Once upon a time, we had three babies in two and a half years. I like to say we basically didn't sleep for three years...it really was the most physically draining and exhausting experience of my life. But oh, the skills we learned! We learned how to wake up in the morning and live a normal day after sleeping no longer than an hour and a half at a time the night before. And how to function on a grand total of four hours of sleep a night, for weeks on end. We learned how to do everything with only one hand, while a baby slept or wiggled or cuddled in the other. We learned how to spend all day interpreting cries and coos and shrieks and whimpers, while still talking like (mostly) intelligent adults when speaking with someone over two feet tall.
But then they got older. We started getting more than four or five hours of sleep a night. They started walking on their own, talking with real words (English words!), and generally becoming self-sufficient little people. And when that happened, all those hard earned, bizarre new skills of ours went the way of geography facts and algebraic equations after the tests I used to cram for in high school -- they vanished. Disappeared into our rapidly retreating pasts, into the haze of sleeplessness and desperate coping mechanisms that was the previous three years of our lives. And we were really, really ok with letting them go.
And then four and a half months ago, we had another baby. On the one hand, I cannot believe how much easier it is to have just one baby than it was to have three at various stages of babyhood all at once! (Really. Now I get why people gave us funny looks all the time back then as if they were questioning our sanity. Having three babies at once instead of one at a time is insane.) But on the other hand, it's been a surprisingly tough adjustment for me to have a baby again. I think I was happily used to the independence with our older girls; last summer especially, the girls and I pretty much picked up and went wherever we wanted, and had all kinds of adventures together, and it was easy and fun all the time! I'm really glad that we had that time together, and though we're much more tied down now, I know it's coming again in the future.
In the meantime, I'm relearning how to do life with a baby. And with not enough sleep. ;) Actually, Katelyn is the best sleeper we've had, which is awesome. But even when she's only waking me up once in the night, I've been feeling the decrease in sleep. I...really don't respond well to lack of sleep. My body's ideal amount of sleep per night would be about nine hours, I think, especially since my days are so full of non-stop energy requirements with my four busy girls. Between going to bed late at night (so busy!), getting up early in the mornings (again - so busy!), and being up with Katelyn in the night, I usually get around six hours. And I know that for some people, that would be plenty! I wish it was plenty for me, but sometimes I really struggle with not having more sleep. I am trying to remember that this is another temporary season, and to not lose track of the priceless, precious things about this season with my girls just because I'm a bit sleep deprived! I don't want to just function right now, and to look back on this time later and remember myself stumbling around just frantic to keep up, grumpy, or focused more on surviving than loving.
I'm also figuring out all over again how to do life one-handed! This part is fun, because it means Katelyn is hanging out with me a lot. :) And I know...I know...I have friends reading this going, "Why isn't she using a wrap?!?! Ahhhhhh!!!!!" I love you all, and I think it's awesome that you all love using wraps -- but I don't love them. So there. ;) The other day I made raspberry bars, start to finish, with only one hand. Yes, I have mad skills!
So if you'll excuse me now, I need to go help Ashley paint her ceramic tea set, while making dinner with one hand, as I nurse Katelyn...all in my sleep. ;)