An evening

Every weekday morning for the past couple of months I have had but one thought, and that thought is, "We have GOT to get ourselves together here, people." Remember when I talked about the lovely afternoons I spend with my children? They're still lovely, and I anticipate them remaining that way. And thank the little baby Jesus for that, because our mornings continue to resemble a badly planned circus show.

To be fair, there are exceptions to the rule, but they are exceptions. The mornings when J gets up at 6 and I awake to the smell of coffee brewing, and we have the time to coax our darling girl - whose general attitude upon waking is to abandon all normal attempts at human language in favor of extensive, almost artistic whines - down the stairs and out the door to school.

But that's not the norm. The norm is what we do most mornings, which is throw her clothes on at breakneck speed, bribing her with the promise of a banana if she gets ready in a timely manner, while rushing in and out of rooms getting dressed ourselves.

That's right, we can still bribe her with a banana. I guess I'd better be thankful as hell for that.

Where's Gabriel during all this commotion? Most mornings, your guess is as good as mine.

Adding to the problem, or perhaps helping to create it, is that the baby, our once-excellent sleeper, has had a couple of ear infections in recent months, thus once again waking up in the middle of the night, refusing anything but the breast as means of comfort. That is, my breast. Breasts. Both of them.

When I'd try sending J in the room, I would immediately hear Gabe's cries increase tenfold. Like, "You guys have got to be kidding me. You know exactly what I want and this is not even remotely anything like it."

So, this is life.

This week, however, I had a bit of a breakthrough. Maybe it's because we've got busy months ahead, including several weekend trips away, and I need some normalcy in my life, or maybe it was simply because I was sick of stumbling back and forth between the dark rooms upstairs in our house, without so much as an estimate the next morning of how many hours I'd slept, and how many I'd been awake.

Our mornings have got to improve. But first, we've got to work on our nights.

Letting a baby "cry it out" is a tough thing. I have absolutely no problem doing it and we had great success with just two nights of minimal crying, followed by sleeping through the night, when Gabe was four months old. But you've got to dedicate yourself to a plan when it comes to babies and sleeping, because when you're half-awake and you know a few minutes of breastfeeding is going to do the trick, it's easy to give in.

And that's no problem if you don't mind doing it. But I was positive our boy didn't need the nutrition he was getting in mere minutes of nursing a couple times in the early morning hours and, on the flipside, those "mere minutes" were making me feel like a constant zombie.

It had to go. So I made a decision that the nighttime nursing was over. But as we all know, breaking habits is hard, so it's been a rough week. Some serious tears, J intervening at times to do a little rocking back to sleep, and Gabe having to learn that that is the new normal.

I see brighter times ahead. I see them through a million cups of coffee.

I see them, despite our rather exceptional night last night, which involved J and I passing out in bed after making a wonderful Valentine's dinner together, and Gabe waking at 3 a.m., and then J's attempt at soothing him, followed by him not being soothed, followed by more fervent rounds of crying, followed by repeat - and successful! - soothing attempts administered while I (and my breasts) were shut away behind the guest room door in an attempt to distance myself from the volatile situation, followed by muffled sniffles coming from the hallway in the form of our daughter, who had wet the bed, who I then changed and put into the bed with us, where all three of us slept side by cramped side until just past 7 a.m., which, because we had to be out of the house by 8, was late, and so, another crazy morning.

The brighter, more well-rested times, though. Coming!

We have plenty of things to work out in the process, I realize. If, for instance, you want to know why we let our daughter, who, as you know, has had a tough time with potty training, wear underwear to bed just because she felt really strongly that we allow her to do that, the answer is I don't really know.

I'll try to explain it to you if you want, however, over a nice, strong drink. Vodka martini with olives. Thank you.