Lily started crying at 3:30 this morning. I was able to settle her until 4:30, and then again at 5. At some point Tim took her until he had to go to work. That's when we heard Mary.
"Daddy, can I wake up now?"
"No," he muttered blearily.
"Go hug Daddy and get back to bed," I said, desperately clutching my pillow and praying for sleep. She did so. Lily was less compliant. At 5:40, as Tim was pulling out of the driveway, Lily started crawling all over me (she has her own crib but by this point I was hoping she'd just sleep next to me) and babbling and touching my face, and I admitted defeat.
My eyes were slits as I laid her on the couch and changed her diaper. Lily babbled happily and cheerfully, as bright eyed as she would be at noon.
"You'll probably be ready for a nap at 7:30 right when your sisters get up," I thought as I cleaned her up. "I'll give them breakfast, settle them in front of a show, maybe I can grab a few minutes on the couch-"
"MOMMY IS IT MORNING YET?"
Or Mary can wake up right. now.
"Anna, Anna, it's morning!"
"Mary, just come out and let your sister sleep," I said quietly, desperately.
"No, I wanna come!" Anna said, hauling herself out of bed. "I didn't poop!"
Mary came barreling out to the sofa. Anna joined her. It was 5:55.
"Hey, you're right, it's the middle of the night!" Anna chirped from her perch, looking out the window. You could still hear crickets. I gulped from my coffee cup.
By 6:00 they had dragged out noisy toys. By 6:05 they were fighting over them, Anna overtiredly sobbing because Lily had the audacity to play with one of her own toys. Mary started whining.
"YOU CAN ALL GO BACK TO BED IF YOU'RE GOING TO FIGHT LIKE PSYCHOS!" I snapped from my vantage point at the dining room table, guzzling caffeine like there was a ban going into effect.
By 6:07 Anna was still whining, this time because Mary had turned her back to her and announced "I just want some time alone with Lily, you can't play, Anna!"
"Heck no, Mary," I said. "You all play together or you go back to your room."
Mary started sobbing. Loudly. Dramatically. Shrilly.
My coffee cup was empty. I eyed the Keurig. I eyed my daughter. Anna started to sob. Again.
"Back to bed, Mary," I said. She opened her mouth and began wailing loud enough to wake the neighbors, of whom I was supremely jealous at the moment. I carried her down to her room. Anna, free of torment, settled down on the couch. Mary hollered from her room for a few moments but quieted down.
It's 6:13. Mary may be asleep, but I don't think so. Lily and Anna are copacetic for who knows how long. I am presently unable to make out what I am typing.
"I WANT TO COME OUT I DON'T WANT TO BE IN HERE!" (Mary)
"You're right there, you're right there, you're right there, she's right there, she's right there, she's right-" (Anna)
"LOUD TINNY CLASSICAL MUSIC, FOUR MEASURES ON REPEAT WITH FLASHING LIGHTS!!!" (Take Along Tunes toy)
And then Lily scooted over and began poking a clothespin into my side, over and over. It's happening as I type this.
Bedtime is in 13 hours, 46 minutes.
But who's counting?