one of those weeks without enough coffee in the world.

3 am, 4 am, 5 am, 6 am, and 7 am all witnessed on the clock by my bleary eyes. sleep training feels like one big irony from here, a joke concocted by sadists. training me to do without sleep, is apparently what the fine print musta read. i can’t vouch for it. i can barely see.

i was quite happy just bringing her into the bed and nursing through the wee hours, dozing and shifting, the two of us a cosleeping tangle that i never intended but found rather civilized. ’til now. apparently the regularity of our round-the-clock feedings have encouraged Ms. Posey in the belief that one must also wake up, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, in regular intervals around the clock. jesus have mercy. there was a point in my life where 3am was a perfectly reasonable time of day for oh, i dunno, ordering up a round of shooters, but now that i am denied such revelries i think she should be too. so i’m trying to break her of the expectation of a full breakfast at 3, replete with cheery mommy waitress. instead, we lie in the dark, swaddled and shhhhing, repeatedly inserting the reviled – by Josephine – soother while she scratches at it and me with her baby wolverine talons. quality time, that. and she’s got stamina, my kid.

last night she actually stayed in her little sidecar bed, granting the soother a haughty acceptance. i have removed all the stimuli i can think of from the experience, all the motivation…we did not feed, we did not talk, we did not rock. there were only gentle shhhhes and the pat of my drowsy, drooping hand on fat cheeks. and still she was wide awake from 3am until 5:30.

Dave got kicked out of bed and down to the couch when it became clear that the swaddle and the Fisher Price aquarium lullabies weren’t doing anything to soothe the wee, savage Iggy Pop all a-frolic in her cot. i figured one of us might as well sleep. he in turn then got up with Oscar so that when slumber finally fell heavy on our daughter at dawn, i didn’t have to watch 8 am come round on the digital display. at 8:12, she woke for good…but at 8 am i was dreaming that i’d forgotten to get on the plane for my vacation.

vacation, ha. but small mercies, small kindnesses. love in this house.

last night, bathtime for munchkins. Posey had been retrieved wriggling from the water and primped and packed plumply into her sleeper and sleepsack and we sat nursing in the rocker whilst Oscar finished his rousing rendition of do mi mi, mi so so for his bath toys and then i heard Dave lift him out of the water and O made the very same request as he’s been making after bath since he learned to finally articulate the words months ago.

tell me a storwy about Diesel, Daddy.

Oscar has a Thomas the Tank Engine fetish. to please our young enthusiast, his father and i have for what feels like a lifetime been fabricating – and massacring – stories about Thomas. the liberties we’ve taken would make Sir Topham Hatt cringe, delightfully.

but we’re tapped out. done. saturated. we’ve drawn the line. no more post-bath Thomas improvisations. please.

which doesn’t mean Oscar’s done asking. dulcet tones for the request, and his father’s firm “no” in return. a pause. then the parry, tell me a story about YOU, then, Dada. silence. the fuzzy silence that sweeps over even the most talkative of us when put on the spot and unsure if we know any stories about ourselves that are remotely interesting yet appropriate for two-year-olds. do two-year-olds like beer stories as much as trains?

ever helpful, i piped up, tell him a story about ME. i’m lots of fun!

a laugh wafted through the door. and i heard…

once there was a girl named Bonnie. she was a nice girl. one day she found herself on a very beautiful beach where she met a handsome prince.

and i glanced down at my wool socks and thought, oooh, i could love this story even though in non-fiction i am not so much the beach heroine type.

he continued, the prince was VERY handsome. very very handsome. amazingly handsome.

i began to suspect that i was not about to encounter George Clooney in this fairytale. scrreeeeeech went the sunny Thai beach in my mind. another set snapped down in the backdrop, another beach, a humbler one on New Brunswick’s north shore, and a bonfire, and guitars, and a twenty-one year old boy with sharp blue eyes and shocking frankness and a pestilent sense of humour…a boy who would lend me his old, torn Levi’s – to keep – that first night i met him. a boy who would seem to me to be the little brother i never really had for almost five years, until the kinship swelled into something urgent and less than brotherly.

and Bonnie thought she was SOOOOO lucky to have met the handsome prince…

that they both ran off and married other people! i inserted from my perch in the rocking chair.

Bonnie was very wrong-minded, intoned the storyteller cum toddler tooth-brusher in the other room. but eventually the handsome prince found her in a land far, far away, called Korea, he continued, and she looked at him and realized just how truly marvellous he was.

she had been drinking a LOT of gin, i pointed out.

he forgave her obvious flaws and weaknesses came the voice from the bathroom, trying hard now not to laugh, and then they lived happily ever after and had beautiful babies named Oscar – yes, Oscar! – and Josephine!

Me, Daddy?

yes, you, Oscar.

Oscar’s little face, pink-cheeked from his bath, peeked around the corner into the bedroom, his curls a halo. he looked at me intently, exultantly.

Mama, you have a PRINCE! he shouted, laughing as if this were the most hilarious thing in the world. then he stopped dead and looked me straight in the eye. where is he?

love in this house, and laughter.