I hear the first squawk on the monitor — that was her, right?! I turn to see if my husband noticed it too . . . Nope, fast asleep. I think it's stopped — no, wishful thinking. My little one's been teasing us, sleeping in some mornings till 6:30 a.m.; more often, she's stirring well before 5:30 a.m. Today, it's nearly quarter to 6. I'll take it.
I take the two-minute window I have before she goes absolutely nuts to pee . . . quickly! Not fast enough, though — the playful squawking is now full-fledged screaming. At least now my husband hears it too. I hear him stirring, but call from the bathroom, "I got it!" Letting him stay in bed means he'll return the favor later this week (teamwork, right?!).
I open the door to the nursery — she hears the door creak and stops whining. I peek over the crib rails and see that silly, sweet grin staring up at me. She starts flapping her arms to be picked up and I melt. At almost 8 months now, her reactions are more and more animated — it makes these early mornings a lot more fun for Mom and Dad.
I lay her down to change her diaper, but she's not having it. The screaming starts again and she won't do anything till she's fed. OK. Change of plans — half dressed, dirty diaper still on, I take her into our bedroom, plop down in bed next to my husband, and get ready to nurse her. She knows what's coming; arms are flapping, whining is full-blown, husband is now awake, and for a moment it's absolute chaos until I can finally get my shirt up and she latches at last. Ahhhh!
I close my eyes again. She's happy, feeding away. My husband holds my hand and for a minute we both drift back to sleep — her grunting serenading us into a drowsy momentary reprieve.
She pops up, finished eating, and we both look down at this smiley baby. Awake and ready to go! OK — we're going to need reinforcements. I grab my phone and Facetime grandma and grandpa to help entertain us (don't worry, it's already 9 a.m. where they are).
We finish our Facetime and it’s time for the real work. Dad hops in the shower, leaving me with the baby first. I see how much longer I can get away with playing in bed and ask him to bring me a few more toys on his way to the bathroom.
Dad comes back with a few favorites. Plenty to get us through the next 10-ish minutes.
Wrong! The music cube is not a hit this morning. She just wants to stand, which means Mom is just propping her up, letting her feet stomp on my stomach. Fun for us all!
The standing game is no longer fun for anyone. She’s now whining and squawking again, eyes closing . . . Time for her first nap already? I yell to my husband that he’s been in the shower for almost 10 minutes — time to switch?
I can’t hold her off any longer. I give in and decide to nurse her again right here in bed. I should probably just take her to her room for a proper nap, but I’m secretly hoping she’ll just fall asleep on me for a bit.
Her eyes are closing and her body relaxes completely. She falls asleep in my arms, just as my husband is (finally!) coming out of the shower. My turn, but I’m trapped! I surrender and close my eyes too.
I wake up to my husband standing over me. He’s fully dressed; I’m far from it. The baby’s so peaceful, we both just stare for a second and smile. She’s the cutest when she sleeps — she looks like she’s concentrating so hard. I can’t get enough of her face.
OK, real talk: what’s my plan? My husband and I strategize for a sec about the next 30 minutes before the nanny comes, speaking in whispers so we don’t wake her. I decide to forgo my shower (I’ll settle for a long bath after we put her down tonight). Then it dawns on me that I haven’t even checked my phone yet.
I pull up my email and respond to some work requests, catch up on Instagram, and start planning my outfit in my head.
OK, it’s really time to get going. My husband comes back to check on me and finally, reluctantly, I let him pull the baby off of me. She starts to wake the minute she’s moved; whining ensues all over again. Neither of us are happy about being forced out of bed.
I run to wash my face, spritz a bottle-load of dry shampoo in my hair, and throw some makeup on while my husband takes her to the nursery to change her diaper (finally!).
I’m in the middle of pulling my outfit on when I hear him from the next room.
I run in to check on them and find him standing over the changing table with two completely soiled outfits in his hand. Baby’s smiley as ever; Dad not so much. In the midst of cleaning up a diaper explosion, the baby dragged her feet through the mess and now it’s on everything.
I wasn’t planning to shower, but now it’s the only way to deal with this mess. I hop in the shower with my poop-covered baby in tow and try to rinse us both off.
We’re out! I pass off the baby to my husband and start frantically reapplying my makeup.
I throw on my clothes and head to the living room to find my husband and baby playing happily. I sit down on the mat for a minute and join in.
Two rounds of “Baby Shark” later, I realize I haven’t washed my pump parts or packed the cooler pack for work. Thank God I remembered — crisis averted!
Bag is packed, parts and all! We’re savoring the last couple minutes of “just us” time before the nanny arrives. Then, I hear the key in the door.
The nanny arrives; my husband runs to grab the monitor and the baby tracker. I catch the nanny up on our morning, holding the baby for a little longer — I always hate the pass-off.
I squeeze my baby girl one more time and take a deep breath, inhaling deeply as I kiss the top of her head and finally hand her to the nanny for the day. The hardest part of the whole morning.
I exhale as we pull out of the driveway. Barely eight months in and it’s hard to remember that my morning routine used to look any different, but I always feel like I’ve lived a whole day before we even get in the car to drive downtown.
I pull up my phone again to check in with work, respond to emails, and scroll through the 'gram again.
All caught up again. I scroll through my podcasts and start negotiating with my husband.
It takes a minute, but he agrees. I pull up an episode on wellness I’ve been desperate to listen to. Somehow, even when the day starts before 6 a.m., it’s hard to find the time.
I settle in for our little 20-minute commute and feel grateful for our adult time, however brief.
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Hannah Weil McKinley