I

The Enterprise - - Classified - Twit­ter: @right­meg

thought morn­ings would get eas­ier.

And they have . . . for the most part. It re­ally de­pends on the day — and whether I’ve had at least half a cup of cof­fee be­fore the first child stirs.

It’s true that ev­ery­one in my house is sleep­ing more, and that makes all the dif­fer­ence. Those up-ev­ery-two-hours new­born nights are tough. Our daugh­ter has proven to be a much more re­li­able sleeper than our older son ever was, and I’m grate­ful for that. But, with young kids, there are still plenty of rest­less nights. Still lots of strange sounds that trig­ger cries at 2 a.m. Plenty of fevers and ill­nesses and re­quests for choco­late milk be­fore day­light.

I have to dig deep in those mo­ments. When one or both of them hollers, my hus­band and I have an un­spo­ken agree­ment that he will tend to Hadley while I go to Oliver. If Ol­lie is up, I’m up. If Hadley is up . . . I’m usu­ally up, too, but not be­cause Spencer nec­es­sar­ily needs me to be. We are equal part­ners, and we try to split the bur­den of ex­haus­tion as best we can.

Still, of course, I can’t sleep when the noise reaches a cer­tain level. I’m worried. Is some­one sick? Teething? Scared? Hav­ing night­mares? Freez­ing cold? Though I’m hot-blooded by na­ture and my sweaty kids seem to be, too, I’m al­ways con­cerned they’re some­how chilly in their dark rooms.

Why is that? Be­com­ing a par­ent seems in­trin­si­cally tied to sud­denly ob­sess­ing about jack­ets and blan­kets and socks. I walk around bare­foot 99 per­cent of the time, and pre­fer a light sweater to a coat. I hate be­ing hot. Yet some­how, where my kids are con­cerned, I will cover them with flan­nel in the dead of July to make sure they’re “com­fort­able.”

I don’t know. Ques­tions with­out an­swers.

Hadley is now 18 months old and ab­so­lutely her own lit­tle per­son. Af­ter a few fits and starts, she be­gan walk­ing last month. She is now free to move about the liv­ing room in pur­suit of all the toys her brother steals, and fol­low us into the kitchen to make sure we’re not eat­ing any­thing good with­out her. Life-chang­ing for all of us.

I love see­ing my daugh­ter’s mis­chievous smile as she peeks out from be­neath the kitchen ta­ble, where she and Oliver have cre­ated a fort, and the gig­gles Hadley makes in re­sponse to a silly face I didn’t even re­al­ize I was mak­ing.

What I don’t love? Teething. So much teething.

I re­mind my­self that the last time Oliver was go­ing through a re­ally sleep re­gres­sion, Hadley her­self was a new­born. There were a few dark, hazy months in which Spencer would fi­nally get our daugh­ter down only for Oliver to wake up in tears. This would re­peat ev­ery few hours, night af­ter night, with only sweet cof­fee in the morn­ing to of­fer any respite.

Hadley is growing quickly, and I think that growth spurt — combined with the teething pain — has her un­set­tled at night again. That means the morn­ings, al­ready a hot­bed of chaos, are dou­bly rough.

I’ve worked out a pretty good sys­tem where I bring Hadley into three-year-old Oliver’s room to help me wake him each day. While she is up early, un­set­tled and ask­ing to “eat, eat!” while I have one eye open, Ol­lie now sleeps deeply — and hates when I creep up to get him ready for day care.

Wak­ing kids up isn’t fun for any­one. For starters, it just feels wrong. I’ve spent the ma­jor­ity of the last few years trying to get th­ese small peo­ple to close their per­sis­tent lit­tle eyes, so it’s al­most phys­i­cally painful for me to rouse my tor­nado son be­fore he’s ready.

And he’s never ready. Fore­shad­ow­ing the teen years to come, I’m sure, most morn­ings I’m now met with “leave me alone!” as soon as Hadley and I cross the thresh­old to his room.

“I can’t,” I say. “I love you too much!”

And he groans and pulls his quilt high above his head, where his sis­ter can’t reach him.

We go on like this for 10 min­utes or so. I get Hadley changed and dressed while he bur­rows deeper un­der his cov­ers. I’ve tried en­tic­ing him out with talk of “toast with but­ter,” prac­ti­cally its own food group, but the most ef­fec­tive way to get him mov­ing is . . . well, I’m not proud of it, but have to use what I’ve got.

“Ooh, Hadley,” I’ll coo, “isn’t that a nice red truck?”

You’ve never seen a tod­dler move so quickly.

“Hey! That’s my truck!” Ol­lie will boom, throw­ing back his quilt to re­veal some se­ri­ous bed­head. “Mommy, Hadley has my truck!”

“She does. Yep. Hadley, can we give that to your brother? Maybe you should bring it down­stairs, Ol­lie.”

That’s the next phase: de­cid­ing which toys need to make the trip down­stairs while Hadley fights to get out of my arms. Two in­de­pen­dent chil­dren we’re rais­ing — or trying to, any­way. Opin­ion­ated, cer­tainly. Docile? Never.

By the time I’ve wres­tled both of them to their re­spec­tive class­rooms and re­turned to the van to con­tinue my com­mute, I could go back to bed.

But ah, re­spon­si­bil­i­ties beckon. And so does my pump­kin spice cof­fee.

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