4:56am – Little Miss Junior decides that she would like to be awake now. I fall out of bed to the sounds of her demanding attention from the girls’ room. LMJ is currently shouting “DAA DAAAA” and stamping in her crib. I’m off the to the kitchen to fill a bottle, and then back to the girls’ room. I reach to pick her up and she arches her back, two arms flailing wildly, while screaming at me. Apparently I’ve taken too long to respond and her displeasure is on display. For some reason LMJ has always enjoyed a good back arching. Even her sonogram pics showed her extending that head backwards in the womb. I do my best not to drop her as I’m only 1/3 awake and shift her to the hip hold. We slide into the toddler chair next to her crib and commence operation milk gobble.
LMJ takes her time, now happily slurping away. It’s 5:03am and I’m approximately ½ awake by now. Over the course of her first year of life, we’ve gone through several iterations of nicknames for Little Miss Junior. Early on we lovingly called her BigEar…. Prior to some growth spurts one of her ears was solidly larger than the other. Then, as we discovered her hatred of all things sleep related, we started referring to her as the Beast. As in “the beast is up, it’s your turn”… or “be very quiet or you’ll wake the beast” … or, “it’s 4:56am, how could the beast possibly want to get up so early again???”. Since all hope of recurring sleep has long been lost, I’ve recently been referring to LMJ as Screamy Smurf. A woman of few words yet, Screamy has taken to making her demands clear by yelling at you for most any desire… whether she’s hungry, tired, happy, or just saying hello.
Bottle finished, Screamy looks up at me happily in a milk induced haze and shouts loudly, “DAAA DAAAA!!!” Since her sister is still sleeping 5 feet away (and who wouldn’t be at 5:15 in the morning?) and Screamy looks raring to go, I pick her up and head down to the living room. Delighted to be on the move, Screamy drops her bottle and two hand smacks me in the head. Quite the loving “good morning Daddy” gesture. Thank you Screamy.
We arrive downstairs and I’m pretty sure the dog is annoyed we’re making noise in her space so early. I put Screamy down and she scans the room for anything she’s not supposed to have. A slave to biology, I retreat to the bathroom momentarily to regroup and gather my reserves. My reserves have left notice that they are no longer in business and I’m on my own. I return from the bathroom and Screamy is standing in our kitchen, happily chewing on my cell phone in her left hand, while waving our universal remote control in her right… two items she’s fully aware are not toys. She sees me, knows I’m about to approach her to take both items away, whirls 180 degrees and takes off in gleefully mischievous fashion. She makes it about 2.5 feet before stumbling to floor and simultaneously hurtling both items with a loud clatter. Queue the tears and screaming. My apologies to the downstairs neighbors. It’s now 5:20am or so. I gather up Screamy, the remote, and my slightly soggy cell phone and settle down into the couch.
After some calming backrubs and a diaper change, Screamy is ready to play again. We spend the next 15 minutes or so playing a game she calls, “Here’s a book daddy. I’m going to sit in your lap, you start to read it, then I’ll get bored and get a new book.” Screamy enjoys this game immensely, as long as you don’t actually force her to read a whole book, then she screams at you. We cycle through the first couple pages of a half dozen books before she tires of this ritual and goes hunting for things she’s not supposed to have again.
I may or may not have fallen asleep for a couple moments but Screamy is back clutching my knees and waving her Elmo radio menacingly at me. This lovely little toy plays a handful of tunes with some voiceovers of Elmo and the Cookie Monster shouting, “Play it Again” before another rousing instrumental chorus of Pop Goes the Weasel. My head hurts. Somewhere around 6am Screamy starts going downhill in the personality department. Increased screaming/whining, lots of eye rubbing, and I make the logistical decision to try and put her back to bed. Normally she’s up for 2-3 hours before her first nap, but she’s looking highly volatile, and I don’t wanna take an Elmo radio to the head at 6am. With very little protest Screamy goes back to sleep, and I crash in my office so as not to wake Red.
The next morning at 5am Screamy is up and shouting but this time it’s Red’s shift. I roll over in bed and prepare to enjoy my extra sleep. Then 15 minutes later, Red is back and climbing into bed…
“Hey, what happened? She went right back to sleep?”
Red says, “It’s 5am, I always put her back to bed at 5am.”
I know there’s a handbook around here somewhere with the rules to these little buggers, but I’m fairly sure Screamy ate it. Live and learn.