we the dreamers verse ficbit: hush little baby
A short piece where Lourdes is about three or four months old and going through a change in her sleep patterns, exhausting her poor mama in the process.
The nights where Lourdes was fussy were the hardest in Mari’s opinion.
She had three papers due in three different classes and a dance routine to learn by Monday, and she hadn’t gotten a good night’s sleep in, well, forever. Not to mention the 8am class she had in the morning; she should have been in bed hours ago if she didn’t want to sleep right through it.
And yet, her daughter still wouldn’t sleep.
“Josie Lu, baby girl,” Mari crooned to the pale-haired baby girl, whose little face was screwed up oh-so-tight and despite all the rocking and patting of her diaper-covered bottom, was still wailing pitifully. “Baby, sweetie, what on earth could be wrong with you? Your diaper is dry, you just ate, and you’ve been burped to within an inch of your tiny little life. Please, baby, calm down…”
How on earth did she think she could pull off being a single parent?
Settling down into the glider rocker that had been a present from her mother when she found out about her impending grandchild, Mari’s mind started to drift despite the loudness of her infant daughter in her arms. She daydreamed that Jeff was going to walk through her studio apartment door any minute now, tired himself from a long day of classes and the job he held at the campus coffee shop but ready to pitch in any way he could.
“Is it time for evening fussies again?” Jeff dropped his backpack by the front door and crossed the tiny room over to Mari and Lourdes, holding his arms open for his daughter. Mari gratefully passed the baby over, instantly feeling relief getting her away if only for a little bit. “Shhhh, Lulu, Daddy’s home, go to sleep sweetheart…”
As if by magic, the little girl’s cries eventually diminished in volume, tapering down to an occasional discontented whimper until she was sound asleep in her daddy’s arms, looking completely angelic.
“Can I just bottle whatever it is you have so I can hoard it away on nights like this?” Mari smiled up at Jeff, still swaying peacefully with baby in arms.
“I don’t know what it is I do differently,” Jeff flashed a smile back at the mother of his child, noting the dark circles underneath her eyes and how she tried to hide her yawns from him. “Tink, hon, go lay down. You look like you’re about to pass out still standing.”
Mari smiled faintly at the familiar pet name. “Can’t. Still have too much to do. Those papers won’t write themselves, you know.”
Jeff shifted Lourdes to one arm and used the other to steer her towards their full-sized bed, the piece of furniture too large for the cramped apartment yet still too small to contain the both of them comfortably. “Sleep, Tink. The papers can wait. Lulu needs a well-rested mama.”
“Maybe just a short nap,” Mari mumbled, stretching out on the bed and burying her face in the pillow. She was out in minutes.
Mari awoke with a start in the rocker, miraculously managing not to wake the now-sleeping baby in the process. Her exhaustion had finally caught up with her, having fallen asleep sitting up with the baby in her arms again.
She really needed to stop doing that.
The dream still vivid in her mind, she automatically looked around for Jeff, expecting him to be asleep in the bed across the room. It was seconds later when she realized he wasn’t actually here.
Mari leaned her head against the pillowed back of the rocker, letting out a gusty, longing sigh before closing her eyes once again.
The papers really could wait, just like Jeff had said.