"Funky. Funky lady."
"You said fucky."
Once home there is paid help—for which I feel guilty,if you can believe that—and I try to use it to get back to work. In truth, I usually wind up curled up in a little ball of fatigue until dinner, which is my job to throw together. After dinner, I put Tallulah to bed while Tabitha nurses the baby for the twenty-thousandth time. Then the cycle begins all over again.
I know that all of this will soon pass and our family will once more achieve some wonderful new equilibrium. With one more person on hand to love and to be loved, we'll soon be drowning in finer feelings. But for now we're drowning mainly in self-pity.
You would think that someone would have come up with a humane, economical method for absorbing a new child into a family. Certainly there's billions in it for whoever does. As it stands, there are three approaches to the problem, all of them inadequate. You can pretend to believe the books and do whatever you must do to your children to ensure a good night's sleep for yourself. You can throw money at it and hire squadrons of night nurses to tend to your children while you move into the local Ritz Carlton. Or you can do what we are doing and muddle through as best as you can, grabbing at any old piece of advice that comes your way, less because it will actually help matters but because it offers hope. In the end you tell yourself: Eventually this baby will learn to sleep, just as eventually it will learn to walk and to use the toilet. After all, you don't see a lot of adults who wake up hollering at the ceiling every 45 minutes, just as you don't see a lot of adults who crawl around on all fours, or who crap their pants twice a day. So it stands to reason that the problem will solve itself. Here's hoping.