We have all seen it, the commercial where baby wakes up in the night with a fever, and Mom steps off the magazine cover and into the crying baby’s bedroom, not one hair mussed to ease the fever away with Tempra or some similar drug, lullabyes’ and snuggles…
(insert sound of record skipping here) – WHAT?! What planet do they live on and when can I move??
3:00 am wake up calls by a feverish child are a little more like this here on planet earth…
*crying baby – You wake up, listen, hoping against hope it’s just a one off, that it was a nightmare or the ‘ghost’ cries that most mothers hear in the night at some point or other. Then the second cry comes, then more until finally you have no choice but to investigate, thus leaving your warm cozy bed and attempting to find your way in the dark to the room with the source of the tears. Your hair (if it’s anything like mine) is a virtual nightmare of curls and tangles, your eyes puffy from lack of sleep, the clothes on your back resemble more your husbands old Tshirt and some pj bottoms than any pretty night gown on some dumb commercial…
You open the door and the tears stop instantly, you reach into the crib and tiny hot hands reach up for help and comfort. You heart picks up just enough to know that even if you deal with this, sleep is not going to come again for a long time. You pick up your child in your arms, touch your palm to his forehead and cringe at the heat radiating off him.
Then, and this is the dangerous part, you walk through the dark house and start down the stairs holding your sick child carefully, but it doesn’t negate that you are sleepy, the house is dark and who knows what toys and obstacles have been left on the stairs from the night before. You find the medicine in the cupboard, administer it to him, give him some water, cuddle a little bit, and then make the deadly trek back up the darkened stairs. You move down the hall, whispering softly that it’s time to go back to sleep, and you pray silently that it will be that easy. You move the child over the crib and you feel his little body tense, you hear the whimpers and you know that if you put this child down he will wake the house with his screams, so you cave and pick him back up. He settles again, thumb in mouth, head on chest, he’s sweet, but he’s also the only thing standing in the way of you sleeping right now.
You finally realize that the only way to sleep is if you continue to cuddle him in your own bed, so at the risk of grumpy hubby you walk down the hall and back into your room, you try to ever so quietly crawl into bed and get comfortable with baby straddled over you (and a giant tigger shoved in your nose). It isn’t long before you realize that the sleeping child beside you snores more loudly than your husband and that if you remain this position you will cramp up long before morning. You shift, a tiny bit at a time, trying desperately not to wake the two people now sharing your bed. You find a spot, at the edge of the bed, the one spot on the bed with no blankets, and you figure it’s better than nothing so you cling to that spot for your life.
It’s of course at this point that your sweet, poor sick child begins to thrash around, kicking, punching, pulling hair and in every other way imaginable make your hope of sleep fade into a memory. You lie there, praying for patience, praying that deep sleep will come for you both, silence comes and you think your prayers were answered, but then a little voice in the night starts to chatter away.. ‘Mama, Dada, doggie’. Yes, that’s right, the meds have kicked in, the fever has reduced and your poor sick child has become a happy little toddler who gets to sleep with Mum and Dad for the night. You stick it out a little while, in hopes that sleep will really come, but then the child who so desperately wants to stay awake and enjoy this one on one time, starts pulling your hair for attention, hitting you in the head to wake you up (I honestly believe they think we are sleeping). Finally you decide to risk the screams of anger as you put the child into his crib once more, realizing that you can’t not sleep at all and still deal lovingly with a sick child. You scoop him up, leave your bed again, walk through the dark hall again, open the child’s room again, feel the tension in his body immediately, and then it happens, you lay him down, talking quietly to him and before you can finish the sentence there are screams of rage emitting from this child that should wake all of Toronto, let alone the sleeping brother in the room next door. You gather your resolve and leave the room, quietly closing the door and making your way back down the hall to your own room. By this time your husband is awake, but only through a miracle of God is your eldest still happily dreaming. The screams for only 15 minutes or so but it feels like eternity in the middle of the night, you ask yourself a million times if you should go, if he has thrown his Tigger overboard, if his fever is back up, (the stress of this 15 minutes has your heart rate elevated so high that you can probably skip tomorrows work out). Then, slowly the screams become a touch quieter, and ever so fewer until finally silence again settles over the house again. You hear the snores of your husband beside you, and you lie there. You know that tomorrow morning is just a few precious hours away, naps impossible, you close your eyes and pray for sleep.
When the morning comes, in too short a time, you come down the stairs to see two cute and happy faces staring up at you as if the night before had been a bad dream. coffee is the only thing that will fix what you are feeling, and then the news comes on, or some other morning show and they show you a tempra commercial, with a stunningly beautiful blond mother, cuddling her sweet but sick child in her arms, then placing the said baby so gently into the crib, then they show a shot of the sweet sleeping baby.
Yup – only strong coffee will fix what you are feeling.