Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Acquainted with the Night

1:18 AM
Her room is filled with the sour-sick smell that makes me want to crawl away and hide.  Were it not for the sweet girl whose frightened screams are blasting from her bed, I'd be tempted to do just that: leave the mess for daylight.  Instead, I yell for Justin's help, and we attack it together. 

Once the lights are on, I see the extent of the yucky.  It's bad and everywhere; she's too young to know how to sit up and keep herself clean, and I contemplate a midnight bath while Justin cleans the room.  But she's so tired.  So confused.  And past experience leads me to anticipate another mess within the coming hours.  We snuggle her sponge-washed body back into a towel-covered bed, load the soiled bedding into the laundry room, and wish her a good night. 

We back quietly out of the sour room, turning the fan on low to relieve our sense of her comfort.

2:02 AM
Again.  What once was cleaned and dry is now gross and discouraging.  She still cries, but now is awake enough to question.  We explain that when she feels yucky, to sit up -- to avoid objects.  She wants her lambie and blankie, but they are festering in the laundry room.  Seeing that the bed needs an entire scrubbing-down from the force of her sickness, we give it a few useless swipes before opting to build a pallet of toweling and sheets on the floor.  It's exciting and fun!  She rests on a new pillow, clings to a second-string lovey, and smiles sweetly.  She is not hot.  She is not lethargic.  She seems perfect in every way, although she isn't wearing pajamas just in case they'll just be a hindrance later.

We back quietly out of the dark room, crossing our fingers that the night will get better.

2:14 AM
She's sobbing because she's just realized her lack of pajamas.  She needs pajamas.  We dig through the laundry to find something easily removable, and tuck her back in, warm and dry.

3:07 AM
Again.  She's more calm, sitting up and leaning far away from her blankets.  There's not much to clean; her spasming stomach has been completely emptied.  Justin's slept through this quiet exchange, so I change her into a third set of pajamas and compliment her aim.  Touching her clean hair, marveling at its dryness, she worries: Is my hair fine?  Yes, I assure her.  I kiss the top of her head, without breathing-in her scent; although her hair was untouched this time, it's still far from fine.

As I creep towards the door, she sits up and her voice wobbles.  But who can watch over me when I'm sleeping?  I need you to watch over me.  She's trying to be brave; her lips force a grimace of strength and she smashes her fists into her eyes, daring them to spill their tears. 

I glance around the room.  I see my brave child on the floor. 

I grab another blanket, a pillow, and snuggle myself in for the rest of the night. 

5:29 AM
My neck is crooked and my hip is numb.  My feet are cold. 

But Lauren is softly snoring, deeply and finally asleep.  The night is over; long live the night.


  1. Poor Lauren! Hope she's better soon ... and you get some time and energy to tackle the laundry monster today. =<

  2. So exhausting! Hope she is feeling better soon. I'm also impressed with her aim, my newly minted 3 year old would be no where close!

  3. Oh have I been there Sarah. Oh my, have I been there. And you did the right thing; snuggling in for the rest of the night next to her. Also, your compliment on her aim... ha. I would have kidded with my boys in the very same way. Especially Domo. That kid loves a joke.

    When I was pregnant with Dominic Anthony had croup that turned into pneumonia. Nick was, of course, away on a business trip... it was the longest 4 days of my life. My heart broke for my poor bambino.

  4. Oh Sarah, you are an amazing momma! You must be exhausted. I hope Lauren feels better soon. Sick kids are the worst!

  5. How is it that you can make an awful night sound so heartwrenching but funny and sweet at the same time?! :) I sure hope she's feeling better!

  6. Oh, what a wonderful mommie!! Hopefully she will be better soon!!


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