Before I go to bed

I was thinking I should write about the new strain of Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease that seems to be hitting our area pretty hard. Little ones coming in with fever, drooling, not wanting to eat, and the most distinctive and intense red, blistery rash that I’ve seen to date with regards to this viral disease.

It’s so textbook, it’s kind of scary. Typically I’ll only see sores in the back of the throat, but these poor kiddos we’ve been seeing have got it all. On their hands, their feet, in their mouth, and in the case of the toddler I saw today, around his mouth and spreading up his legs.

Poor little guy. It will get better. But for the next few days, his mom has to be vigilant about keeping him hydrated and soothing his painful throat. Love pedialyte pops for such occasions.

However, tonight before I go to bed, I’m thinking of my kids.

My son in particular and how hard it is for him to get to sleep at night. Every night. Since the beginning of his time. Since the days of our harried newborn days together and all he needed and wanted were my arms. Now, his days are spent away from me. At school. Doing what first graders do. Learning, laughing, running, cracking jokes, and shooing me away at drop-off.

The exact opposite of his Little Sister in this respect. Little Sister has always been a champion sleeper and she gladly hops into my arms at a moment’s notice. Her bear hugs are proudly displayed for all to see when I drop off and pick her up from school.

Big Brother has a different routine.

Back at home, he bounces from one room to another. Legos get taken apart and put back together. Firetrucks make their way noisily across the kitchen floor. Finally, he plops down on the couch with his latest read, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and I’m still unsure about my first grader delving into the life and language of said Wimpy Kid. But, he’s reading and he loves it.

I huddle up next to him and try to situate him on my lap. I give him a hug, but he quickly scoots off. I’ve clearly invaded his space. I joke that I could write a book about him and it would be called, Diary of a Not Sleepy Kid. He doesn’t think it’s very funny and says, don’t do that mom.

Okay, I say smiling.

I give him his space. He’s so fiercely independent during the daylight hours.

But the nights. The nights are different. His newborn self re-appears but instead of those distinctive cries that only a new soul like a baby owns, his needs at 7 years old are made apparent in persistent yet subtle ways.

Don’t leave yet, Mom. Dad, lay with me awhile. I need a drink of water. How did the Titanic sink? It’s a good thing gravity is keeping me on this bed.

And so on.

And as I sit here typing away, meaning to impart some helpful information about Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease, I cannot deny that he’s on my mind before I go to bed.

My not sleepy kid who is now sound asleep cuddled up close to his Dad who answered his call tonight.

For most nights when this happens to one of us, we typically grumble and complain about it the next day. A night lost and here we are, set to do it all over again. Groundhog’s Day, as the hubs likes to say.

But tonight, tonight seems different.

It could be the impending end of the school year. The reality that a whole year has passed. He turned seven and is finishing the first grade. Another mark on our calendar reminding us that our time is indeed finite.

Whatever it is, right now, before I head off to bed…I’m wishing it was me who answered his call.

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13 Responses to Before I go to bed
  1. angela
    May 22, 2012 | 6:00 am

    I don’t know whether to show my husband this post to show him we’re not alone or to clear my internet history lest he freak out that we have years of rough sleep ahead of us 😉

    • Melissa
      May 23, 2012 | 7:08 am

      I didn’t mean to scare you, Angela! Like I always say, every child is different. You may be in the clear long before me :-) As he gets older, we realize it won’t last forever…so on many nights we do acquiesce…

  2. Mothering From Scratch
    May 22, 2012 | 7:10 am

    Hi Melissa! It’s been a while — I used to blog over at Coming Clean (Melinda), but am now at a new blogging home and it is so good to be back. I always enjoyed visiting you!

    This post tugged on my heartstrings. My children are 12 and 15 now, so those “calls” have become less frequent. But they are still there. I just realize now how precious they are because they are so much more independent. That’s the way it should be, of course. I want them to be responsible, independent young people. I just want them to still want mom — for hugs and comfort — every now and then. :)

    • Melissa
      May 23, 2012 | 7:10 am

      So great to hear from you Melinda! Can’t wait to check out your new place! And I guess that’s the thing…already at 7, the hugs and cuddles only show up at bedtime. Otherwise, he’s off and running and has not time for us :-)

  3. Rhea
    May 22, 2012 | 8:29 am

    I am addicted to posts about how much parents love their children. I think it is such a beautiful thing to put out into the world. This sweet post is no exception — thank you for your lovely words!

    • Melissa
      May 23, 2012 | 7:13 am

      Thank you, Rhea. Funny how in the quiet of night, when they’re all asleep…I miss them and suddenly all the chaos of the evening fades into realizing how lucky I truly am :-)

  4. Marnie
    May 23, 2012 | 6:24 am

    Just read your post and the tears welled up and throat has a big lump. I have a 16 month old and your words are a great reminder to enjoy all these moments and remember that they will not last forever which for some, may be a good things. Overall, though, I’m guessing as the little ones grow older, you really start to miss some of the things you thought you really wanted to end. Thank you for your post.

  5. Nichole
    May 23, 2012 | 9:01 am

    Such a lovely post, Melissa.
    You touch on the thing that haunts me most about parenting…just how quickly it all passes by.
    But, I do think that an awareness that our time is finite will serve us well as we capture every moment we can.

  6. Jaime
    May 23, 2012 | 11:58 am

    Lovely post. I have tears in my eyes. Your son sounds like my daughter – in the sleep department. I bounce from “WILL THIS EVER END!!!” to “I don’t want it to ever end.”

    Very, very sweet. Very, very touching.

  7. Jennifer
    May 23, 2012 | 2:33 pm

    So precious! Very touching post. Now I want to go snuggle with my son who’s wrestling with his nap while I type…

  8. karen
    May 30, 2012 | 5:51 am

    Ooooh…. We have a seven year old first grader going through much of the exact same… however, I think our situation differs a bit (he has been diagnosed w/ Anxiety and Asperger’s). But truly, bedtimes are so very similar as well as the after school business and the trying to snuggle, but oh! There he goes… And for what it’s worth, I laugh out loud reading Wimpy Kid books, which we do get to read together sometimes. The view inside the mind of a middle school boy is hilarious! And, perhaps an admission of questionable parenting: I’ve read the entire series to my 5 year old daughter who (while she didn’t get everything and I was concerned about her not understanding the exaggerated bits) laughed right along with me. Oh well.

    • karen
      May 30, 2012 | 5:52 am

      And, curious to hear if you’ve ever tried melatonin at night? On nights when the anxiety is too much we give him a melatonin to help him to fall asleep and he is both comforted by that and responds well to it.

  9. Danni
    June 1, 2012 | 3:55 pm

    That post made my heart ache. I have two little ones as well, and my son requests me to stay with him every night as well. These times are so fleeting…Big Sigh…