What time is it?
I ask Michael from behind the heaviness of my eyelids.
I am sitting up now, as I can hear Emily stirring in her cot.
However, this is not an I am hungry type of stirring.
Oh no! This is a hello world I am wide-awake type of stir.
She is happy.
The babble has begun. Nevertheless, I can tell by her tone, she too is surprised it is still dark outside.
Obviously, this was not part of the plan.
The birds should be singing, and the light should be beginning to peep through from the edges of the blind.
I know she is not going back down.
But I also know we will try anyway.
4:20AM is too early for little girls to be up and about, I decide as I stumble into her room, run my hand along the smooth top edge of her cot for guidance, and reach down to find my little cutie cute cute cute.
She is so excited to see me, and to be honest I cannot resist a smile.
My heart bursts with love when I hear the happiness in her breath, and the rush of her bouncy Elvis hips as I approach.
There is so no way she is going back down, I think to myself as I pick her up, and have that little face close to mine, and those little frog legs against my belly.
We have not had enough time together over the last couple of days, and I think we are both feeling the need to be physically close, and to reconnect.
She is so adorable!
I carry her into our bed, where Michael too has dragged himself from a deep snoring slumber, and prepared her bottle.
I offer her my breast, but she is too excited to see her daddy, and cannot possibly focus.
The only time she truly seems to enjoy my milk, is at 5:00PM in the afternoon, once we have come home from the park. However, I think that is because there is nothing else on offer at the time.
However sometimes at 12:00AM, there is nothing quite as good as a drink from mummy.
Alternatively, if I am really really lucky, and nobody else is around, I can get an 11:00AM long languorous feed, just after she is woken up from a nap.
Every other time, she uses me as a stepping-stone to something else.
Truth be told, if I think about it, is a nice problem to have.
Michael takes her, and offers her the nourishing liquid.
We know she is old enough to hold the bottle herself, but feeding her is one of the many tools we use to build our relationship with one another.
I mean dad jokes can only get a man so far, right?
Therefore, we give her a cuddle while she drinks.
Because who doesn’t like a cuddle?
I cannot help but take a quick look at what they are doing.
I know I am not supposed to engage with her, but at the same time, if she glances over I do not want her to see a grumpy face.
Therefore, even though I am supposed to be asleep, I smile in acknowledgement of our interaction.
I mean, those little legs up in the air are so cute, as she, suck suck sucks away.
I wonder what muscles she is trying to strengthen as she bends herself into positions I can only dream about.
Oh, there is so no way she is going back down, I think to myself as I watch her play with her foot fingers.
Because that is what they are – just another tool she can use to pick things up, turn them over, and put them in her mouth.
But I know we will try.
Michael will take her back to bed, we will almost get her to sleep on several occasions, and then we will give up, and bring her in with us.
She will pull my hair, pick my nose, twist my ear, poke my eyes, rub my eyebrows, slap my arm, and kick my belly.
She will gurgle happily, wriggle toward daddy, wriggle back into mummy, spit her dummy out a million times, and maybe just maybe, she will go back to sleep.
She will have a cuddle and a doze with each of us, before one of us relents, and takes her down stairs.
If it is Michael, he will put her on the sheepskin rug where she will play, while he begins his round of morning chores.
Unload the dishwasher, load the washing machine, drink two cups of coffee, hang the washing out, take the garbage out if he forgot the evening before, give her something for breakfast, maybe go to the park for a quick swing, and so on.
If it is me, I will put her on the sheepskin rug, curl up on the lounge, feel guilty I am not doing anything else, and check LinkedIn or Facebook.
I will consider sneaking in a quick yoga session, or taking her to the park, but it is unlikely either of these scenarios will come to fruition.
Although I prefer the park early in the day when it is unlikely, we will have to share the equipment.
Not because I do not like the company, but just because it is easier to manage by ourselves.
