Children are such strange little creatures. I mean, we all were children at one time. We are all humans. Our biological children come from our own gene pool. So why the hell are they so complicated and hard to figure out?!
The kids had a stay home day yesterday. Daddy has Mondays off, so it was a Daddy stay home day. As planned, they played with Daddy Legos and Kids Sequence, a hand me down which sat in our closet for the better part of six months until this past Sunday. As an aside to the greater point here, Kids Sequence is pretty fun, and we played it after dinner Sunday, our first official family game night. Fun.
Back to confusing kids. Think about it. There are different doctors for kids. This has long been something I've wondered about, even though I know, logically, why the pediatric specialty exists. They are young versions of us, so what is so different that they need their own specialty? OK, I get it, but it's still one of those things that makes me go hmmmm.
While home with Daddy yesterday, Fred had a slight cough. Nothing persistant, nothing serious, but, enough that Daddy mentioned it to me when I got home. The cough was a rather barky cough, which is identifiable from a mile away. First thing that came to my head was, of course, croup. He's had croup a couple of times, the second time worse than the first. Visions of a sleepless night passed through my mind. Great, just what we all need.
Bed time was interesting. By that time, his nose had started to run a bit and he coughed that barky cough a few times. After lights out, I was in the other room on the computer when I noticed that the light in the hallway had been switched on. Assuming it was Daddy, I ignored it. Then the light went off. And on. OK, this isn't right. I walked out into the hallway to find Fred playing with the light on the side table in the hall. Sigh. Time for bed time redirection.
When he first moved into his big boy room with big boy bed, Fred would get out of bed and lock his door. Mommy and Daddy weren't bright enough to reverse the door knob when we finished the room, so we kept a paper clip handy and popped the door each time. We proved to be even less bright when we somehow found that the door was not latching. All we needed to do was push the door to enter the room, locked knob or not. On one hand I was pretty proud to have figured out that we could get in the room without the aid of a paper clip, and I used that to my advantage when I would surprise him by entering his room when I would hear the click of the door lock. At the same time, I was a bit ashamed that we'd been outsmarted by both a two year old, and a poorly hung door. Sigh.
Anyway, the futility of locking the door won and he has ceased the behaivour, replacing it with singing loudly in his bed and banging his feet against the walls. This was quickly replaced by leaving his bed and getting out his cars and trucks, or his books, and playing or reading on the floor. Soon, he realized that the poorly hung door was no obstacle, and so began the frequent exiting of the bedroom.
Like Elmer Fudd being vawy, vawy quiet hunting wabbits, Fred somehow figured out how to soften his footsteps and reduce the swish-swish sound of his diaper in order to avoid being heard walking across his room to his door. Sneaky kid. Now the first sign of his escape is the sound of whatever mischief he finds himself in outside his room.
Back to this morning's antics. Some time around 3AM, give or take some time, I was startled from sleep by the loud barking cough. It didn't repeat, and I somehow fell back to sleep. The next thing to wake me was the tell-tale swish-swish of a diaper, sounding like one of the monkeys was out in the hall running laps around the floor. Then the sound changed, and before I knew it I stumbled to my feet, trying to gain my balance and figure out where I was and what time it was. Time on the clock: 4:00AM. I darted into the hallway, fearing that Fred had figured out that he could go downstairs and mess around down there. My fear was not of him failing to navigate the steps, but of him finding fun elsewhere in the house, resulting in seemingly endless play at all hours of the night and then Mr. Super Cranky Pants the next day. Luckily, I found him just outside our doorway. Unluckily, I found him crawling out from under the small side table in the hallway, upon which rests the lamp I mentioned earlier which he enjoyed turning on and off last evening. The table is an antique sewing table handed down from my husband's grandmother's mother. The lamp that sits atop the table is also an antique, acquired by my mother at some point in the last few years, and is glass. Flashes of a toppled table and shattered lamp flew through my head until Fred emerged from under the table and I scooped him into my arms. I guess scoop isn't really the right word, especially at 4AM. At a hefty 33 pounds, it was more of a good lift, the kind you do using your legs, focusing on your core and keeping your back straight. I laugh when people tell me that I should start working our or something. They obviously never had to lift a young child the size of my kid. OK, I digress again.
