I am not a morning person. I can’t remember a time when I have *ever* willingly sprung out of bed at the crack of dawn, not even on my wedding day. Five days a week, I’m compelled by the school run to be up and out (and reasonably presentable/coherent) by 8.30am, but every morning when the alarm goes off, my heart sinks when I realise I can’t linger another moment in my warm, cosy bed.
Unfortunately, no one told my children that Mummy is Not At Her Best in the morning. It would appear that their waking-up genes come not from me or DH (who is equally bear-like pre-9am), but from their great-grandma, who can often be found watering her garden or washing her car at 5am. The Boy generally starts crashing around in his bedroom somewhere around 6.30am, while The Baby’s internal alarm clock goes off anywhere between 5am and 6am. Yeah, ouch.
Much as I love The Baby, I do not want to start my day at a time beginning with five (or six, for that matter). So when she wakes, I bring her into my bed, and there begins an hour-long farce where I delude myself that she’ll go back to sleep, while she wriggles, grunts and pummels me like a kitten trying to get comfy. Meanwhile, DH snores on beside me, unaware of the smouldering ball of resentment lying next to him, until at about 6.45am, I give up, stop pinning The Baby to the mattress, and let her go and whack him in the face.
If I were asked to name the thing I miss most about my child-free life, lie-ins would have to top the list. Oh, how I loved those lazy Saturday and Sunday mornings, free from alarm clocks and early-morning showers and packed commuter trains. And how I loved the fact that I could stay up as late as I liked on Friday and Saturday evenings, drink wine, watch a film, even – shock, horror – go out, knowing that I could make up for lost sleep the next morning.
In the year or so before The Baby was born, we’d begun to reclaim our weekend lie-ins. Not simultaneously, of course, but each weekend, we’d take it in turns to get up with The Boy – one on Saturday, one on Sunday – while the other stayed in bed. It was never *quite* the same as a pre-baby lie-in (The Boy’s voice carries a very long way…) but it still felt pretty blissful. But then along came The Baby, and we were back to square one again.
This morning, though, was different. The Baby has been waking especially early lately, and over the past few days, she’s notched up a lovely succession of 5.10, 5.20 and 5.40ams. Yawn. So this morning, when, after I’d taken her downstairs for breakfast, then brought her back up to my bed to breastfeed her (all while DH slept on), she wandered off into her brother’s room, it was more than I could do to prise myself off the mattress to remove her.
The top stairgate was shut, so I lay there and listened for a few moments. All seemed calm; I couldn’t hear any wailing from The Baby or protestations from The Boy about his annoying little sister. So I thought I’d stay in bed just a few minutes more…
The next thing I knew, I’d opened my eyes and it was 8.20am. DH was still asleep beside me, and from The Boy’s room, I could hear nothing but contented babbling. I’d dozed for 45 minutes, and in that time, The Boy and The Baby had played (or co-existed) so nicely together that I hadn’t been woken by a single cry or cross word. I crept into his room, and there they both were, surrounded by just about every toy and book The Boy owns, but perfectly happy.
This, I can tell you, is a revelation. At six and a half, The Boy (sadly) isn’t old enough to be left in charge of his baby sister while we go to the cinema or out for dinner, but it would appear that he’s more than capable of keeping her occupied for an hour while I recover from a week of 5am wake-up calls – and actually enjoying her company. Suddenly, the prospect of the occasional lie-in doesn’t seem such a pipe dream. And better still, I can foresee a time, in 18 months or thereabouts, when The Boy and The Baby might actually be able to come downstairs together, have breakfast and watch a DVD, leaving both DH and I to sleep in.
I seriously cannot wait.
Now, does anyone want to help me tidy this bedroom?