See, here’s the thing about my kids: They both, at about 15 months of age, developed a medical condition that interrupted our sleep patterns. Make no mistake, this is better than cancer or a physical handicap or autism or ADHD or MERSA or any number of other abnormalities, acronyms, or antibiotic-resistant infections. Our problems – in my mind – are alternately horrid or comparatively luxurious, depending on the night.
Tonight is one of those when a child of mine – Sam, this time – is intermittently awake for periods of time, then seemingly asleep, but no, awake again. No seizures, but there’s a history, so you can’t just lie there and let him cry. Each time he cries, we both jump out of bed and tear into his bedroom as if carbon monoxide monitors have located and informed us of a definite leakage near his crib. Even now, as I type, he’s awake, talking, calling us.
For the first 45 minutes of his waking time, which started at 9:18 p.m., (I know that because as soon as I hear him cry out, I look at a clock, determined to be the best mother ever of a child with seizures: the fastest timer, the one gathering the most details, the sharpest observer of intricacies) we went in there to look at him, hoping that it wasn’t another one. But also hoping that if it were another one, we could notice something important that might give the doctors a clue … which way were his eyes going, how far asymmetrical was his chin, was he drooling, were the convulsions rhythmic or random? And so after two hours of that, your body is no longer primed for sleep. Even though you’ve done yoga, planted an entire 4-tier garden, walked 3 miles, shopped at the mall for a purple cocktail dress and a toy costing $8 or less (simultaneously), cooked dinner, and read Peter Pan in Spanish & English.
And because of all that, I have forgotten to mention a really important detail about The Big Brother Who Lives Around Here: He has given up Blue Blanky and ... drumroll ... sucking his thumb. Earlier this year (note the attention to detail), I -- on a whim -- hid Blue Blanky. I stuffed him into my red cowboy boot and hid him and the boot underneath some old purses in my closet. I know you're surprised that my cowboy boots don't get more use these days, but such is motherhood. In fact, the hiding took place so long ago, that I had totally forgotten about Blue until the other day, when, on the way home from school, John said, "Mom, you know, I've stopped sucking my thumb."
"Why's that?" I say.
"Well, I lost blue, remember?"
"Oh yes. Where do you think he is?"
"He probably got sucked up into the dishwasher."
And that was that.
Such a big boy.
I lay there in the bed thinking of all these things and wondering whether or not I should just get up and go write them down. I administered teething tablets, then Ibuprofen, then breastmilk, then a sippy of coconut milk (his new fave). Nothing helped. I got him up, sat with him in the living room and rocked him in the squeaky rocker while he watched for Vrooms on the street. We said goodnight to the. entire. house. three. times. And yet ...
It's now 11:38 p.m., and I just heard, "Vroom! Da-da! Ball! Mama! Nack! (snack)."
Another day in paradise.