As parents, we rarely expect things in return for all the things we do for our kids. This not-expecting clause, is simply a part of the parent job profile. However, as adults, we do learn to expect some things in life. We take luxuries such as having our own room, our own bed in which to recharge, a bathroom, and such, for granted and don’t stop to really appreciate these things because, well, why should we?
It’s not like someone is going to take our room away from us or Heaven forbid, our bed? Who would want my often unmade bed anyway? Now, isn’t that just preposterous!
Except, it’s NOT, if you have kids.
Aaron and I have become partially homeless. Roomless, to be more specific. The signs had been there for a while now and we actually saw this coming. We actually had the audacity to believe that even with two kids, we would still sleep in our own bed, in our own room!
Last night, Aaron and I moved into TJ’s room. From now on, until Baby E can sleep through the night, we will be sleeping on a mattress in our little boy’s room while he sleeps atop two futon mattresses, perpendicular to us. Thankfully, the room is big enough to accommodate all of us, with some more to spare.
Why are we doing this? Because Baby E, who sleeps in our room, has turned out to be a very fussy sleeper. She is not hungry (although she is not one to refuse the breast when offered), she is neither hot nor cold, she does not have a dirty diaper, occasionally she may have a burp stuck in her but that didn’t make her fussy in the past, and in general, does not seem to have any obvious or non-obvious discomfort.
Yet, she’ll wake up in the middle of the night, waking us up, and just lay there, semi-awake, making all kinds of sounds (which are ridiculously adorable but NOT at 3:11 or 4:43 a.m.). This is in addition to the at least four times she wakes up for nightfeeds and goes back to sleep.
After many days of sleepless nights and early mornings and dragging ourselves through the rest of the day, trying to stay awake and alive for our toddler’s sake, we decided to move out. Out of one room that is, and into another.
Now, Baby E gets her own room – our room – even as she sleeps in her little Pack n Play in one corner of the room.
Meanwhile, the three of us sleep in a room only a little bigger than half the size of the other room.
Growing up, my family of six which included my grandmother, my sisters, and parents, shared a one bedroom apartment and we did great. Whenever relatives visited us, we all just rearranged our sleeping spots. There was always room for everybody no matter how many people visited or how long they stayed. I don’t ever remember complaining about not having my own space or the lack of privacy or even thinking about those things. I am still that adaptable person in spirit and will always be flexible with visitors I actually want visiting us.
Having said that, I do very much appreciate my own space and yes, my own room, even if I have to share it with Aaron. As a married adult and parent of two, I would be forgiven for expecting a bed to myself (again, shared with my husband but that’s just part of the deal) and a room but given that kids aren’t visitors – well, they are sort of visitors because one day they will go on and live their own lives away from me, and in a more philosophical way, aren’t we all visitors? – I’m willing to go through the move out/move in process. Besides, they are my all time favorite kind of visitors so heck, yeah, I’ll be flexible for them.
For a while now, Aaron and I have lived scattered lives. Things that make us presentable to the outside world are scattered throughout our three bathrooms (2.5 to be precise). A lot of my morning prep paraphernalia like my tooth brush, tooth paste, contact lenses, and so on, are in our half bathroom downstairs so I can get ready for bed at night time or sneak away in the morning without disturbing Baby E.
Aaron’s things are in TJ’s bathroom so he can get dressed in the morning and prep for bed at night. Thankfully, TJ is a heavy sleeper. Sometimes I shower in our master bathroom when both kids are awake and at other times, in TJ’s shower. Aaron, meanwhile, hasn’t showered in our master bathroom for almost two months now.
That’s the thing about being adults and parents – While as parents we try not to expect anything from our kids in return for what we do for them (not talking about expecting good behavior, kindness, and things of that nature) because we are told not to and because it doesn’t seem fair to the kids, as adults – as humans, we do expect certain things, whether its from kids or life in general.
We do what we have to do because we might as well take pride in being the resilient rolling stone that keeps rolling – as a parent, we just cannot stop for all that moss collecting- our child’s sleep is important. What is even more important is my sleep (and Aaron’s sleep) because I can’t take long naps during the day and I have to keep a toddler alive while the baby naps.
At times, being an adult and being a parent seem to be mutually exclusive. After all, how many non-parent adults want to sing, “We’re on our way to Grandpa’s farm” or “Wheels on the Bus” for the 17th time non-stop. Not sure even a parent-adult wants to do that!