Our baby woke up at 1:30 in the morning. No problem, I hurry to his bedroom to feed him a bottle, and he's back down to sleep. He wakes up again at 5:30. My wife's turn. This time, our little guy doesn't go back to sleep. He's UP! I take him downstairs to start the day, and my wife grabs twenty more minutes of sleep. I hang out with our tired baby until our 4-year-old joins us by 6:30. He's an early riser too--6:30 is close to sleeping in for him. I pound coffee to try to get moving but fail to eat breakfast. So I'm jittery and tired. Tina's upstairs getting ready for work, and after she gets everything organized for the boys, she heads out for work at 8:00. My parents are coming soon to watch the boys for the day. By 8:30 the baby is ready for a nap, so I try to put him down. Not happening. The sound of my baby crying doesn't bother me. The sound of my baby screaming does. Unfortunately he opts for screaming, so I take him out of the crib. I call my parents. "Don't worry about coming here. I'll bring the boys on my way to work." I throw my work bags into the car (for some reason I can't consolidate all my books and folders into one bag), toss in my lunch, and add the kids' stuff. Off to their grandparents we go. So what if the baby didn't nap, I figure he'll sleep in the car. Wishful thinking. Little baby is delirious and laughing at anything and everything. Thankfully 4-year-old Troy is behaving. He's just happy to be in his pajamas (it was the only way to coax him into the car. He was expecting to be home today). I can't exactly drop off the boys and run to work, because baby Mack has gone from delirious to exhausted. He's on the edge of screaming again. He'd probably like his mom right about now, but I'll do. He looks at me and puts out his hands. That tears my heart apart everytime. I bring him upstairs to the room that used to be my brother's bedroom. I sit in a rocking chair and get the baby to sleep. I'm afraid my wife is going to call home to check on us, and that she'll be worried if no one answers. So I stand up, continue to rock the baby, and fire off a text to let her know where we are. I look at the clock--I've got class in about an hour. After a little catnap, I hand little Mack off to my mom, leave, and race to a drive-thru. I just need a little more coffee. I get to my office at 10:30, which leaves me time to eat a banana and yogurt. I make a few minutes for small talk with colleagues and pretend everything is fine. At 11:00 I head to class and do a solid job teaching Introduction to Sociology. I'm back in my office by 12:30. "I can do this, I can do this" I say, realizing I've been up since 5:30, have held back tears at least three times in the morning, and feel like I've already put in an honest day's work. But I've got one more class to teach this afternoon, plus office hours. My day isn't over until 5:00. Then I have to pick the boys up and drive home. I can do this, I can do this, I think.
Author's note: This is a work of non-fiction.