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It’s 5:30 when I wake up in the dark. I know this without checking the time on my phone, because any time I get up entirely on my own it is 5:30. This is early for most people, but bad news for me. It means I am not up at 4 as I intended, it means my phone isn’t close enough to me for it’s alarm to have worked.

As I slowly feel around trying to figure out where the phone is, my light sleeping Stella is starting to rouse. Shit. There’s the phone. I was right. 5:34am. An alarm had gone off somewhere near Cole’s head. He has his mother’s ability to sleep through anything.

And now I have to go to the bathroom and there is 0% chance I am going to get out of the bedroom without having to pick Stella up. She’s upset, maybe she’s hungry of her nose is stuffed up. It doesn’t matter, she’s coming to the bathroom with because no one would appreciate it if dad pooped in the bed.

And now Stella is drifting off on my arm, the only arm within reaching distance of any toilet paper. There is no way to proceed without jostling her awake, so she is jostled.

And now it’s 6:05, and I’m standing in the living room with my computer on the counter. Stella is drifting off while I sleepily catch up with what everyone is up to.

And now it’s 6:30. Stella is back in the crib with a fresh bottle and I know enough not to try to leave. Scared to even turn my phone on, I sit at the foot of the bed as she gulps away and scraped the side of the crib with her fingernails, which sounds like her way of taunting me in the dark. When I have decided she is down, I still don’t try to leave the room. Scared to wake her up, I slide back into bed and turn my phone on and start writing.

And now it’s 7:05, the coldest part of the morning. I haven’t taken my meds yet and the dark and quiet are making me sleepy. I guess I will take a nap now until Stella wakes again.

Everything runs more smoothly for me on days when i can haul my butt out of bed at a preposterously early hour. The last two mornings preceding this one started a little after three – I want to claim it was because of my alarms but the truth is that Stella would wake up for a bottle around that time so I would just stay up. I can get more done in those early hours than I can through the rest of the day, even if the margins of that day add up to more total time. And even if I’m not getting anything done, it’s *my time* the only time I get to myself. Most people take their “me” time at night, but I hate staying up late. After 11PM (honestly, after 10) my brain turns to sludge, especially as I get older.

Mornings are mine, they always have been, but sadly, not when I misplace my alarm during the night.

Stella is stirring. It’s 7:16. I’m going to try to sleep a bit now.

Cole wakes me up. And now Stella is also awake. It’s 7:34. Those were the productive hours of my morning. This is all I have to show for it.