At midnight, my spleen ruptured. OK, not really, but a talon-toed kick landed right in the vicinity of where I imagine my spleen to be. The culprit was "the baby." As I recovered from my injury and tried to figure out an approximate time frame since his last toe nail trim, I remembered holding my baby when he was a baby. There was a time he used to hold still when he slept on me. He fit against my body so perfectly with his head resting on my chest and his little legs scrunched up. He would sleep and sleep and I would count his breaths until I drifted off too.
I never slept well with my baby near me. I would wake up if he grunted, twitched or sighed. Frankly he didn't do too well either. He always liked his own space. So for most of his life, he's been in his own bed.
But last night, he was so sad. He needed his mom. So I was there. And I held him while he tossed and turned and thrashed and settled in, heavy against my chest, like a baby. It didn't last long. He likes his independence after all, so he would sleep for five minutes, thrash for two, sleep for two, thrash for five... It wasn't long before I had mercy on my poor husband and took the baby upstairs. The restlessness grew until he finally just woke up and played. Every now and then he would grow irritable, then calm down until at last, sometime just before 2am, he farted. You know that earthquake in California? It was kinda like that. I'd have been irritable too had I been storing that volume of gas. I put him back to bed, and he drifted off quite peacefully. I dozed on the couch for "just a second" to make sure he was really asleep before I went back to bed.
I was startled awake a few minutes later by a small, loud voice, "Mommy!" Before I made it to their room (that would be another mommy superpower--stealthily sprinting through the house at 2am in the dark to make sure one trauma doesn't awaken another), Benton sobbed, "I want my Mommy and now I'm going to cry!" I scooped him up and whispered in his ear and settled him back down. When I went to leave, the tears began again. "No, Mommy, don't go!" So I lay there all wrapped up in my big kid until I heard him snoring and felt drool pooling on my shoulder. At last I disentangled my limbs from his and went back to my own bed.
This job is relentless. I read and e-mail that informed me "you know you're getting old when an 'all nighter' means you don't have to get up to pee." I think the mom version involves staying in one bed the whole night.
Wednesday, Benton had a nightmare during his afternoon nap, and in the scuffle, his brother woke up as well. It was a late nap day, and I was looking forward to making dinner in peace and quiet. Well, peace and/or quiet were not to be found that day. My husband was there for the event, and was helpless to console either of them. For a moment I considered losing my mind. Inconsolable or not, we needed to eat. With a boy attached to each hip, I gave my husband a tragic look, and he understood perfectly. With a boy snuggled up on each side of me, we watched cartoons and let Daddy take care of us. He made Teriyaki Turkey Burgers (we call them tburgurs) and served them with sliced potatoes, onions and zucchini roasted on the grill. Food prepared by someone else always tastes better to me, but when that food is prepared by my hero, it tastes like heaven.
This job is relentless. It requires skills I do not posses. It tests the limits of my sanity daily. Then one day in the middle of it all, God gives you a gift. He lets you feel the wonder of the baby who used to live inside you who is now able to poke your eye and kick you in the gut at the same moment. He lets you bask in your roll as nurturer while your provider provides. He reminds you what it's all for.