Ok. Fine. Do you see the white flags flapping out of my ears? It's the new normal. This is, Iris is, normal.
There is this woman I work with who is, I am sure, some kind of stereotypical something. She is overweight and talks about it constantly. She wears blue eyeshadow and frosts her hair (no, not highlights, frosts), and she recently burnt her bangs off to a crispy 1/4 inch long with some heated hairstyling instrument or another. She's a close talker and a mouth breather, and she can't sit still for longer than 20 minutes at a stretch. She spends most of her time leaning over her coworkers, cornering them into their cubicles and giving no hope of escape, asking these banal questions with bizarrely rapt attention and glassy eyes.
Her favorite question to ask me is, "Soooooo, how's little Miss Iiiiiiiris? How's she sleeeeping?" She has a problem with vowels. Anyway, my response is always the same. She sleeps when she sleeps. Sometimes she doesn't. It's not predictable, and honestly I don't even think about it anymore. So when she asked me that same question, again, not two days after the last time she asked it, I finally just looked at her and said, "you should probably just stop asking the question, because she's never going to sleep through the night, there will just finally come a day when I don't have to care that she's awake." I realized right then that I wasn't just trying to pound some sort of social awareness into her brain with my curt response, I also actually believed the statement to be true.
I spent a while longer, absently nodding while she explained that her one friend just puts her baby in the crib, and eventually she stops crying and goes to sleep, because she knows that no one is coming, so she just gives up! Her hands fly up in the air and her eyebrows disappear into her squnchy forehead, grinning and smug, as if she's just solved all my problems. As if I have never even heard of the concept of "crying it out." Sigh. She just stands there looking at me, like I need to give her a prize or something, when I level her with yet another accidental truth in my paltry efforts to get her to just. go. away. "Really, I don't care if she sleeps through the night. She's not going to. Ever. I've accepted it. Don't worry about it."
She is never going to sleep through the night. And I don't care.
It feels so much better to just live in reality than constantly wait for that which will never come. It's such a relief! Never! Hah! I've known all along, and I didn't even realize it! My eyelid is always going to twitch if I close my eyes for longer than a blink. I'm always going to drink coffee all day, then grab a glass of wine to shut off the coffee before I go to bed (not to sleep! hah! just bed). This isn't even a pity party, it's an epiphany.
Someday she'll wake up in the night and she won't cry. Maybe she'll be able to read by then, or maybe she'll be younger. She will wake up, look around herself, perhaps find a toy or an interesting tag on a blanket, and she will blessedly entertain herself. Till then, I can just enjoy her charming, quirky babyness and hope that I'm not being too bad of an influence on those nights when I forget about my epiphany and drop an f-bomb or seven in her presence.