My child, once angelic and gentle, is now a loud-mouthed, strong-willed, pint-sized terrorist. And when he’s not being a manipulative, excitable, mischievious, giggling little hooligan, he’s asleep, but for a few hours at a time. Because sleep for any longer is a myth and on a wish-list at this stage in our lives. It’s teething, you see. My worst part of parenting and truly the hardest, most challenging part of child rearing that nobody ever warned me about. This week alone, Jon and I have been in more tears than Aiden over the lack of sleep, tantrums, refusal to—
Aaaaaand that’s as far as I got with that post a few weeks ago because I fell asleep on my MacBook. Haha. Motherhood, whilst trying at times, is incredibly challenging and rewarding for one’s personality. You see – although parenthood isn’t a phase but a lifetime commitment, I kind of always figured I’d bounce back to who I once was when I stopped breastfeeding a baby or that baby got big enough to communicate beyond waaaaahs and googoogaagaas. But nope, I’m changed forever it seems.
For instance, I’ve taken such an interest in life. I care about people littering. I want to know what’s happening with politics, local and abroad. I crave knowledge about our neighbourhood crime and goings on. Some people obsess over dogs. Others obsess over craft hobbies. Me? I’m on ALL the neighbourhood WhatsApp groups. I’m connected to all the possible groups I can be, even voluntarily taking over admin duties of a couple of them, to ensure I’m in the loop at all times. Life isn’t just about me any more. It’s not even just about me and Jon, or Aidey. It’s about his future, his children’s future and the world we’re leaving to him and his friends and their babies and their friends. My sphere zoomed out, somewhat. I care. I worry. I’m alert.
Crime is heavy right now, in the rest of the world too – yes (relax, this is not one of those posts), but crime is specifically heavy in my neighbourhood. Last night, Aiden’s principal was hijacked just a few km’s away from our home. Yesterday someone was smash-and-grabbed on a road I drive every week. At 4 am this morning our front door triggered an alarm, but by the time our security company got here (literally less than two minutes, thanks Onarmor!), whatever had triggered it had disappeared. So I’ve taken an interest and gotten involved in our community to see if what little I can assist with will make a difference.
Imagine my excitement (sarcasm font) going to bed last night after we had not had electricity since 07:30 am that morning, in the dark and nerves already shot, especially since we had all our windows open to let in fresh air in place of the aircon. Besides the house alarm going off and then the onslaught of mosquitos, the outdoor sounds kept us awake most of the night. In between that, Aiden’s monitor kept going off due to the low battery so I couldn’t relax enough to actually rest up, even though he actually slept through until 5 am. All that wasted sleep time I could have had. Will I ever sleep again? I feel like I’m jumbling from one day to the next never knowing how tired I was going to be signing up to all this.
I don’t know. But what I do know is that the older, 11:30 am sleeper-inner me laughs and laughs at how life has changed. Before Aiden, I’d never agree to anything as early enough to only have one digit in its time numbers. We’d meet for lunch or dinner, brunch at a push but then it better have been something worthy. These days, I find myself arranging play dates at 8 am on Saturdays with our friends because by then it may as well be lunch and mojito time for us anyway. And it kills the time, yo. Entertaining a near-two year old is exhausting. There’s not an hour that goes by where he isn’t asking you for something, poking your belly button, sticking his finger up your nose, then his, then both noses at the same time, looking into your eye with his eye and both hands on your cheeks to bring you in real close, eating a banana then a biscuit instead then back to the banana then the dog biscuits out Susie’s mouth, then washing his hands in Susie’s waterbowl ensuring the kitchen is flooded, then riding his bike, then raiding the (several) toy boxes, then… I’ll just stop there – I’m getting fatigued writing this out.
And yet, this morning after very little sleep, I got out of bed when Aidey woke up at 5 am singing to his teddy bears and plushies as he does every morning. Like nothing in the world was wrong, or sleepless. Like I didn’t just want a cup of steaming coffee and then to get back into bed and sleep for ten peaceful, quiet, alone hours. But I did it because Jon was already in the shower and couldn’t get there first, we didn’t have electricity anyway so coffee was out of the question, and finally, because my baby boy needed someone to bring him his milkies and cuddles in bed as we greet every single plushy in his room by name and with the associated and varied tones of voice.
Because life has changed. And I wouldn’t want it any other way.