An ear-piercing shriek woke Grace Neunaber out of a dead sleep, and she groaned as she checked the time. Four seventeen. Next to her, David stirred and mumbled into his pillow, “Evelyn this time?”
Grace sighed wearily. “Yes. When will their antibiotics kick in? Charlotte was just up an hour ago. They’re going to wake up Katie too.” She didn’t make a move to get out of bed, secretly hoping David would offer this time, but her husband didn’t move a muscle. Rolling her eyes, she asked, “Would it kill you to get up with them once?” It had been eight months since the household had grown to include an additional three infants and a puppy, and it was taking its toll.
“You’re better at it than I am,” he replied sleepily. “Besides, I have a job to get to in the morning.”
Her anger flared. “While I sit in the lap of luxury at home, sipping wine and eating bonbons? No, David, I am busy all day long taking care of your children, so don’t you dare insinuate that I don’t have a job! I am drowning in the work involved in the upkeep of this house, and it’s still a mess! Most days I don’t even get out of my PJ’s or comb my hair until the girls are down for a nap. And my perpetual lack of sleep is not helping. I’m turning into a crazy woman!”
By now, Charlotte was wailing along with her sister, and Katie in the next room over was starting to whimper in her sleep as well.
“Fine! I’m up!” David shot back. “Who do you want me to get?”
“Forget it,” Grace said coldly, throwing the covers off. “I’ve got it.”
“No, I’ll come,” he sulked. “I’m awake anyhow.”
Both sullenly padded across the hall to their twin daughters’ room. Grace walked over to Evelyn and let David deal with Charlotte, who was a fussier baby anyhow. Serves him right, she thought resentfully. This is what I deal with all the time.
They calmed the babies in silence, their shushing the only sound as the girls’ fussing died down. Grace rocked Evelyn and rested her head against the cushion as she did so, closing her eyes for a brief respite. Ah, parenthood, she thought caustically. It’ll be the death of me yet.