Father's Day
Heartbreak In A Cup

After Midnight

On Friday night, Pre-Third-Baby Anxiety-Inducing Imaginary Scenario #473 occurred: Alternately dealing with a newborn baby's usual night-wakings AND those of a sick, cold-ish toddler.

Ezra came down with an extra-pathetic case of the sniffles, then added a seal-like is that the croup or not the croup? cough, and proceeded to appear -- all moist-faced and miserable, his blankies in hand -- at our bedside multiple times throughout the night and early morning hours.

Usually either immediately AFTER I'd finished nursing Ike and gotten him newly settled back down to sleep, or right at the EXACT second we were treated to the thunderous sound of a freshly filled diaper.

And so, one of us would shuffle off to clumsily fumble with a diaper change while the other squinted at bottles in the medicine cabinet, debating whether to continue with the homeopathic honey-based bullshit or try to do some dosage math for the "real" stuff, all while praying that OH DEAR LORD, please please please don't let Noah wake up right now and like, vomit all over his bed to complete the unholy trifecta of late-night kid-related grossness.

I cannot tell you how much I dreaded this scenario. It very near consumed me during my pregnancy, the thought of dealing with more than one wakeful child, of going night after night with a newborn AND THEN not even getting the precious few in-between hours of sleep he would occasionally grant me because SOMEONE ELSE needed me to deal with his misery and fluids. It simply sounded like too much, something beyond my limited tolerance for sleep-deprivation, deeper than my shallow well of patience and sympathy.

(And let's not even discuss Pre-Third-Baby Anxiety-Inducing Imaginary Scenario #474, which involves all three children being awake and/or simultaneously sick, like in a real live three-ring circus version of Go the Fuck to Sleep , AND THEN there's Pre-Third-Baby Anxiety-Inducing Imaginary Scenario #475, in which I am ALSO sick, but still expected to be all Florence Nightingale for everybody else, raaaaaage.)

But of course, we all survived the night. There were some groans at the sound of the boys' bedroom door opening down the hall, less than 20 minutes after we'd foolishly carried a sleeping Ezra back to his bed in hopes that he would stay there instead of thrashing about all sideways and diagonally on ours all night, and maybe a muttered "oh GOD" or two at the sound of Ike's random snuffling and I've-got-gas-related squeaking that was juuuuust loud enough to wake me up in between all the other times I woke up.

But then there was also a moment -- sometime after the point I learned to stop torturing myself by looking at the clock -- when Ezra was sleeping quietly, spooned against Jason, his breathing finally settled by a generous dose of decongestant, and Ike dozed against me, having just slid off my breast into a milky sleep.

I realized that I could, perhaps, finally shift the baby to his swing or bassinet and carry the toddler back to his bed again and close my own eyes and...I didn't. Instead I pulled Ike closer and reached out to touch Ezra's maddeningly long, solid limbs, awed with how full of love and...yes, total happiness I felt, amazed at how ridiculous all those worries had been, in the end.

As cheesy as it sounds, I kept my eyes open because I will blink and these babies will not need me, these little boys will not want me, and I don't want to miss a second of the time when they still do. 

Even if it's after midnight. Or later. Or much later.

(Or...moister and messier than I may have preferred.)

Photo (34)



Awww, love this!


You are such a good writer. *sniff*

Jessica V

So, so very sweet. And your comment about them not needing you in the future struck a particular chord with me. We are going through some growing up transitions right now (getting rid of the crib, dropping my 6 y.o. off at day camp this morning and being so completely overwhelmed by it all) and it is all just happening too fast. Sniff.

kari weber

I also don't prefer the moist and messy... Mostly because I don't like the word "moist" for just this reason. Think of what you used it to describe... now use the same word to describe cake. Still want the cake? I thought not...



Beautiful post, Amy. Is that Noah or Ezra in the photo with Ike?


EXACTLY. Please convey that sentiment to my husband because sometimes he doesn’t get why it is harder for me to end the co-sleeping than it is for our son. Because three years has gone by with lightning speed and soon he will be kicking me out of his room and dammit, I’m going to snuggle him all I can while he will let me.


Way to make me cry, Amy.

