(Here’s more evidence that all I want to write about these days is what happens when I’m lying down.)
I’m lying next to Squish in his little bed. He’s been yelling and crying for who knows how long before I heard him and went to find out what was wrong. More throw-up? Thankfully, no. He’s just sitting there on his bed. Crying, yelling. I pick him up, hold him, hug him, and lie down with him, my arm under his head. He calms down. I pull his blankets so they cover his little body. He doesn’t fight it, not this time.
“What’s wrong little buddy? What makes you so sad?”
“Are you sad?”
“Are you happy?”
“Are you . . . wishing you were a monkey?”
He is clearly still sullen and upset. I try again.
“Do you hurt?”
“Your tummy doesn’t hurt?”
“No.” (He has, at times said his throat hurt and his eyes hurt, but tonight, he is, apparently, pain free.)
“Did you know that I love you?”
“I do. I love you very very very much and I want you to be happy.”
“Yes I do. And I think you need to get some sleep so that you can be happy tomorrow.”
Still contrary, but his tone is softening. I ruffle his hair, kiss his head. We lie in silence for a few seconds. I wonder if I could fall asleep here, or if I should even think about it. This has been going on for a couple of weeks now. He cries and screams and wakes us up. There’s nothing wrong (except for when he threw up — then there was a lot wrong), and all we can do is lie down with him until he goes back to sleep.
He sounds fairly serious as he offers this little glimpse into his mind, and I think, perhaps, it might be true.
“You’re mad? Why?”
“I’m mad at you.”
“At me? Why are you mad at me?” I lean my cheek on his head just a little more, squeeze him just a little bit tighter.
“Are you mad at me because I couldn’t hear you when you were crying?”
“Is it because I’m lying in your bed?”
“Why are you mad at me?”
“Stay with me.”
“I can’t buddy. I’ve got to go back to my bed. . . . Is that why you’re mad at me?”
“I’m sorry buddy. I’ll stay until you fall back asleep. Is that okay?”
“I’ll stay until you fall asleep.”
He doesn’t protest. We lie there, silently. Now I’m wondering how many minutes it will take him to fall asleep. How many minutes I’m losing from my own rest. I try to look at the bright side. It’s not even 2:00. I’ve still got 5 hours of sleep, assuming he doesn’t wake up again.
And then I notice: his breathing has deepened. But his eyes look like they are still flitting between opened and closed. I watch and wait another minute, then slide my arm out from underneath him.
He doesn’t move.
I pull myself out of his little bed. Still, quiet.
Good night, little buddy, I think as I close the door. Sleep well.