid for a bit, always there but never in focus.  When it came on, it floored me with the alchemy only music can do. And I think that once Nat and I are together again and there is time for us, it will be like that. Like your favorite album from years ago, on repeat. Exciting and familiar, all at the same time.

Or at least I hope so.

Until then, send help?

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