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31 August 2008

Just call me "Auntie MaryBeth"

As some of you may know, our good friends in Durham recently had a baby boy, Jeffrey. He is now about a month old and is cute as can be. He has an older sister, Claudia, who is the most adorable little girl and is a whole heap of trouble. (You know, trouble in a cute and adorable way!)As it turns out, Jeffrey doesn't like to sleep well at night, and Mommy gets roughly 4 hours of sleep per night. Of course, this makes life miserable. Daddy works all day, and he get up with the baby at 5am so Mommy can have a break. But Mommy chases around a two-and-a-half year old in addition to little Jeffrey, so she gets pretty worn out. In addition to it all, Mommy and Daddy sleep in seperate bedrooms because Baby Jeffrey is so fussy. They haven't slept in the same bed since his birth! That is unacceptable. As a new baby gift, I volunteered to spend all of Friday and Friday night with the family so that they could spend more quality time with Claudia and so Mommy could get a little bit more rest.

I got to their house around 9:30am on Friday, and we left shortly after because Mommy needed to go to the doctor to get her allergy shots. I couldn't imagine having to do that simple task all alone with two little ones. It was enough to wrangle the two of them with two of us. I don't know how she does it every day alone. After allergy shots was a play date with a friend and lunch. Once lunch was in us, we went home and Claudia laid down for her nap. I insisted that Mommy take a nap as well since I was there to deal with Baby Jeffrey. Everyone says that you should sleep when the baby sleeps, but that is a bit impossible with a two-year-old as well! So Mommy and Claudia slept for about three hours while I entertained Baby Jeffrey. He's a fussy one and takes FOREVER to drink a 4 oz. bottle. I'm talking, 45 minutes to an hour to drink it. Sometimes you just want to squeeze the bottle to make him eat faster, but that would be bad.

After naps, we all had dinner. The Boy had just arrived into town from Richmond (job interviews) and Daddy was home from work. We ate outside on the porch and Daddy, Claudia, and The Boy did some "big jumps" on the trampoline after dinner. (I wish it had been light enough to take some video of that!). The Boy left after dinner, and Claudia went to bed around 9. After Baby Jeffrey had his last feeding of the night (at about 10:30), we all went to bed. Mommy and Daddy actually got to sleep together, and Baby Jeffrey and I headed to the guest bedroom for the night.

It wasn't too bad, but it was rough. Baby Jeffrey slept from 11pm until about 2am. Then he was wet and hungry, so we had a change and a bottle. He finished eating around three, and then he didn't want to go back to sleep. He fussed and bleated (like a little goat), and eventually I laid him on my chest and he quickly fell asleep. Of course, he slept soundly, but it is rather hard to get a good sleep with a little baby laying across your chest. You're just so hyper-sensitive to movement and sound. He woke back up around 5:20am and fed until 6ish. At that point, we were really over the whole sleeping thing. I tried the "sleep on the chest" thing, but he wasn't having it. He was really hungry again at 7:30, so we ate again. At that point, it was too late to go back to bed so we went downstairs and started our day. Mommy, Daddy, and Claudia didn't wake up until 8:30!! They had a good night's sleep.

Of course, it wouldn't have been so bad if I didn't have to work the next day at AT. I was a friggin' zombie. I can't operate on 4 or 5 hours of sleep. I don't know how Mommy does it every day. One day practically killed me.

Despite the exhaustion, I had a lot of fun. It was great to be able to help them out and make their lives just a little bit easier ... even if it were only for a day. I got to bond with the new baby and Claudia, and that was pretty cool. More importantly, I confirmed my desire to never have children. I love babies, and they are adorable. But I especially love giving them back when they have muddy pants or they throw up or they get cranky. Short term, I can handle it. Long term, I think I would go insane from sleep deprivation.
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