I I I I I I I  

My deepest, darkest fantasy involves a hotel room and a bed. Itís not what youíre thinking. In this lustful daydream, I am completely alone. In some versions, I am wearing flannel, which is one of the least erotic fabrics known to modern man. Itís second only to burlap, I believe, or wet wool.

Mine is a rich fantasy, one that I continually embroider new details for, especially during the single-digit hours of the morning, when I am convincing one of the children to sleep. I can see my dream bed. It is queen-sized with clean white sheets and nicely puffed pillows, the sort that can make even the fussiest head feel like it is cradled in a cloud. There is a lofty down comforter because the room is just cool enough that you want to slide under something cozy. Outside, it is snowing and you can meditate upon the flakes as they float to the ground. There is a nightstand that contains a lamp, the books I canít find the energy to finish, and a small bell, which will summon a helpful chap (sometimes he looks like Johnny Depp, but then the fantasy tends to veer into non-flannel areas) who will bring gourmet meals and fine beverages to my majestic mattress. Otherwise the door is locked. I have nowhere to be for the next 48 hours.

Iím just all swoony at the thought of it.

The books and the gourmet meals are just window dressing, frankly, and my vision would still be drool-worthy without them. I donít know how much time Iíd spend with either and include the books and food as mere courtesies. No, in the fantasy, Iím burrowed beneath my blankets tighter than a tick on a hemophiliac. I am snoring. Most likely, I am also drooling. Every now and again, I might get up to pee, since including a catheter in the fantasy just seems wrong.

I want this with the same hunger I reserve for really great chocolate and a romp with the spouse. In fact, if given a choice between an couple of hours in the same room with the Hub and 48 in there solo and asleep, Iíd be unconscious before the last words of the question made it out of your mouth. Much, of course, to my husbandís chagrin. I can only begin to tell you how tired I am. If you have a newborn in the house, you already know how deep the urge to hibernate can be. Granted, Iím not doing poorly in terms of quantity of shut-eye. On paper, I get about seven hours each night, which sound bountiful when compared to the days when the Dude was even smaller and eating like a hummingbird.

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The hours arenít consecutive, of course, and thatís the rough patch. The Dude generally wakes up a couple of times to eat, even though all of the books tell me that he should be able to go 5-6 hours without a meal. The books lie. If he werenít sucking down 8-9 ounces during each night feed, Iíd think he was just waking up to get some company. But, clearly, he is still a hungry bird.

The Diva, however, is now waking up for the company and frequently wants someone to come snuggle with her. Sheís caught on to my trick of simply chucking her into bed with me so that I donít have to leave my comforterís warm embrace. Now she walks into the room and announces, ďI want someone to come snuggle with me. In. My. Own. Room.Ē Gotta love a girl who knows her own mind.

The Hub and I hop from room to room all night long. I get enough sleep to keep me from falling asleep while driving, but not nearly enough to be sustainable for the long-term. I crave so much more, if only because my body still seems to be making up for the rigors of birth and of those first eight (heck, 12) sleepless weeks. By my calculations, I should be all caught up by July. Of 2008.

I pine for the consecutive hours, after which I would wake up and feel oddly refreshed. Right now I simply wake up and feel slightly less exhausted but still pretty dang wiped out. Thatís when waking up happens easily. Most of the time itís an act of incredible will to simply open my eyes. Sitting upright is a Herculean effort that requires all of the gumption I can muster. My college students love to mention that theyíve just rolled out of bed for my 2 p.m. class. One day, one of them might die. No court would convict me.

I know. I know. Sleep when the baby sleeps. That is, quite possibly, the biggest load of horseshit advice that well-meaning-but-clueless folk foist upon moms. Problem number one is that the baby sleeps in such erratic patterns during the day that I canít even begin to trick my body into complying to his will. Iíve never been a good napper. While both of my parents can drop off on the couch during a lull in conversation, Iíve always needed to be horizontal in a quiet, moderately private room to actually drop off.

Problem number two is that there are two kids and they seem to have a devised a conspiracy to make sure their parents are always sleepy enough to be pliable on topics like snacks and treats. If the Dude has a great night, the Diva is up every hour. And vice-versa. I suspect that theyíre running sleep-deprivation experiments on us for the CIA. Problem number three is that my house would continually be covered in crushed Cheerios crumbs and cat fur if I dropped everything and slept. (I actually feel queasy when I consider what the bathroom would look like under a regime of benign neglect. Last fall, a small mushroom grew in the crack between the tub and the floor Ė and that was despite relatively diligent attention to the roomís sanitation.) I canít just let it go and the helper elves still havenít shown up. Damn elves. Problem number four is the fact that I have this job thing. Several of them, in fact. And while none of them is as difficult or as important as the care of my kids, I would like to keep working at them. As much as Iíd like to tell my students, ďNo, I didnít grade the papers that Iíve had for the last three weeks because I have to sleep when the baby sleepsĒ I just canít, especially since I get all pissy when they turn stuff in late.

I know that this will change. Round about age 2, the Diva rocked as a sleeper and kept it up until her brother arrived. I know sheíll get back on track eventually, as will he One day, Iíll just laugh and laugh about this stage when they are teenagers and are never seen conscious during the daylight hours. But right now, when Iím up for the nth time at 3 a.m., my only comfort is my fantasy. Maybe if Iím a good little girl, Santa will put this room in my stocking for Christmas. He doesnít even need to wrap it.

About the Author:
Adrienne Martini  has been a theatre technician, apprentice massage therapist, bookstore bookkeeper and pizza joint waitress. Eventually, someone started paying her for her words and an editorial mercenary was  born. She has written theatre reviews and features for the Austin Chronicle, blurbs about tofurkey and bottled water for Cooking Light and a piece about  knitting summer camp for Interweave Knits. She is a former editor for Knoxville, Tennessee's Metro Pulse and recently picked up an AAN award for feature writing. In July 2006, her first book Hillbilly Gothic: A Memoir of Madness and Motherhood will be published.  During the day, she fields freelance gigs and crams knowledge into the heads of college students in Upstate New York. At all hours, she is mom to Maddy and Cory, and wife to Scott. 


I I I I I I I  

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