At around 5:11 am, the stirring starts. A cough in the dark, followed by bed springs squeaking. Sometimes that’s it for about 45 minutes, and sometimes that’s how a party begins. In the event of a party, there are unreasonably cute sounds that make their way to my ears. The sounds that kind of make you think they’re pre-fabricated by a “Cute Baby Sounds!” studio. Coos and squeaks and hic-upish laughter reverberating and amplifying from baby to baby. And sometimes the sounds are wails, meditative mantras of “da-da-da-da-da-da-da-DA! DA! DA!” at which point I throw my right arm up over a pillow that has made its way to my head in an always futile attempt to try to block sound.
My message right then to the babies is: “The Nelson Calls do not wake up before 6 AM”. Reasonable, I think.
They disagree on occasion.
I go in at 6:00 to their room and Anson hands them to me. I nurse them at the same time, and it is always dark so I close my eyes and just play with their hair. I trace their ears and stroke their foreheads and wonder if these are touches that in the future will calm them without them knowing why. Usually Roan bursts out of his room around this time and tumbles in with his very messy hair and dreamy puffy eyes and hugs me and kisses me and then creeps into what only minutes ago was my spot next to Anson in bed. They talk about where they are on whichever collaborative video game they’re playing, and make a plan to get further. And when Smith finishes nursing (he always finishes first), he pulls away and sing-song’s “Da-Da!”
Anson comes in to get him and Sheppy and I readjust and melt a little more into each other for an extra 3 or 4 minutes, at which point he seems to be alarmed that he’s missing out on some Dad time, and squeals to get away from me, rambling back in to the place where Dad has set up his party.
I go brush my teeth, grab a baby in each arm, then follow Roan up the stairs. I change the little crazy baby diapers while Roan scoots into the corner of the couch and puts a show on TV to watch. Shep and Smith begin pulling toys out, choosing books to have read to them and sometimes sit with their big brother watching iCarly.
I have about 45 seconds in the kitchen before the babies realize I’m gone, and put the coffee together as fast as I can. I put water on to make Roan some tea. Empty the dishwasher and take Sheppard off the dishwasher door. Then Smith. Then Sheppard. Next comes packing Roan’s lunch as I offer Smith utensil after utensil to make him forget that the oven door can be pulled open.
Anson comes upstairs after taking in his extra 15 minutes of sleep. These minutes are valuable to him, and add up to me getting to sleep in on the weekends. It’s a fair trade. I put breakfast together, usually cold cereal for Roan, and some oatmeal for the boys. I begin to feed the babies while Roan joins me at the table, and Anson pours his coffee.
Breakfast is full of conversation: what’s the day going to be like? Do you have your Strings class today? What photo shoot are you working on? Where should I go with the little dudes today?
Breaking away from the table Roan and I run downstairs together and choose his clothes. We get beds made up and his teeth brushed and find the socks that will serve him best. Hopefully there is clean underwear available because that sets the tone for a happy day. On that, we agree.
Back upstairs, the floor is covered with a weeks-worth of activities and books, and Anson looks like the coffee may be kicking in. I pack up Roan’s bag, get the coats on the babies and on my big boy, and we all go outside to meet the crew that Anson and Roan walk to school with.
We divide as a family, Anson and Roan going their separate ways, and the babies ready for their first nap of the day. At 9:00 am, I sit on the couch and have my own breakfast, in silence and it is a most euphoric feeling to be surrounded by no activity and no noise. By 9:13 I’m done and kind of miss the babies already. At 10:00 am, they wake up and we’re off again.
This is not how I thought great mornings would play out when I was younger. Great mornings didn’t really start until noon back then. Amazing to me how we can change – and how we will continue to change. What are your mornings like?