Whisper to a scream

My perfect angel of a daughter.  The one who smiles at everything and everyone.  The one who sleeps an appropriate amount of time without protest or procrastination.  The one who loves nothing more than to just be held – especially by her mama.  Oh my sweet baby girl.

Someone stole her.

In her place they have left someone that looks a lot like my Chloe.  Except she screams when you pick her up (she demands complete freedom to work on her cruising).  If somehow she has allowed you to hold her, she screams if you put her down.  Especially in a play pen, high chair, walker or anything that limits her range of motion (and consequently might keep her safe).  And she LAUGHS when you say things like “NO! Do not stick your finger in that electrical socket.”  Laughs.  I’m not kidding.

Today we were coming home from Chloe’s 10 month check-up on the subway.  Somewhere around Union Square she decided that the 15 minute subway ride WAS FAR TOO LONG TO BE STRAPPED TO MOMMY and she just started screaming.  Not temper tantrum screaming (clearly fake), not whining, not crying.

We are talking blood. curdling. screams.

Everyone in the subway car turned to see what was going on.  As far as they could judge she was not dangling over the tracks and I didn’t appear to be sticking a sharp object in her eye.  They looked away.  AND SHE SCREAMED AGAIN.  This time she added a convulsion like dance where she stood on my thighs, launched herself out of the baby carrier seat and threw her head back, arching, you know, to really let the scream fly.

Everyone was looking at me, expecting me to remedy the situation.  I laughed and called her BossyPants, evoking my best loveable-doofus-Tina-Fey-esq face.  This did nothing to end the screaming.

I took my cue from her arched back and tickled her exposed neck.  She laughed hysterically and uncontrollably.  My fellow subway riders went back to their business, probably feeling bad for me and Sybil-baby.

I hear what you are saying Chloe, terrible twos start now…

If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em

Last night was sleep training night in our house (boo hiss).  Here is how it went:

Everyone goes to bed without a peep or protest exactly at their designated bedtime.  We all wake for the first time at 7am refreshed and ready to start the day!!!!

OR, that’s pretty much the opposite of how it went.  First let me back up.  This night was designated for sleep re-re-re-training because Ian was out of town.  This meant Chloe would have our room to herself, Gavin would have his room and I would have the TV to drown out both of their cries.

10:30pm –   the plan is in action.  Both kids are asleep and I have made myself a cozy little bed on the couch.  I flip around for something mindless to leave on as I slowly drift off.  Kardashians on E! – don’t get more mindless than that!  Remote down, fluff my pillow, close my eyes…

What’s that?  Kim is going to go off birth control?  Kim and Kris still don’t live together?  Mason knows all his colors?  This is riveting.

Now it’s 11:30.  One false start, but no big deal.  I will be asleep in moments and will sleep through to 7am.  I fantasize about sleeping so late that Gavin misses school.  Seven hours is going to feel good.

It’s 1:30am.  Chloe coughs (or hacks up a lung, I can’t be sure because I’m in the living room) but it didn’t wake her.  Gavin is coughing too but no sounds of his footsteps follow.  Back to sleep.  Five hours is going to feel good.

It’s 3am.  No one is even making a noise.  What is wrong with me?????

It’s 430am.  Now I am kind of annoyed.  Why isn’t anyone waking up?  Where is Gavin creeping towards my room with huggie monkey in hand?  Why haven’t I had to brace myself against Chloe’s crying protests?  I mean, if everyone was just going to sleep I wish I was in my bed.  This couch is cold and uncomfortable.

It’s 445am.  Cuddled up in my own bed, it’s warm and the sheets are just the right amount of cool.  Chloe didn’t stir as the floorboards creaked and still no sign of Gavin.  I could get two solid hours now…

It’s 447.  Two hours, two minutes, same thing.  Chloe is standing in her crib screaming in my face two feet away.  I don’t even feign sleep training and swoop in to pick her up.  I can’t help but kiss her a thousand times.  She leans her head back with delight and I dive in to kiss her soft, baby-smelling neck.  Her head rests on my shoulder as I lean back on the pillows.  She finds her thumb to suck and in moments she is asleep.

I am wide awake and insanely in love.

Her other hand rubs my arm, tugging at my shirt, holding on and hugging.  I don’t dare move as I drink up this moment.

It’s 520.  I should really put her down and try to get some sleep.  Of course as soon as I lay her down in the crib, she starts crying.  She is clearly enjoying this as much as I am.  So I take her back in the bed.  She looks at me, climbs all over me, mocking my attempt to sleep.  I tease her and she sticks her fingers in my mouth.

It’s 545.  I nurse her and she is ready to go back to bed.

I slept for the next 90 minutes and today I am tired.  I know these hazy days of exhaustion will pass and I will recall them as one thick cloud, one day’s tired being indistinct from the next day’s.  But I also know that I will never forget the moments of cuddling and hugging I share with my daughter with no one else around, no husband to worry about waking, no big brother to demand equal expressions of love – just her and I, Chloe and me.