After picking him up off the floor and getting him to agree to rest his head on my shoulder, I brought him back to his room, laying him gently on his bed. Realizing that the humidifier was pretty much out of water, and fearing that his cough would return with worse presentation, I tucked him in and left to fill his vaporizer. Vaporizers really irk me, and I find them to be the most difficult household tool known to mankind, but, when they're really needed, I have to admit they do come in handy. Filled with cold water and a generous sprinkle of salt, it wasn't long before ribbons of steam were pouring into the air in his room and I could feel the humidity level begin to rise. The sweet smell of success for a Mommy who usually has a battle of wills with these awful inventions. That's a whole topic in and of itself, so I'll save that for another day.
After a few deep yawns, a few rubs of his back, and a gentle kiss on his cheek, I wished him night night, closed his door, and returned to my room. I listened as carefully as I could for a cough, a diaper, footsteps, anything, and heard nothing but quiet. Eventually I drifted off to sleep. Until 4:12AM. Again, I woke suddenly to swish-swish and footsteps. I shook my husband who lay snoring beside me, to no avail. Mommy to the rescue once again. This time I found him walking and holding the banister, trying to make his way to the top of the stairs for a possible adventure downstairs. After some coaxing and refusal to let him go down the steps, he quietly agreed to return to his room. Now he claimed to be scared. Ugh. Dude, my alarm is going to go off at 5AM. This is not what I need to be going less than an hour before I'm supposed to be getting up for the day. Come on! Again, I returned him to his bed, kissed him good night, and returned to my bed, finally drifting off to sleep. Until 4:23AM. This time, I shook my husband harder and got him on his feet and into the hall to retrieve the stray child. Then I heard, "No, I want Mommy to get me. No Daddy, I want Mommy!".
This kind of statement would often warm your heart, or at least provide a virtual pat on the back for Mom. Not at 4:23AM, though, and not in repsonse to the one time that Mommy was able to get Daddy out of bed from a deep sleep! Fearing that his loud and continued protests would soon wake his big sister, I rushed into the hallway and lifted him into my arms, calling Daddy off the job. This time, I knew it was a game and I wasn't going to play any longer. After tucking him in, kissing his cheek, and reminding him not to leave his bed, I sat in the glider beside the window and listened to the drone of the Baby Beethoven quietly playing on the CD player on the dresser. At this point it was barely audible (perhaps a blessing) over the sound of the vaporizer, but it was enough to cover up the clicking of the glider as I rocked back and forth (or was I gliding?). I only stayed a few minutes before retreating to my bed, hoping for at least 15 minutes of sleep before the morning show on the alarm clock radio would blare in my ear, warning me of the dawn of another day (ironically, well before dawn).
Mission accomplished. Fred finally got back to sleep and so did I. Listening at his door before I got ready, I confirmed that he was sound asleep. It was obvious by the loud breathing, bordering on snoring, that was coming from the other side of his door. I guess only moms can appreciate the sweet sound of their babies breathing in slumber. Partly because that sounds changes as they grow up. Partly because it means they're asleep!!
I dreaded the morning wake up time today because of the missed sleep for both myself and Fred. I hoped to not be Crabby Pants, and hoped more that Fred wouldn't be Mr. Super Crabby Pants. Both kids can be tough to wake in the morning, but you know it's going to be a daunting task when they have been up at some point in the night. To my great pleasure, morning wake up routine was just fine.
With him in a deep sleep, I knew I was safe to enter his room and turn on his bedroom light. This is one of the very few situations where I appreciate the delayed illumination of CFLs. Rather than a blaring bright light, the light was soft, not bright enough to startle the dead like most regular incandescent lights. I was able to gently sit on his bed, rub his forehead and hair, and whisper his name. There's just something about a young child when they first wake that makes me smile. Their unbalanced walk, their messy bed-head hair, and the often dazed and confused look on their faces as they try to compose themselves. When they rest in my lap and hug and kiss me and tell me good morning, I wish nothing more than to be able to do this all day, because I know that time goes way too quickly and before I know it these moments will be mere memories. Despite the fact that he had me up at an hour which should be stricken from the clock, his hugs and morning greeting are enough to help me through the morning, if not the whole day.
By wake up time, his cough had less bark to it, evidence that the sauna I provided him to sleep in was effective in keeping the croup away, if even just for last night. He'll sleep in the sauna again tonight, and each night until I'm certain that he won't have a croupy spell. We were all in good spirits for our wake up time routine, and the kids got to school today bright eyed and bushy tailed, ready to play with their friends and have glorious adventures throughout the day.
Mommy then headed for work, holding on to the hope that the coffee pot in the office would be full. Mommies need a bit more than a soft light, rub of the hair, and whisper of their name to be ready for their days. Luckily, java is there to help us through our adventures in parenting.