Gideon, the Night Court Jester

Do your kids ever wake you up in the middle of the night? Mine don’t. But they wake their Papa up all the time, and when I say “they” I mean…Gideon.

The reason this topic even came up in my mind is because I was up late a few months ago, working on “my blog” (tee hee), Mr. Gore snoozing peacefully beside me. A sound, like the howl of a coyote, pricked my ears and I tilted my head to listen. Hark! It wasn’t a coyote, it was a child, yelling “Papa! PAPA!!

I snapped into gear, realizing that for the first time in a long time, maybe forever, I could be the hero! I could put down my computer, sneak out of the room and handle whatever was going on upstairs, leaving Mr. Gore to his sweet dreams. And so I did. Gideon was at the top of the stairs, body looking longer and leaner than ever in his red unionjack pajamas. And he was sitting on his knees, crying, scooting/jumping forward every once in awhile in a sleepy state of misery, each scoot punctuated by a louder cry.

“What’s wrong, Bub?” I asked in soothing tones.

“I need Papa! I need PAPA!!!” he howled, eyes half closed in drowsiness.

I gathered him in my arms, somehow managing to contain him between flails. “Well, Papa’s asleep, but Mama is here to help you. What do you need?”

“I need Papa to button my buttons!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

The fact that this statement or the theatrics surrounding it gave me no pause whatsoever will give you an idea of exactly how often we deal with these sorts of crises with our “colorful” son. I took a deep breath and assured Gideon that I was perfectly capable of buttoning his buttons; in response, he covered them with his hands and emphatically demanded that such a chore must be done by Papa and Papa alone.

These are the things Chris “fixes” in the middle of the night, all the time. There are two things to realize about Gid the Kid: 1. He takes after his Mama in that he is not to be taken seriously when he wakes up in the night. He makes no sense and is absolutely unreasonable. 2. That, crazy as Gideon may be, he isn’t mean. He is just…extremely focused. My first reaction is always to take offense. But when I remember that once his stubborn brain has decided something (in this case that his buttons must be buttoned by his Papa) he truly has a difficult time convincing it otherwise, I’m able to keep my feelings from being hurt. I began trying to explain to him how selfish and rude it would be to wake up Papa when Mama is right here, willing to help. But remember the last part of #1? Absolutely unreasonable.

Anyway, to my dismay, Papa soon came up the stairs and rescued us all, stealing my heroic spotlight, and Gideon once again became his jovial, albeit sleepy, self, especially after Papa buttoned those stubborn buttons. “Sank you for buttoning my buttons. I’m sorry I threw a fit and wouldn’t let Mama button my buttons….” We both forgave him, kissed him and sent him back to bed.

And back we went, down the stairs. As far as Chris’s life goes, it was the 83rd verse in a song that he hears most every night…

One night when our son called for Papa’s help sometime around 1:00 a.m., voice strongly insinuating that there was an emergency upstairs, Chris bounded up to the second floor to see what was the matter. Stepping into the children’s room, he found Gideon staring forlornly at a solemn line-up of all of his stuffed animals ~ Reindeer was next to Huckleberry the dog who was next to Coyote who was next to Horse who was next to Lamb. “What’s the matter?” Chris asked, looking for the emergency. Gideon pointed to his row of best toy friends and sobbed, “I don’t know which animal to sleep with!”

Another night when Chris and I were sleeping in the full-sized bed in the kids room, Gideon began to make a quiet gagging noise, which soon turned into a choking, rather alarming sound. “Gideon??” Chris said concernedly, “Are you okay?? What’s wrong?” Gideon immediately stopped and said as normal as you please “Nothin’. I was just trying to wake you up so you could read this book to me.”

But nothing trumps the night that Chris was awakened in the middle of the night to his name being called. “Papa! Papa, help!!! Papa! Papa??!” Chris heaved a great sigh and made that familiar trek up the stairs to rescue his firstborn from the dramatics that daily entangle his little body and soul. Gideon was sitting up in his little iron toddler bed, just crying. “Bud, what’s wrong?” Chris asked. Our son shrugged helplessly and asked Chris the question that was apparently plaguing him so much that he was losing sleep. “Papa…how do turtles scratch their backs?!”

Funny…as Gideon has grown into a mature four-year old, he rarely calls for his Papa after midnight anymore. But that question he asked is what keeps us up at night now….

How do turtles scratch their backs?!

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