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Motherhood Made Me a Morning Person (Sort Of)

Photograph by Getty Images

It was a typical weekday morning, which meant I was up before dawn lying on my couch. My gigantic five-year-old-sized three-year-old son splayed on top of my body. It was too late to go back to sleep, but still too early to make coffee. So I laid there, a human body pillow to my boy, my hair an unfortunate tangle of curls, sleep still crusty in my eyes.

We were probably both drooling at least a little.

I was half-watching the blur of colorful cartoon images flickering across the television screen, when a thought occurred to me: the Man in the Yellow Hat is kind of hot.

Maybe my sleep-deprived state had something to do with this observation. Maybe I’d been watching too much kid TV. Maybe I was just a freak. I decided that it wasn’t my fault – any thoughts I had before 7 a.m. didn’t count. I’m just not a morning person.

Before becoming a mom to boy-girl twins, I could have counted on one hand the number of times I’d seen a sunrise. My daughter is like me in this department – up all night, sleep all day is her motto (or favorite Slaughter song). She parties in her room at night, recounting the stories of the day to her dolls. It’s one big slumber party in there with Bear, Twinkle Baby and Minnie. But when the morning comes, she’s grouchy as hell and waits for the last possible minute when one of her parents evicts her from the warm cocoon of her comforter.

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My son on the other hand, greets the day with a wild enthusiasm that to be honest, sort of scares me. The first time we heard a loud banging noise coming from the other side of the wall in our bedroom, we thought something was wrong, but entered the twins’ room to find Little Man jumping up and down in his crib and smiling. “Mommy! Playground?” he said when he saw me standing in the doorway. Never mind that it was still dark out or that I’d only gotten about four hours sleep. My guy was ready to start the day. I had to be ready, too.

Most mornings when we hear him stirring, there’s a pregnant pause in the air and the standoff begins, my husband and I each waiting to see if the other will answer the call. Most days, Luke dutifully obliges, and I get to sink deeper into my pillow, relishing the half hour I’ll get to at least rest my eyes. But on my mornings, I toss back the covers, reconciling with the fact that my day is about to begin. The boy and I have a routine – we hit the potty, then grab a cold one (milk) from the fridge. “Want snuggle?” he asks me, and we assume our positions on the couch. Too tired to talk or interact, I scroll through the cue of our recorded shows on the DVR, settling on an episode of George that we’ve most likely seen before. It doesn’t matter. We lie there together, our breath in sync. In my more grateful moments, I remember how lucky I am that I got to have to this guy – and my little gal – especially because, for a long time, it looked like I wouldn’t be able to have any.

Before becoming a mom to boy-girl twins, I could have counted on one hand the number of times I’d seen a sunrise.

As the sunlight begins to make its way in through the shade of our front window, Little Man watches George. I listen to the sounds of my neighbors – feet hitting the floor, showers turning on and off, and the opening and shutting of the door to our building as they make their way to work.

For a moment I feel a little wistful, but then my boy looks back at me for a reaction when George does something funny. I kiss his chubby cheek for the first of what will certainly be at least a 100 times that day.

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When the George episode ends, we switch to PBS and wait for Thomas and Friends to segue into Sesame Street. My husband pads into the kitchen to start the coffeemaker. Little Girl soon follows, her sandy brown hair all wild, looking like a pissed off heavy metal chick in bunny-print footie pajamas. The chaos of our everyday life is about to begin and, before I can snuggle him one last time, Little Man is up and heading for the puzzles. Our time together on the couch is done.

As I stare blankly at the television, three thoughts occur to me:

I need coffee.

Percy is one sexy-ass engine.

Maybe mornings aren’t so bad after all.

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