Sheesh. I wasn't told that my baby growing up was part of this deal.


I just think you're amazing. The writing and how you seem to handle everything. I'm an absolute wreck with two. We've been through the very sick toddler, then sick baby (followed by a 4 day (precautionary) hospital stay), and sick me thing... It knocked me out. I hope my three year old doesn't need therapy after that particular parenting failure.


I only have two boys but had the same anxiety come true after #2 was born when my toddler was lethargic with a high fever three days after the baby came home from the hospital. Luckily a cool bath and Motrin prevented him from having to go to the ER on Saturday night. We were all up multiple times that night. A week later I got to enjoy the virus while also dealing with the baby's first growth spurt ( all night nursing). Good for you to ge able to enjoy a sweet moment in the middle of everything.


I think that feeling that you described there at the end was what got me through 3.5 months of insane colic while also tending to a 4-year-old and working full-time. Thank God for that wonderful, mushy, fantastic mommy love!


Awesome....beautifully written.
Both of my boys were sleeping (3 months and 5 years)the other day and I sat there looking from one to the other. How does one so small turn into that big, boyish kid. It is nothing short of magical and unfair at the same time. I needed to cook and clean and shower and...but just look! I couldn't get up.


I love this post...largely because I am the mom of three boys and I DID close my eyes for just a moment and they are almost 21; 18 and even my "bonus blessing" is 12...sigh. I recently read a quote that perfectly sums up parenting for me: the days are long but the years are short. Are they ever. I LOVE that you already get that even in the midst of moistness and messiness! Enjoy!

drowsybutawake (Compa)

It's hard, the two people needing you at once thing. My little people are 8, 2, &1 and sadly I have grown accustomed to hearing one cry while I tend to the other and just when I think the one I'm caring for is satiated a roar of outrage when I go to help the crying toddler. I am just trying to have faith that we'll all make it through relatively unscathed ;)

Parsing Nonsense

Too true! We'll wake up one morning when our kids are grown and out of the house and yearn for just one more night wherein our simple presence was sufficient to right all the wrongs in our kids' lives.


That is super sweet..and something I try to remind myself of often.

I also remember the night when my third was still a newborn and my husband slept in the basement and THE DOG woke me up because he was sick. He's extremely lucky we kept him.


Regarding Scenario #475: you will never be sick again. I mean, you WILL. But you will not be allowed to. And no one will notice when you are. They will all whine and gripe when THEY fall sick, and you will say, "Yes, I know. Where do you think you caught it? I had that all last week!" and they will shrug and dismiss you.


I was snooping through your archives while I was supposed to be working this morning, and remembering reading your blog back in the old days (but really not so very long ago) when you thought THIS might never happen. 3 boys. Wow.

I'm very happy for you.


Dammit, woman, stop making me cry.


I returned to work today after 12 days of glorious maternity leave. Reading this post was the third time I've cried today.

Thanks for sharing.


Err...12 weeks. Sleep deprivation and watery eyes and all that.


My favorite part of this whole awesome post was the part about Ezra's blankies. Because as grown up as he (and my own son) seems, the need to carry around a scruffy old blankie shows how vulnerable he still is. *Sniffle*



I'm here right now, with a toddler who has suddenly decided to stop sleeping through the night plus two reflux-y 6-week-olds. It is hard. Really freaking hard.

But my twins spent the first two weeks of their life in the NICU, and my 2-year-old - as big as he suddenly seems - is still my baby. Someday I'll be broken-hearted that they don't need me anymore. Right now I might cry from exhaustion, but damn I am happy.


My third was just home from the hospital a day or two when my middle child got a stomach virus and we had to quarantine her with Daddy and sister in one part of the house and the brand spankin' new baby and I in the other part of the house. It was HEARTBREAKING to have to tell her "Mommy can't snuggle with you now because I have to keep baby safe." Killed me.

A couple weeks later (less than two, I think) my oldest went to the ER with what we thought was appendicitis - turned out it was a bladder infection and influenza A. I couldn't go with her to the ER because of the new, breastfeeding baby, and while her daddy did fine, it broke my flippin' heart. We had to quarantine half the family again, and we weren't exactly sure where to put the middle kid - with the sicky and risk her getting sick again, or with the baby and risk her being a carrier? We ran out of adults. It SUCKED.

