Dear James and Owen (On Sleep):

I love holding you. I love the way you both look at me when I hold you and lately, the way you smile and coo at me when I hold you. I love that dreamy drunken look you get in your eyes when being fed milk. I love how content something so simple can make you feel.

I know, someday, when you’re teenagers and I’m wondering where you are at 2am I will look back at our night feedings wistfully, wishing I could keep you close, always, by your choice, your insistence, really. And that I could watch you serenely sucking instead of watching the door, worrying. And I know, that in little as a year from now (or possibly a few months), this time will seem so very short. A blur. Significant in terms of pleasure (for both of us), insignificant in terms of hardship (for me, definitely not you).

But I’m tired. Oh, I’m so very, very tired. And while I don’t want to wish time away I do have one teeny, tiny request as you approach your three-month birthday next week: more sleep. I’m not even asking for eight hours at this point. How about six? Or even five? Midnight to 5am would be absolutely heavenly.

I realize now I have been running on adrenaline (and caffeine) for many weeks now. But the effects of both are wearing off. I know I should be bonding with you in the middle of the night but I find myself nodding off, only waking when I feel Daddy gently tipping the bottle back upright and noticing poor you trying to suck air instead of milk. I sit, anywhere, and struggle to stay awake. I’m short tempered. Concealer (the few times I’ve had time to apply it) no longer covers the dark circles under my eyes.

Now I worry I’m being selfish. Not a good mother. But I feel I could be a better mother with just a little more sleep (Sophie agrees). In return, I promise to continue to provide you all the cuddling and breast milk and love and bonding I possibly can during daylight hours. I promise. So tonight, stretch out in your comfy pjs on your soft green-striped and sheep-print bedding. Feel the cool breeze from the ceiling fan. Listen to the calming sound of the ocean and seagulls from your noise machine. And dream. Dream of someone holding you and never letting go, dream of milk, dream of your silly sister tickling your stomach, dream of colorful toys hanging from your swings and pack-n-play, dream, dream, dream—for at least five hours (maybe even six).

Your tired mommy

“Honey, I’ve been put through the paces
Like a dog running on a track
The wheels keep on going as fast as you get there
You don’t ever get to go back
I don’t really know what I’m doing
Just watching myself in some play
And the actress looks like she wants to go home
And lie in bed all day
Yeah lie in a big bed all day.” —Patty Griffin