It’s 3am and I’m plodding down the hallway answering the call of a crying child. I comfort her and get her back to
sleep and thankfully the twin doesn’t wake during the process. I shuffle back to my own bed like a zombie and collapse on the bed.
As I try to get back to sleep I can’t help but wonder “haven’t I already done this dance before?” Didn’t we already get through the sleep problem stage? But of course, this time their interrupted sleep is from a cough and although it’s not their fault, it’s as if we’re back to them being infants and Daddy being awoken every half hour or so. Sleep-deprivation is not a welcome flashback or happy memory.
But it made me think (a week later when I was actually vaguely conscious again) that this parenting gig is a bit misleading. It’s supposed to get easier as we go, isn’t it?
We all know that signing up for babies includes night time feeds, crying and sleep deprivation early on. But they grow out of that right? Well, yes, but you can’t foresee the unexpected such as sickness. And it never really stops.
Secondly, I’ve noticed it doesn’t actually get easier. Things don’t really get better, they just change. For example, when they’re young and you can’t work out why they’re crying non-stop you wish they could talk so they could tell you.
Then, in a perfect be-careful-what-you-wish-for moment, they learn to talk. And talk back. And they talk non-stop. And you sometimes wish they’d just be quiet.
When you’re housebound with babies that can’t move themselves, you wish they’d start crawling. Then you blink and they’re running in different directions and you can’t keep up and you’re thinking about leashes and longing for the days they couldn’t get out of the lounge room under their own steam.
In fact, just about every time I’ve started to relax into a routine, the twins have changed and once again I’m chasing the game.
I could go on and on but it boils down to them having phases. They grow, they change and we adapt (in theory). But man it just makes things harder, doesn’t it?
I asked my parents about when it started getting easier and they could start living their lives again and they replied “Well, you’re still asking me questions this minute, aren’t you?”
They’re very funny my Mum and Dad. But they’re also wonderful. They’ve stuck by me through thick and thin. They’ve loved me unconditionally even when I was being troublesome. They’re STILL putting up with me and their non-stop support has made the person I am today. And I’m someone who loves being a parent.
I know it’s easy to focus on the tantrums and frustrations but for every twin-fight there’s at least two cuddles. There are nose rubs, impromptu dances, made-up songs and surprise pounces. I delight in the wonder in their eyes and the curiosity of their minds. Sharing new experiences with them and showing them the world is simply incredible.
So, while I have bleary eyes rather than answers, I’m trying to remember the bigger picture. They’ll keep growing and becoming even more independent. And there’ll come a time when they don’t want their Dad in their lives every minute, so perhaps I should be careful what I wish for.