Whenever there are other kids to play with, part of me is excited because I know how much Emily enjoys the interaction, but part of me is anxious, because what if I run into or trip over them?
I wish all kids could wear bells, beepers, or squeaky shoes.
They are so quick, and often surprisingly silent.
So instead, I will watch her talk to her toys, turn in a slow circle like a sundial, and wonder how I am going to keep her amused for the rest of the day.
She will be happy enough.
However, it will cost me in the form of a guilty conscience.
Of course, I want to be the “perfect” over achieving mother… Always engaged, always completely present, and never distracted.
Snuggled under a blanket watching her, I have no problem with observing as she plays.
If it were a book, I was reading, or something I were writing, of course that would be fine.
It is my dirty little Social Media habit, which bothers me.
I really need to give that shit up.
Ok, so maybe not give it up entirely, but modify when and where I engage.
I mean what type of example am I setting for Little?
As it is, she is far too fascinated with my phone.
There is no escaping the fact, if I did not spend so much time on it in front of her, she would not be nearly as interested in the little black box.
Sure, I can justify it by saying it keeps me connected, it is easier than going to the park, meeting for coffee, or any other number of real world experiences, but…
However, let us be honest; I am not really doing or being the best I can, am I?
Especially when I have other options. Moreover, the responsibility really is on me to modify my behaviour.
Sometimes I think Michael is so much more cut out for this parenting caper than I am.
He never seems to be at a loss as to how to keep her occupied.
Mind you I say that, but I remember in the early days, he confessed, that when getting her dressed, he could only go to the one drawer, because anything else was too overwhelming, and too much to think about.
I remember being surprised by his revelation, because he seemed so on top of this parenting thing.
I mean he just looked like he had it all together.
Whereas my anxiety regarding her clothing stemmed from trying to get her into as many outfits as possible, before she grew out of them.
But none of this matters.
Because it won’t always be like this!
Good, bad, trying, or triumph, it won’t always be like this.
And that ladies and gentlemen, is my blind mama mantra.
Later when Michael goes for a swim, and I put baby girl down for a nap, be it in her cot, or on my bed, depending on where Queen Emily would prefer. And she wakes looking for me; I will leave my coffee to go cold, my blog half finished, my hair unbrushed, or whatever other task I may be in the midst of, and I will happily curl up with her while she chatters and plays quietly in the security of my arms until she falls asleep again.
We will probably spend most of the day together playing with her toys on the lounge room floor.
I won’t have a shower, and I will probably forget to have lunch.
She will steel my spoon.
In terms of outward productivity, I will achieve nothing.
No matter, because I get to see those sparkling blue eyes, cheeky grin, and those chubby little running legs at work.
Because I know, I know it won’t always be like this.
It will be too soon before my big girl baby girl is even bigger, and needs me less.
And it is this, which has me wondering….
Have I created this early morning wake up call in order to feel loved and needed?
Am I that woman?
Good Lord I hope not.
But am I?
My unconscious has some pretty weird and twisted logic when it comes to my motivations.
On the other hand, there are mornings I too simply wake up at a ridiculous time, and am so full of beans and ready to start my day, going back to sleep seems impossible.
So maybe that is all it is. If it were 5:20AM I would surrender, and get up straight away.
However, this is a tad too early to start our day.
Not to mention, part of me expects those twelve beautiful hours of baby sleep in the evenings.
After all, that is what the science tells us.
Babies need sleep.
Sleep promotes sleep.
Sleep helps babies grow…
Nevertheless, what the science does not tell you is how to make it happen.
Not in any real sure fire practical way anyway.
We all remember the bad baby book post, right?
Not that that thing was based on scientific evidence. However, I still feel judged by it, and as though somehow I do not measure up.
Theory is one thing, but by God reality is entirely another.
So I will worry I am not doing enough.
I will worry I am taking this mothering thing too seriously.
I will worry for the things I used to worry about but did not have too.
And I will worry for the future…
I will worry about how we are going to pay the rent.
