It always seemed strange, the idea that “next morning” arrives at 12 a.m. I mean, the day doesn’t start when the sun shines on the other side of the planet! It starts when the coffee’s made. But as we don’t all synchronize our coffee prep by time zone to 7 a.m., or some other semi-reasonable, precise hour, I suppose they had to come up with an arbitrary starting point.
But, now, with small kids in the house, there’s a curious logic to it.
They may be hard to put down, but the kids tend to sleep pretty deeply those first few hours. This lends an illusion of tranquility to the night, and makes it easier to stay up too late with a nice Belgian brew (or two), while watching fake news videos online. Still, the evening almost always ends before the “witching hour.”
But with the birth of the new day (here the digital clocks eerily read 00:00 at that moment), the day’s dance is ready to start. At this point, we might be allowed a couple hours of uninterrupted “sleeping-in” before the pre-dawn promenade begins
… Or not.
00:25 Good morning! Awake to sudden, isolated cry. Listen… Back to sleep. (This has been your warning cry.)
1:47 Awake with jolt to sound of crying. Rise and stumble toward nursery before discerning whose. Soothe inexplicably sobbing toddler son before somehow falling asleep on his bed (in spite of too-bright nightlight) using large plush dinosaur as pillow.
2:35 Awake when daughter joins the cuddle. Kiss her and cuddle blissfully before realizing arm is falling asleep. Lie squished between them both until she falls back to sleep, then extricate arm from under sleeping child (surrender bathrobe if necessary). Move plush dinosaur between children to replace the mass of your body. Stumble back to bed.
4:03 Awake with daughter’s foot in face. Remove foot, wondering how long she’d been in your bed, and if you should take her back to her bed… or to that nest of blankets and pillows she’s made on the floor in her room to sleep in instead of her bed… or at least to the inside of this bed to prevent her falling… (back to sleep before finishing thought.)
4:46 Awake again when daughter falls out of bed. Soothe her, and move her to the middle of the bed.
5:22 Awake to son crying. Stumble to nursery and, failing to convince him it’s still night-night time, carry him to the kitchen and prepare bowl of Cheerios for him to eat at the kid’s table near the couch. Back to sleep on couch.
5:39 Awake when son crawls in. Cuddle blissfully. Back to sleep.
6:38 Awake when daughter appears asking for cereal. Prepare bowl of Cheerios, while resolving not to stay up late drinking beer and watching fake news videos online ever again.
7:00 Make the coffee.
Now, welcome to the (rest of your) day!