It began last night approximately an hour after I fell fast asleep.
Sadie came in and woke me up, "Mom, Vance wants you. He's sick."
After a few seconds of trying to become coherent and distinguishing between dreams and reality, I heard the howls of Vance calling my name.
I groggily made my way down the hallway tripping over an overturned chair, a life-sized scarecrow lady the kids made earlier in the evening to scare Jace, and at least 3 mate-less shoes. The sailor in my mind began to rear his head as I stepped on an upside heel while feeling my way to the little one's room. Regardless of the children each having their own bed to sleep on, the four youngest all tend to join one another in the queen size bed in the girl's room, and last night was no different. In the far corner of the bed, Vance was flailing and calling my name in a voice that woke all of his bed mates.
"Buddy, what's wrong," I asked.
"My head hurts, I want cough medicine right now," he demanded.
I tried to calm and shush him, while reassuring the others they could go to sleep. His story changed from his head, to his teeth hurt, to he just needed a drink. With a sippy cup of water by his head and I was on my way to bed. Hunkering down in a nice warm bed after walking the gauntlet created by six kids in a chilly house is just this side of heaven. It didn't last long. In fact, it lasted 45 minutes. Just enough time for me to drift off to sleep to be awakened by screeching. I grabbed my sweatshirt and shuffled up the hall to avoid another dress-up shoe puncture, wondering to my myself why I didn't clear the way the first time. Vance was bellowing his unhappiness for all to hear; we moved to the couch in hopes of muffling his cries from his siblings. Sadie who was very concerned after witnessing the commotion, followed us to the living room. Vance was irked by her mere presence and began a verbal assault on his little sister. She was beside herself and began to bawl while Vance continued his tirade. To say I felt overwhelmed at this point, would be the biggest understatement of my life. I wanted to join in. I wanted to cry like Sadie from exhaustion, frustration, and fear that other unhappy children would soon join us and I wanted to lash back at Vance for his ungrateful attitude directed at those who were concerned for him. I kept it together though and bribed Sadie to leave the room with the promise of a morning lollipop. Vance's voice lowered to a decibel that no longer made my eardrums throb after his sister was back in bed and it was just him and me on the sofa in the light of our pellet stove. I tried to assess his symptoms, but they continued to change. The common thread was his head, so I opted to give him pain medicine in hopes of being able to find sleep on a night that was beginning to seem like it was lasting forever. I laid with him for a bit as he listed off complaints from the day and his current dissatisfaction with feeling ill. After a while he wanted to go back to bed. I obliged, because I wanted to too. Three more times he repeated the pattern, of letting me sleep just an hour before caterwauling me out of dreamland, alternating his grievances of "I need a drink" and "my teeth hurt." I felt helpless not knowing how to soothe him as my eyelids drooped lower and my impatience grew higher. He yelled for band-aids to hold since he didn't know where to place them on his body and had screaming-induced coughing fits, but finally sleep seemed to reach Vance's sleepy eyes. I excitedly slipped back between a layer of blankets.
For freakin' real?!?! A half an hour? I demanded that he leave the girl's bed and come to the couch again. He begrudgingly joined me. This time he said his ears hurt. Finally, something I knew how to treat. I got out 1 tsp. sesame oil and a clove of garlic, warmed it up and put it in a dropper while listening to him spew a litany of complaints about how bad he feels and how slow I was at getting him relief. He complained about there being too much light, there not being enough light, his ears hurting, and not liking the how the medicine felt as it dripped in to soothe his aching ear. I couldn't win for trying. In the past this home remedy has worked wonders, but I was afraid that he would call me again from the sleep I desired more than life. I found myself wishing I could have someone else come and care for this crotchety old man in my little boy's body, because he was unbearable! The sweet baby who would sleep in my arms when he didn't feel well couldn't possibly be this cantankerous kid. I was DONE and needed back-up. Then it dawned on me, actually I believe Jesus allowed me this epiphany to save both Vance and myself, and I called the best babysitter I know. Nick Jr.! He arrived at the touch of a button and Vance was in a trance as he watched an episode of some mind-numbing sing-songy show. Bad mother? Possibly. But I didn't care, because this mom was not nearly as bad as the one I would have been if I had woken up one more time before the 6:30 alarm went off. And Nick Jr. did an excellent job, like I knew he would. Vance was asleep when I got up and when he woke up 3 hours after that he didn't have a complaint to speak of--until he wanted breakfast and his cereal was MIA.
"Why do you never buy my favorite cereal anymore," he whined. Such is life with my four-year-old Vance...
|Nick Jr., a band-aid, and a plastic snake bring sleep|