“Hi.” Just one word. Harmless at any other time. Cute even. But, at 3 am was a signal that everything was not okay. I didn’t want to open my eyes and acknowledge what was about to happen. If only I could ignore the perky little greeting. If only my 10-month-old (N) hadn’t been so verbal and cute and social. Yes, I was actually wishing these things as I opened my eyes to see the baby sitting up next to me greeting her sister (B) as she tried to sneak onto the foot of my bed. Yes, I was sleeping with my infant. I did it with all my children to make nursing easier. I’m not ashamed to admit it. Nights like last night, however, had me wishing I hadn’t begun the practice. The baby was smiling and repeating her “hi” with more excitement and unfortunately with more volume. I tried to whisper to B to beg that she slowly walk back to her own bed. I pleaded in a hushed and as pleasant as possible tone. She didn’t pick up on my cues. She didn’t care that we all have to get up so early in the morning. I looked over to my husband and he was sound asleep with our 6-year-old son (AD) sleeping on his other side. I wondered at what point he had squirmed his way onto the bed. Again I asked B to please go back to her room, but she broke down in a near hysterical cry and the avalanche began. My husband and son woke up with a jerk and the baby greeted both of them with even more enthusiasm. I briefly considered leaving my husband to the damage and whisking the baby away to sleep with her in the day bed in her room. Instead, I proclaimed that all children had to leave immediately. The symphony of cries raised an octave as AD realized he was also being told to leave. Luckily, my husband didn’t miss a beat and immediately started the painful process of taking the way too old to be crying at 3 in the morning children to their bunk beds. N waved and smiled as each child was taken kicking and screaming back to their respective beds. I could hear the negotiations and the false promises that tonight would be the last time. I think I heard AD’s infamous, “Please just give me one more chance.” After some consoling and cajoling the children settled down, my husband climbed into our bed and the baby waved and said, “hi.” We both looked at her and smiled. She is just that annoyingly cute. I was grateful she is still nursing. I pulled her close and tried to lull both her and myself back to sleep. The house was quiet again and my thoughts drifted to my 13-year-old son who always sleeps like a rock in his room the entire night by himself. I was almost jealous. I was almost asleep and then I heard it…”hi.”
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