Last month I remember throwing back the covers with force as Kate woke me up for yet another late-night feeding. I stared at the clock. It was 3:45 a.m.
I thought of the Little River Band. "How Long Has This Been Going On?" I asked myself. And when will it ever end?
I was completely burnt out on getting up in the middle of the night for more than a year while other parents bragged about how their babies were sleeping through the night after the third day. It seemed to never end, and there also didn't seem to be an end in sight. I would forever be stuck yawing at 3:30 p.m., looking at my running friends with jealousy while they ran ahead during out evening workouts, their bodies fresh from rest. I seemed destined to gaze at full moons the rest of my life.
I blinked my eyes, and when I opened them, two toddlers were smiling back at me, along with their brother, who now looks like he belongs in preschool.
The girls, at 15 months, in an instant, are walking now. They have hairdos and clothes worn by little girls, not babies. And they have personalities to match their button-doll cuteness. Andie, for instance, brings over an animal puzzle as soon as I get home from work. After her bath she grabs her favorite book, "Duck on Holiday," and grunts at me until I read it. When she's outside, she stands by the swingset and hollers at us until we swing her. She demands we put on her shoes as soon as she gets up, to the point where she bonked me on the head several times with them when I lay on the carpet face down, still waking up from the 6 a.m. call.
Allie says several words, including "doggie," "nose" and "Daddy" (I think she says this last one, but this might the fact that every parent wants to think their names are their babies' first words, even when they rarely are).
Jayden not only talks in complete sentences now, like a person, he can run almost as fast as me (I am not Usain Bolt, but still), he appreciates trips to the zoo (demands them, actually) and remembers on Friday that I said, three days ago, that we might go to the bounce place during our special day together. He is working on hitting a whiffle ball and can, occasionally, crack a single. He's also temperamental, stubborn and, at times, impossible, but you have to take the good with the bad.
All of this happened in the blink of eye.
Yet every day it seems like the evening never gets here. The days are long, so long at times that my energy seems to dribble through the cracks of my desk and soak into the carpet, and yet I look at the clock at it's only 3 p.m. When I get home from work, I chase down the kids, give them their baths, dress them, give them a story and put them to bed, and it seems to take forever, like a marathon that I never stop running.
When we go to bed, things are better, but I still wake up occasionally to the cries of Andie or Allie, and the milk just seeps through the bottle, like sands through an hourglass, as I yawn my way to 3:45 a.m.
I am moving through bullet time, as fast as the projectiles and as slow as the magic that makes them crawl through the air.
When did Jayden become a little boy? When did the girls, my babies, become toddlers? When did my hair become a little grayer? In the spaces during the daily grind. It's always a good reminder to enjoy the daily grind, even if it grinds too slowly at times, because you won't slow down those spaces. In fact, as you get older, they seem to speed up.
Life has two tempos, fast and slow, and a pace all its own. All you can do is follow the drumbeat and try to keep up.