Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Bedtime Story

A dull blue pierces the darkness. I squint at the faint light made all too bright by my unwillingness to awaken. 3:22 a.m. Rain falls outside my bedroom window. In the distance, a train sounds its horn. A low rumbling thunder tries to make it's way to my ears. But all I can hear is my child screaming.

It's not a "I'm starving hungry and think my stomach may implode any second from lack of food" cry. It's not a "I'm awake and want you to come get me but you're still lying in bed foolish enough to think I'll go back to sleep" fuss. No, it's all out screaming. A "kidnapper tried to steal me and I narrowly escaped him through my amazing lung power" scream. A "something large and heavy just landed on my foot and I may have to have it amputated if you don't get here quick" scream. A "there's never been anything more wrong with the world than there is right now" scream.

Wide awake now, I still can't bring myself to leave the comfort of my bed in order to investigate what is causing my child so much pain and anguish. It is, after all, a Simmons Beautyrest with the ultra plush pillow top. Ultra plush.

Instead, I gently nudge my husband. He doesn't stir. I shake him a little harder. Still nothing. Apparently he has developed the amazing ability to tune all things non-sleep related out at this moment. I try again.

"The baby's crying. He shouldn't need to eat right now. Will you go check on him?"

With his eyes still closed, my husband auto-pilots out of bed and into the baby's room. The screaming continues, drowning out my husband's voice. Nothing will calm that child.

Moments later, they both appear in the bedroom: my now awake husband and a child that thinks crying has become an Olympic sport and won't settle for anything less than a gold medal.

I take the baby. After all, I am his mother and mother's are supposed to have some sort of magic touch that makes all wrongs right again, that heals all wounds, and that somehow fixes even the unfixable.

I guess nobody told the baby about this magic power of mine. He keeps on screaming.

I cave. Perhaps the baby's magic is stronger than mommy magic. The ability to get your parents to give in to your every whim despite the fact that they are deadset against it.

We go back into his room. Seated as comfortably as possible in the rocking chair with the boppy on my lap, I nurse the little baby. Instantly, his cries stop. He eats as if it will make all the monsters disappear. Not even ten minutes later, he's done. He pulls off on his own and looks around his dark room. The room is more interesting than it has ever been with all these shadows dancing around it. Sleep is no longer on the agenda.

Except that sleep is the only agenda I still remember. We return to the ultra plush pillow top, where Daddy is already sleeping. I set the baby next to him in hopes that he'll wake him up and the boys can have an all nighter together. Do manly stuff. No girls allowed.

The next hour or so drift in and out of consciousness. The baby lies happily in bed, eating his blanket. The only interruption to the peaceful, extremely awake evening is a noise that erupts from the baby's bum that rivals the thunderstorm outside. The baby thinks this is the funniest thing that's happened all night. And given how non-funny it is that we're even awake at this hour, he's probably right.

Five a.m. A clean baby is finally ready to return to sleep. Too tired to give any more at this moment, I once again awaken my husband. I hand him the baby and he willingly gets out of bed to work his baby whisperer mojo. Perhaps the best kind of magic we've got in our house.

At last. Two and a half hours of sleep. Then the baby will awaken once again...


kristymccray said...

babies who cry in the night are not typically interesting. but this entry demonstrates the gift of your writing. i was engrossed in the screaming baby story. and you know i don't like kids, espcially fussy ones. love reading your stories!

Patti said...

Fabulous story!