Saturday, September 17, 2011

Whistling in the dark

I can’t remember how we handled the 3-hour life cycle of newborns. I remember getting down on our knees and practically weeping the first time the Kiddos slept more than four hours at a stretch, but I blank on the particulars of those first few months. I think the human brain blocks out the blinding and utterly incapacitating exhaustion that comes with being a new parent so the human race can continue.

Last night, however, gave me a little reminder of those first few months – namely how the brain will play amazing tricks on you at 2 a.m. when you wake up from a dead sleep to tend to a child.

Mommy intuition is an amazing thing. I can out-sense any baby monitor. Even years later, the slightest noise jolts me out of bed. I’m halfway to the Kiddos’ rooms before I realize I’m up. (Husband sleeps. Not a twitch, not a movement. An immobile slumbering rock. The Force is not strong with this one.)

My Spidey sense has come in very handy – I’ve prevented puke-covered sheets and headed off colds at the pass. However, it does have some drawbacks. Namely, The Boy tends to talk in his sleep. And laugh in his sleep. And SHOUT in his sleep. Just for kicks, I once started talking back when The Boy was yelling about everyone else getting a watch but him. We had a full-blown argument. Yeah, some of that will probably stick in his subconscious but the fun of arguing was a sleeping 5 year old about nonsense outweighed my concerns about permanent psychological damage. (Bells going off – maybe THIS is why he’s so obsessed with the time?)

Anyway, last night I awoke to a shriek at 2 a.m. The Boy, shouting for Girl #2 in what my keen senses characterized as a scared tone. Nightmare. OK, I can handle this. Let the rocking and back rubbing commence, I’ll be back to bed in 5.

I stumbled into The Boy’s room ready to soothe and comfort. (Yes, despite my general state of irritation, I’m surprisingly maternal. I can heal boo-boos with a kiss like nobody’s business.) Went over to The Boy’s bed and….nothing. Empty.

No problem, I thought. The Boy often has sleepovers, he’s probably in Girl #2’s room. I lurched across the hall into Girl #2’s room. Another empty bed.

At this point, my brain made the executive decision to stop working. Instead of piecing together the fact that it just heard The Boy yell with the fact that there hadn’t been any other noises in the house, the ol’ gray matter made the (at the time) wholly rational leap to the conclusion that The Boy may have been kidnapped.

I rushed back into our room, panicking. Kidnapped – KIDnapped! I must stress again that I had completely convinced myself that this had happened. Again, 2 a.m. is not the best time for rational thinking (as anyone who has left a bar after last call will tell you – ZING!).

Husband, who had been peacefully sleeping through my whole ratcheting up to crazy process, found himself being shaken awake as I babbled about kidnappers.

Husband: Um, Al, he’s fine. He’s here.

Me: NO HE’S NOT! Not in his bed, not in Girl #2’s room – maybe what I heard was him crying out for us to help him –

Husband: Al. Chill. He and Girl #2 decided to have a sleepover in her closet.

Me: Oh. Yeah. Um….’night, Husband.

Husband: (sighs)

Is it really any wonder that we feel zero burning desire to have more kids?

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