Faithful readers may recall my recent pledge to start getting more sleep. Well.
It started out OK. I managed three nights in a row, getting in bed before midnight. Sadly, this is an accomplishment for me.
But then Life was all, “Hey, wait a minute. Who do you think you are, trying to get more sleep? Allow me to reintroduce you to your four children.”
Life loves to do things like that.
And so we were reintroduced, my children and me, at all hours of the night. They all got sick, one by one, and you know how sick kids get up in the night. You’re sleeping all peacefully in your bed, and then you roll over to find a small, silent person staring at you, all Children of the Corn-like.
Then, an eerie whisper.
This scares the heck out of my husband when it happens to him. Which has been, like, two times. I give the man credit–he’s a super hands-on dad–but when our kids are sick, they’re coming to my side of the bed. 18 billion trillion times.
So last week there was a lot of that. The 2-year-old would be up, whimpering with fever. Holding, soothing, rocking would ensue. I’d finally get him back to sleep, crawl into my bed, and the 4-year-old would be standing there. “My leg hurts,” he’d say. He’s feverish, too. I pour him a shot of ibuprofen and take him back to bed.
“Stay with me, Mama.”
So of course I stay because he’s sick, and that’s what moms do. I climb into his bed on the top bunk and cross my fingers it can handle our weight. We snuggle up and I’m just drifting off…
“I’m firsty,” he says.
We negotiate Gatorade or water, and he finally settles on Gatorade even though I tell him THERE IS NO GATORADE HERE. There is weeping.
I fetch the water and help him drink it from the special bendy straw. “It’s yucky,” he tells me. I climb back into the bunk. I close my eyes.
“My tummy hurts.”
“Go to sleep,” I mumble. “You’ll feel better.”
“I need to frow up,” he says. “I want a bucket.”
I climb down, finally feeling gratitude for the 18 million buckets the grandparents gave the children for Easter.
“Here you go.”
He hangs his head over the bucket and spits a few times. I stand nearby, yawning.
“Do you need anything else?”
No, he insists, and so I climb back into his bunk.
“My leg hurts. I need the heating pad.”
“Of course you do.”
Sleep would finally come for us both about the time the sun would rise. This scenario–or some variant of it–has been playing out a lot lately.
The children seem to be on the upswing, so maybe I’ll do better at meeting my 11 p.m. bedtime goal. Except for tonight, because it’s 10 minutes to 11 already, and here I sit, writing and drinking a Coke.
If only somebody would bring me the heating pad.
(Betsy Swenson can be reached at email@example.com.)