An imagined conversation, sometime in the future...
Garry: Yes, dear?
Heidi: Remember that phase when three of our children didn't sleep through the night?
Garry: Ugh. Yes. It was horrible. Gavin was almost two. He was teething.
Heidi: And he would only tolerate you when he got up in the night.
Garry: I slept on the couch downstairs most nights so I could hear his screams before he woke the other boys. Some nights he got up 10 or 15 times.
Heidi: I know! Your poor back and neck....
Garry: But if I slept in bed, we didn't hear him in time. Then Tyler would bring Gavin upstairs because Gavin had woken up, turned on the light, and tried to get in bed with him.
Heidi: Tyler hated that. And then he couldn't go back to sleep. Ty often woke up on his own, having had a bad dream. He loved to get in bed next to me.
Garry: He knew I'd kick him out of our bed, so he always went to your side.
Heidi: I'm such a pushover when I'm trying to sleep -- anything for a few more minutes! But I finally made him sleep on the floor.
Garry: That's more comfortable than Gavin's bed. I swore I'd never spend another night wedged onto that hideous, cheap twin mattress, but night after night, there I was.
Heidi: I sure appreciated that -- it was better than having him in bed with us!
Garry: There was no sleep for either of us when that happened. What a joke. We needed protective headgear. We resorted to setting up the portable crib in our bedroom. It wasn't very helpful.
Heidi: As I recall, Lexi was teething during that time, too. Between teething and growing and rolling, the girl didn't sleep!
Garry: I was mostly oblivious. Too much going on downstairs.
Heidi: After sleeping through the night for a couple of months, suddenly she jumped back to three times a night -- 11:00, 2:00, and 5:00. It was easier to nurse her back to sleep. And she nursed like she hadn't eaten in a week. I was sure she'd be up three times a night until she was 10. It's a wonder she wasn't a fat baby with all those midnight snacks.
Garry: I remember I would often stumble up to bed just minutes before she would wake up. I would just get settled into my pillow and exchange a groggy greeting with you before you'd have to be up with her.
Heidi: I know -- not fair! And then I'd come back to bed after feeding her and not be able to sleep because of your snoring.
Heidi: It's OK. It's not your fault, but still pretty ironic that such a tired Mommy couldn't sleep.
Garry: Remember the time she screamed so loudly I could hear it over the movie I was watching downstairs, but you were so sound asleep that you didn't hear her through the bedroom wall?
Heidi: I must have been really tired that night. But the worst was our morning wake-up calls.
Garry: There's nothing like starting your day by having Gavin sneak into the bedroom and dump water all over your face.
Heidi: Or having him climb into our bed with pudding all over his hands.
Garry: Or finding him covered in marker.
Heidi: Or poop.
Garry: Inspecting the early-morning carnage was not my favorite job.
Heidi: No kidding. You never knew what you would find. And you usually missed Tyler's queries at unholy hours. At 5:30 a.m., he would perch three inches from my face and whisper my name until I mumbled something incoherent. He always wanted to know if he and Zach could play video games before breakfast. If I said no, he'd come back in every 15 minutes until I relented, or until it was breakfast time.
Garry: At least we could take turns sleeping in on the weekends.
Heidi: Sleeping in...how glorious.
Garry: I slept in more often than you did. You had the chance of a nap during the day.
Heidi: What? That's a good joke. Gavin and Lexi never napped at the same time, especially because Gavin mostly napped in the car.
Garry: We were so tired all the time.
Heidi: So, so tired.
Garry: But it wasn't forever.
Heidi: It sure seemed like forever.
Garry: Yeah, it did.
Heidi: And yet, somehow we survived.
Garry: Yes, dear?
Heidi: I love you.
Garry: Love you, too, babe.