4:25 a.m. I hear Gracie's cry over the monitor. I groan, roll out of bed, stumble through the house into the nursery and give her her paci. She goes back to sleep immediately. I get back in bed and fall asleep.
4:45 a.m. She cries again. Micah knows that it's his turn, so he goes in and gives her the paci again (without me even asking. Best. Husband. Ever.). Two times is usually our limit, so I pray that she stays asleep this time as Micah slides back in bed.
4:55 a.m. She's at it again, and this time I try and let her cry it out (after cursing myself for even giving her the paci in the first place). After 12 excruciatingly long minutes, I realize that she's not even close to putting herself back to sleep like she usually does. So I go in and check on her.
When she sees me, she starts wailing even harder. Poor baby. I pick her up, sniff her to see if we've got a Code Brown situation (we're clear - praise the Lord!), and try and comfort her. She arches her back and continues to cry. I rock and shush her for at least five minutes before I carry her into the bedroom and, in a panic, ask Micah whether I should just go ahead and feed her (she usually eats at 6:15-ish) or try and give her the paci to calm her down. We agree to feed her (seeing as how the paci wasn't really working anyway), and Micah goes in to make the bottle while I try and calm her down.
5:25 a.m. As she's frantically sucking down her bottle, I wonder why in the heck she's needing an extra feeding when she's gone weeks without one. She just finished the antibiotics for her sinus infection -- is her tummy hurting? Are the probiotics we gave her last night to try and counteract the tummy troubles from the antibiotics actually making them worse? Is she hitting a growth spurt? Are you even supposed to feed babies at night during growth spurts after they've stopped taking nighttime feedings? She fell asleep at 7:30 last night - did she just get too much sleep?
Just as she finishes the last of the bottle, she spits almost all of it up. Fabulous. After I wipe us both off, I lay her in her crib to see if she might go back to sleep.
5:35 a.m. She's still talking to herself in her crib and making it abundantly clear that sleep is the last thing on her mind. I scoop her up, change her diaper, and snap on a bib. She giggles her sweet little giggle, and I melt. We head into the master bath, and I strap her into her infant seat so that I can get ready. She spits up again, but thankfully the bib catches most of it.
5:55 a.m. As I'm headed to throw my work clothes in the dryer, I look down and see that she has made a colossal... ahem... mess in her infant seat. I take the munchkin to clean her up while Micah deals with the seat. I go ahead and put on her outfit for the day (plus another bib - the other one was already soaked through) after I wipe her down and change her diaper again.
6:10 a.m. She's getting sleepy, so I put her in her crib while I finish getting ready. She's out before I'm even out the door.
6:30 a.m. After I load up the car, I quietly pick her up and strap her in her carseat and head into Dallas.
6:55 a.m. We're about 10 minutes from daycare when she wakes up crying. She never cries in the car unless she has a dirty diaper, and I feel terrible that she has to sit in it until we can get to school. I reach back to give her her paci a few times before I finally give up. Almost there.
7:15 a.m. I walk into her classroom (with her carseat, diaper bag, and bottles in tow) and see that we're the first ones here. Guilt washes over me as I sign her in and fill out her information sheet as quickly as I can. Her sweet teacher gets her out of her carseat and puts on her third diaper of the day while I finish the paperwork. Grace is all smiles as I kiss her goodbye, wishing that I could just take her home to snuggle all day.
7:25 a.m. I am halfway back to work when I realize that I still have Micah's cell phone with me (he forgot it at home). I turn around and head back in to put it in Grace's diaper bag so that he can have it when he comes to pick her up this afternoon. Her teacher is holding her in the doorway so that Grace can "talk" to some of the teachers who have stopped by to say hello. I smile and know that she is well taken care of. After I drop Micah's phone into the diaper bag, I sneak another kiss just before she spits up again and help Miss Jessica clean her up.
I get in my car and drive away for a second time. I already miss her.