Sleepless in New Jersey
Crawl into bed. Exhausted. Up since 5:30 a.m. (thank you, Peanut). Lots to do tomorrow. Have to look for eggs and make a fruit salad and give the girls a bath and iron their dresses and . . . . zzzzzzzzzzzz.
Sunday morning, approximately 1:30 a.m.
Walking through my yard; something’s in the woods. See a herd of giraffes, their heads taller than the trees around them. They start eating the leaves off the trees at an alarming rate. STOP! STOP! Chomp. Chomp. Crying baby. Chomp. STOP! Crying baby.
A baby is crying? In the woods? Louder. In my room. My bed. Giraffes are gone, trees are gone. In bed. Awake. Crying.
Get up. Walk down hall. Small Child* immediately stands up and reaches for me. Lift her up and lay her on my shoulder. Stand rocking with her for a few minutes. Lay her back down. Small Child begins crying again. Pick her back up.
Walk to room. Lay in bed with Small Child on my chest. Doze a bit.
Small Child’s breath deepens and slows. Stand up. Walk back down hall. Slowly, gently, silently lower Small Child into crib. Back and arm muscles strain to lift her over the crib rail and lower her down without waking her. Her body lightly hits the mattress. Carefully let her go. Stand. Take one step back.
Small Child begins crying. Again.
Walk back to room. Lay back down with Small Child on chest. Lay awake in the dark. Ten minutes should do it. Ten minutes. 2:17 . . . 2:18 . . . 2:19 . . . 2:20. Close eyes – a watched pot never boils. Close eyes. Close eyes. Focus on closing eyes. Surely it’s been 10 minutes by now.
Small Child sighs and sinks into me. Finally 2:27. Slowly stand.
“CLOCK!” Small Child declares.
shit fuck shit
Walk down hall thinking Small Child will surely fall asleep in the 15 steps to her room.
Lay Small Child down; Small Child immediately rolls to a standing position and begins crying. Again.
Drop Small Child into center of bed and lay down facing away from her. Swear silently for several minutes to myself.
Close eyes. Small Child rolls over and around. A lot. Feet in back.
Exhaustion takes over. Doze lightly. Small Child appears to doze also. Think back to her newborn days. Feel nostalgic. Flip over and face her. Drape arm over sleeping child. Nuzzle against her.
DOG! BARKING! LOUDLY! IN! HOUSE!
What the . . . ?
Dog runs down hall, barking, barking, barking.
Heart in throat. Eyes wide open.
Husband gets up and tromps down hall. Lets dog out. Barking outside house. At deer? Fox? Who knows?
Small Child mimicks dog: WOOF!
Shush Child. Time to sleep.
Woof! Woof! Woof!
Terrific. Fucking dog.
Mama exhausted. Dada exhausted.
Small child. Awake. Wiiiiidde awake.
“Mwah,” Small Child leans and kisses.
“BadCat!” Small Child notices sleeping cat on pillow.
Feet pressed against my ribs, Small Child bounces.
Arm pointed at ceiling, Small Child announces cheerfully: UP!
Small Child’s head collides violently with nose.
swear silently for several more minutes
Husband offers to take Small Child for ride.
Discuss. Decide to return her to room instead.
Walk down hall. Switch on light. Sit Small Child in crib.
Walk to kitchen. Pour milk. Offer to Child. Child declines, crying.
Hand Small Child several books. Sit on floor. Child looks at book.
Slide 12 inches toward door. Child looks over suspiciously.
Don’t move. Child returns to book. Slide some more.
Husband gets up. Comes in. Changing of the guard.
Return to bed. Sleep.
Vaguely hear Small Child’s light click off. Husband returns to bed. Sleeps.
Mommy! Did the Easter Bunny come.
Uh? East ….Bun? Wha?
Open eyes. Peanut standing by bed.
Mommy! It’s Easter.
Would it be terrible to eat jelly beans for breakfast? After this night, I’m thinking no.