On Friday I had a minor meltdown. For some reason it seemed like a great idea to stay up late on Thursday night watching two episodes of “Glee” back to back. Do not ask me why I did this: Charlie had gone to bed around 8pm, but after dinner and cleaning and messing around a bit online, I didn’t end up in bed until 11:30 or so, and even after that I didn’t fall asleep right away. I lay awake, thinking about how I should be sleeping, and instead mapping out plots and character sketches for imaginary novels. Then Charlie got up at midnight, and 1, and 2, and 3, and then at 5:30 she’s awake for the day and I have a lack-of-sleep migraine and feel mildly sick to my stomach.
You do strange things in states of exhaustion. There’s no way to take a day off from this job, so I break out my caffeinated coffee beans and mix up a large batch of green smoothie: because the combination of raw nutrients and caffeine seems necessary to keep me going at least through the morning. Then we run around in the yard with the dog for a while (poor dog is getting fewer walks this week with Papa away) before rushing off with a travel mug of coffee to the library one town over for a free infant massage/yoga class: I’m not awake enough to consider not going.
Perhaps yoga and massage have a particularly stimulating effect on my daughter, or perhaps the fates were punishing me for my late-night musical-sitcom-watching. Either way, Charlie takes exactly one 15-minute nap in the morning, then stays awake for the rest of the day, a ball of baby energy and good-cheer. My guilt at neglecting my dog was eating at me during our time at the library, so we take him to the cranberry bog after I wolf down some soup and a red pepper for lunch (I forgot to actually eat anything other than smoothie at breakfast, I think?). I inhale almonds and an apple while we walk, trying to eat on the go, but I catch myself stumbling over rocks and counting steps to keep myself awake.
By 3pm I’m a wreck. I lie on the floor with my overly-energetic baby on my chest until she manages to scooch her way up to my face and begins busily sucking on my chin, all the while laughing her little head off. I can’t help but laugh back, but part of me wants to cry. How will I survive until Monday, when G gets home? I don’t even have enough energy to order new diapers.
Then Charlie tumbles off my body in the moment my eyes start to close, and although she doesn’t hit the floor she starts to cry, and suddenly I get very angry at the world. I don’t even have a place to put my daughter down, for god’s sake–there’s too much dust and dog hair everywhere in this house! I hate myself for staying up late, I hate my husband for traveling, I hate the dog for shedding and needing to be walked (poor, poor dog), I hate that I quit my job and hence fired our cleaning lady, I hate dust, and I even hate Charlie just a little bit for not sleeping, although that last one is hard to admit. I’m so tired I can’t see straight, but if I stay on my back I’m liable to nod off and drop my daughter, so I get up and put her in the sling and start vacuuming the house. I vacuum until Charlie gets sick of the sling, and then collapse again, this time into a chair where I can nurse and start a new novel, and semi-dose.
I fall asleep at some reasonable time on Friday night (9:00, I think), and by Saturday everything seems better, as I knew it would. The night was very cold, and the fire is almost out in the stove when we get up a little after 6, but I wrap Charlie in one of my sweatshirts and prop her up on the couch and make faces at her to make her laugh while starting it up again. I drink more caffeinated coffee, and Charlie falls asleep for an hour and a half after lunch, during which time I read last Sunday’s paper, listen to This American Life, and roast vegetables to bring to our neighbor’s pig roast.
I never thought I’d become the kind of person who solves a meltdown by vacuuming, but then again, I never really believed I’d have a child, if I’m perfectly honest, and the fact that I do still kind of surprises me.
And now I’m going to bed.