At 6:55 a.m., the household sleeps, but I know it can’t last much longer. The Nordic Track calls. After splurging on a glass of wine and bruschetta late last evening, I’m well motivated to spend the time this morning. Christian’s still asleep, but I’ve given him nearly an hour past the time he intended to get up; I can’t put it off any longer. He stirs as the machine starts whirring under my feet and arms. Buries his head under the pillow.
Ten minutes later, he’s up and about, starting the long morning task of getting four children up and ready for church. He leaves the door open, and I can see across the hall into the boys’ bedroom, where creeping dawn tinges the bunk beds rose. I can hear Christian in the other room, waking Julianna and the baby, but the first pair of eyes I see are Alex’s as he raises his head off the top bunk and perches his chin on the rail, watching me. I smile and wave.
Purple flannel pajamas walk into the room. Julianna has her hands cupped over her eyes. How she doesn’t smack into things is beyond me, but it’s darned cute. “Hi, sweetie,” I say. “Did you sleep well?” She pulls her hands away and gives me The Smile as she watches.
Alex darts into the room and peers intently at my arms and legs moving in sync. When this machine was first bequeathed to us, he tried and tried to figure out how to use it, but never could. Julianna retreats to the hallway right in front of the door, where Nicholas has taken up lounging on the floor. He’s learned well from his big brother, how to lie around and not get up in the morning. An impromptu wrestling match begins on the floor in front of my bedroom. Now I have greeted my whole family, save one. Nineteen minutes on the clock, and I can hear Christian opening and closing drawers, changing Michael’s diaper. One minute, I plead silently, and here, at last, toddles my baby into the room, clad in bulky prefold and Prowrap cover, and not another stitch. He sees me on the machine he loves to play with and breaks into a big grin, and my family is at last complete.
Twenty minutes. “Hey baby boo boo!” I say as I step off the machine. “You ready to nurse?”
And another day begins.