Aidan woke up at 6 am. Actually, what happened is that Aidan fell out of bed at 6 am, but opening with that might incline you to feel sorry for him, which you totally shouldn’t do because he was fine and I am the one in need of feeling sorry for. I stake my flag into your sympathy and claim it for my own.
So, at 6 am, Aidan “woke up” out of bed. My bed, not his, since he still makes the nightly pilgrimage to come flop around, lay diagonally, and displace two fully grown adults from the queen sized bed that I delusionally refer to as “mine”. When he arrives, before climbing in and cuddling up, he first goes through a complicated process of making his presence known that begins with scoping out my position and very carefully lining himself up near my head, balanced by his toes on the bed frame. From here he will lean over, position his face roughly six inches from mine, and stare. He will stay in this position until either his intense watchfulness or rancid breath break through the obstacle that is my sleep. You would think, after years of this, I’d be used to it, but it turns out that I am a remarkably slow learner. Every night I am awakened by the sense that something’s not quite right, open my eyes to find a small, deeply shadowed face hovering above me like a ghoulish mirage, and promptly have a heart attack.
I am not a morning person. I have never understood those who are and, frankly, suspect that the whole lot of them are deeply disturbed. “Don’t you just love a sunrise?” they ask, as though the sun is somehow miraculously different at such a Godawful hour. No, I say. No, I do not love a sunrise. If I wanted to watch light take 20 minutes to come into full brightness, I’ve got some first generation compact flourescent light bulbs I can turn on whenever I feel like it. What’s the big deal about watching the sun, anyway? Last I heard, we aren’t even supposed to be looking at it.
Left to my own devices, I am happiest and most productive when I go to bed at about 2:00 am, and then wake up around 11:00. My firstborn was about 20 hours old when I realized that I would never again sleep or awaken according to my own devices, that for the rest of my life I would work on finding clever new ways to milk a few extra minutes of sleep, or a small bit of blessedly quiet alone time, out of each stubbornly unmovable 24-hour chunk. So in spite of my preference to never see a sunrise, most mornings I drag myself out of bed sometime between 5:30 and 6:30. When I have a lot of work, it’s even earlier. Those are heavy coffee days; by noon you can find me vibrating with unspent energy, making plans to paint the ceiling with a watercolor brush or build an amphibious vehicle out of our minivan, some duct tape, and an improbably large bag of expired condoms that I am choosing not to explain at this present time.
When I do not have a lot of work, getting up early buys me some precious writing time – real writing, by which I mean the stuff I do not get paid for. I’ve been a business writer too long and years ago lost the ability to work longhand; I’ve developed soundbyte- and internet-induced ADD and I think in weird, meandering little bursts that require the flexibility of a computer. I can also type a lot faster than I write longhand. Hell, I type one handed faster than I write longhand (seriously)… I should take that on America’s Got Talent, only my kids have outgrown the real beauty of that particular trick, which is typing a script for an executive with one hand while holding a squirming, breastfeeding baby with the other. Ta-da!
So the deal is, I’m up absurdly early but I get quiet, uninterrupted time to sit in front of the computer and write stuff. And drink hot coffee. And enjoy the quiet. Did I mention that already? Let’s plug it a third time, just for good measure: Quiet.
Unless Aidan wakes up at 6 am.
I love this child more than life itself. But at 6 am? All bets are off. I have not yet stepped into my Mommy shoes, bub. I am Darth Vader in a Hairspray t-shirt and sloppy ponytail. May the force be with you and God have mercy on your soul.
When I first conceived of this post, laying in bed wide awake for 20 minutes in hopes that Aidan would go back to sleep (bwahahahaha), it had some kind of point. When I gave up on that hope and told him, “It’s too early to be up, keep sleeping and don’t follow me downstairs,” I had written most of it in my head. When I started typing, I still knew where it was going. Only then I remembered that nobody listens to me, anyway, and Aidan was up, and another day began.
More than 12 hours later, I’m finally getting this on paper, having long forgotten what I wanted it to be about. The real irony here is that I don’t think this pointless rambling is significantly different from anything else I’ve written. Probably, this should really call into question what I’m doing here in the first place.
But why question, when I could be building an amphibious vehicle? There’s limited time for such things; I have to go to bed ridiculously early in order to be up with the stupid sun. But if all goes well, tomorrow I will be able to write.