But we managed and we're all fine. You'll blink and Ike will be 6 months old. I just took mine to his 6 month visit today, which required an xray (hip displasia?! I thought dogs got that!) but it turned out fine in the end (xray was negative).


My daughter is two weeks older than Ike and my first born is 5. This was our life just one night ago. The oldest throwing up with a fever of 102, me breastfeeding the newborn while trying to keep her older brother from breathing directly on her and then somewhere around 5 am we all collapsed into a tangled co-sleeping mess. I thought I definitely succumb to the illness based on lack of sleep alone, but so far so good. Everything (except the laundry generated) is recovered and fine.


I am so happy for you Any.
We are so different. I am so pleased that both of my children are now graduated from high school and in college. I will always welcome them back for a visit but I don't want to live with them ever again.
I want to be with the man I love, their Dad, the love of my life, without any more interuptions.
Yes I am a selifsh person.
Your kids are adorable.


Exactly. Perfectly captured.


My oldest is newly 4, the middle will be 3 soon, and the baby is 6 months--all boys, like you, and all growing up too soon...even when you don't get enough sleep and you're grouchy and covered with fluids of one sort or another, that thought of "this is going too fast" makes it bearable. Yay babies and wishing you peaceful, not-sleep-interrupted nights.


Tears in my eyes because I completely understand. I only have one (for now), and she's only nine months, but I'm already dreading the inevitable not-needing-Mom-anymore.


When my youngest was 3 weeks old my older 2(2 and 6 at the time) both came down with a stomach bug and VOMITED ALL NIGHT LONG!! 3 years later, I still haven't figured out how to nurse and hold hair out of the why whilst the Big Kids are vomiting in the toilet!


Have you ever read that Ya-Ya Sisterhood book? There's a magical scene in which one of the lead characters experiences scenarios 474 & 475 in the same night, effectively driving her deep into alcoholism and causing her to lose her mind. Like, she literally goes craaaaaaazaaaaaay.


No newborns here, but a 4yo less than a week out of a tonsillectomy and an 18mo going through a mommy phase, and boy howdy, I feel streeeeetcccchhhed. But needed and loved. this picture of Ike and Ezra is much more peaceful than the last ;-)

Jenny H.

Don't blink! We are now in mostly the same boat, except my third child(also the third boy!) is somehow almost fifteen months old. And I am fairly certain we just brought him home from the hospital yesterday. Or at the very least last week...stupid time. It ruins everything. You DO gots some cute babies though!


You are so right, blink twice and they will be grown up. Enjoy every minute! You will be a pro at handling all this in no time.

katie c.

I have been there...imagine 3 kids and both parents suffering from the norovirus. At the same time! We all slept bunched together in two beds with buckets and towels. Not fun...but we survived and we came out knowing we were strong enough to do it!


The love that just overwhelms you...*sigh*...

They are soooo cute...both of them, of course...but, those eyes...those big beautiful eyes...


yesss, enjoy every moist and messy second. Tearing up right now because my babies are now 15 and 12 and I miss it! Loving to get to know them as young men but I really miss those lil guys and them needing me. You are so very blessed.


One day they won't need us, it's true. Until then, we try to stop the clock as much as possible.



I blinked, and mine were 16 & 19. Glad you kept your eyes open.

Beautiful post.


I can very much relate to you, and to this post. I have three boys, just like you. And when I was pregnant with my third (who is now 2), I was an absolute MESS of worry and anxiety over scenarios just like this one.

But then the baby arrived, and the scenario materialized, and ... and ... it just wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.

It seems that even though your days and nights are full, the fullness of your heart goes very far toward compensating for it.

Best wishes, my fellow three-boy mama!


Beautiful post and thanks for the reminder to savor life's special moments.


"As cheesy as it sounds, I kept my eyes open because I will blink and these babies will not need me, these little boys will not want me, and I don't want to miss a second of the time when they still do."

You got it, momma. My baby boys are now 9, 7 and almost 6. I blinked.

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