Waiting It Out
Making it to bedtime after a long day caring for a toddler while sick. Planning on going straight to bed with him. Watching while his grandma, at his request, puts on his nighttime diaper. Working every angle to get him to brush his teeth. Giving him the choice between reading books or having milk. Reading Good Night Gorilla until he emphatically points to himself and grabs the book away. Watching him look over a page or two before he drops the book and starts to roll around on the bed. Wondering, as he punches at my Kindle with his tiny index finger, how he always manages to find the panel for writing a note. Brokering a deal for the Kindle. Setting it aside and settling down to nurse. Letting him switch from side to side himself, back and forth so many times I lose count. Reminding him that twiddling hurts mama. Reminding him again. Feeling the burn on my nipples if he so much as grazes them with his delicate fingers. Focusing on my elbows and feet to distract myself from the discomfort of the nipple twiddling. Despairing that he will never sleep. Deflecting his second and third requests to read books. Singing, humming, murmuring. Drifting off to sleep, finally, as he does. Waking each time he wakes to let him latch. Looking at the clock as he falls back asleep to reassure myself it is not yet time to get up. Switching sides of the bed with him at one wake up. Lying down in a pool of wet. Trying to convince myself this wet is no big deal. Feeling the wet spot again to judge its size. Feeling H’s diaper. Feeling the bed. Feeling the wetness on H’s torso, too large a spot to ignore. Getting up for a diaper and pajama change. Resigning myself to the resulting 2:30 am baby party. Slumping against the bed as H plays with the shape sorting toy. Struggling against my sore throat to swallow as my head throbs. Musing about what life would be like if I were perpetually awake. Deciding the world would look as it does in Blade Runner. Wondering if I am dying. Making it through the baby party with hazy memories of what actually happened. Crawling back in bed at 4 am. Asking him to sleep on top of me when he struggles to resettle. Feeling the pressure of his little body against mine. Dozing through the early hours of the morning with him nestled beside me. Smiling at him when he sits up in bed, looks at me seriously, and says up. Asking if he would like to get up. Smiling more at his vigorous confirmatory nods. Picking him up. Climbing out of bed for the day. Knowing, with certainty and conviction, that the rough night was worth it, that H is worth it. Hoping against hope the upcoming night is easier.