I will worry about what we will do if we cannot.
I am so caught in the web of survival, that I can no longer wonder how we will ever afford our own home, a new car, or pre-school for Little.
Let alone a holiday, dining room chairs that aren’t broken, my first aid certificate which is up for renewal, or any number of big, small, or middle sized items, goals, or experiences.
Going back to university seems like an impossible dream, even though my intuition tells me it is a good move.
I miss the rigours of academic life, both personally and professionally.
It has occurred to me lately that I would not mind leaving Little so often, if I had a job I truly enjoyed.
However, I know I only remedial massage because I do not feel worthy of anything else.
It is my discomfort zone of sorts.
I know it, so I stay with it. Even though there are a thousand other things, I would rather be doing.
I justify it by saying it pays the bills, and I am good at it.
Moreover, to a certain degree, each are true, but they are not enough.
Because really… really it does not pay the bills.
It was an ok way to live when I was single, because the ups and downs of the industry were neither here nor there. Partly because I could make up the hours if need be, and partly because obviously it was only me. Therefore, who cared if I ate pasta for a week.
However, these days, this financial fickleness does not guarantee there will be enough money for nappies, new shoes, or necessities at the end of the month.
What amazes me is; I have never actually seen it for what it is.
I think a commission only pay structure is ludicrous, and I certainly would not choose it for myself.
I have always laughed at people who have taken that path.
And by laughed I mean judged it as irresponsible, high risk, and absolutely crazy.
I mean it might be ok if you are a real estate agent or something, where the pay offs are massive in comparison to what I earn, but really?
Why would you?
But Good God! That is exactly what I have been doing.
And for years!
However, it is more than just the money.
I have tried to charge more, and still I have not found the contentment or satisfaction I have been seeking.
I understand I operate in terms of ego a lot of the time, but this. This is ridiculous. I feel like I was almost bullied into this occupation twenty years ago, and have not found a way to escape. Despite having numerous qualifications enabling me to work in various other professions.
Clearly, we need another plan.
Because this one, all be it a temporary one, is not working.
The problem is I literally cannot imagine anything beyond this daily scrimping and scraping.
I wonder how it has come to this?
I seem to have lost touch with the business, and the ambitions we have for it.
Everything feels blocked and broken.
I am plagued with doubts, why bothers, what’s the points, and its impossibles…
If I just got a proper job, then we would be in a better place…
At least that is what I tell myself.
Now if only I believed it.
If only I could find the words within this vast and intricate language to write the killer website copy, but it simply is not coming to me.
I have come to terms the graphics, and to a certain extent, the layout is out of my reach, but there are things I can do, which are not being done.
The whole thing is far more detailed and complex than I thought. In addition, I am buried under a mountain of how am I going to get this dones?
Now before you rush to point out the irony of my harsh views regarding no sale no pay, yet I am willing to take the gamble on owning a business. I already know.
However, I am beginning to wonder if I have some serious beliefs and issues around prosperity that I really ought to work on before getting any further into this venture.
The difference with this, and what I have always done, is this means something to me.
This, if I can make it work, will not only make a difference to my family and me but to people all around the world.
And what is not to like about that?
In the meantime, we need another plan.
However for the moment, really all I want to do is throw caution to the wind, take my little girl downstairs so daddy can get some sleep, and watch her play in the soft yellow light of the tall lamp.
However, if I do that, won’t it set a precedent?
Won’t she then want to be up all the time?
How will that teach her the difference between day and night?
What if she learns to sleep all day instead?
The questions are endless.
Therefore, I persevere in holding her close, and trying to comfort her to sleep in our bed.
Because that is what “good”, parents are supposed to do.
And because there is nothing else for it, but to lay awake, in the most contorted but who cares because the baby is asleep position, and think.
I think about how much of our parenting methodology and practice is based on our instincts, and how much is it based on peer pressure, social acceptance, and the collective consciousness of the tribe.
I think about a lot of things.