A Night to Remember (to Forget)

Friday night I had a long series of Braxton Hicks contractions that caused me to sleep fitfully, to say the least.

Saturday night I woke up so uncomfortably squished between my eldest children, I had to flee the premises and start my Sunday morning routine two hours earlier than usual.

Sunday’s afternoon nap was a bust.

And then there was Sunday night.

At 3:30 a.m. Rebekah was crying because she couldn’t find her stuffed sheep, and it was the only thing that would help her go back to sleep and now she would “never, ever be able to find it again!”

Gideon was crying because he had diarrhea.

Jake was barking because he is a puppy and he doesn’t like his crate.

Mr. Gore was helping Gideon.

I was probably whimpering and pouting as I tried to pretend like none of the above was happening.

And Betsie…what do you know? Betsie was asleep. It was obviously Opposites Day, because most usually, she is the one waking up in the middle of the night to throw the house into chaos.

And here’s how the rest of the night went:

Jake stops barking, hallelujer.

Rebekah decides Mama is just as good as sheep and snuggles into my side.

Gideon settles in next to Papa.

Five minutes pass.

Gideon starts wriggling.

Two minutes pass.

Gideon starts scratching at his mosquito bites.

Three minutes pass.

Gideon starts clawing at his mosquito bites.

Two more minutes pass.

Gideon starts tossing and turning while clawing and scratching at his mosquito bites.

One minute passes.

Gideon starts to cry because he is so itchy and he can’t sleep.

Mr. Gore whisks Gideon away to treat his mosquito bites.

Rebekah and I settle back in.

Rebekah whispers to me “Am I a good girl because I’m not crying like Gideon?”

Her breath smells like a gut-wagon.

I whisper back that Gideon is just having a hard time and to remember that she was just crying thirteen minutes ago.

Gideon and Mr. Gore return.

Everyone settles down again.

The instrumental theme song from “Castle” begins playing repeatedly in my head as images of back-to-back murder victims from the show flash through my memory.

I try to mentally change the subject.

I can’t.

I toss.

I turn.

I plump up my pillows and try to get comfortable.

Three hours go by. Or at least it feels like it. We are all still awake. The restlessness is palpable.

Mr. Gore escapes from the room to presumably sleep on the couch.

Gideon asks where Papa went.

“Why are you still awake?!” my head screams.

“He’ll be back…” I whisper.

A flash of light hits my eyes. Gideon has turned the lamp on and then off very quickly.

“Gideon!” I bark. “What are you doing?!”

“I’m sorry…” he says, starting to cry again. “I need Papa…”

I have to get some air.

I grab my pillow and my glasses and shuffle from the room.

“I’ll go find him. I’ll be right back…” I mutter as I leave the room.

Mr. Gore is hidden under twenty pillows on the couch.

I go to the bathroom next to the living room.

I sit on the tiny settee near the couch.

I lay down on the tiny settee.

This is very uncomfortable.

I sit back up and put my head in my hands.

Mr. Gore emerges from his pillow mountain to ask what I’m doing and insists I sleep on the couch.

I assure him that I’m just taking a break before returning to bed.

I hear Gideon crying now.

I shuffle back to our room.

Gideon is beside himself, asking for Papa and saying he “can’t breathe!!”

I plop down between him and Rebekah.

I try to comfort Gideon.

“I need someone to help me! I can’t breath!” he wails, “I need you to fan me! Quick!”

(The backstory to this madness would take too long to explain…)

Jake starts barking again.

“You just woke up Jake!” I accuse him.

Miraculously, he can breathe again and stops crying.

Rebekah says “Gideon, if you need help, you should ask without crying, because when you cry, you wake everybody up.”

I remind her that she did the same thing fifteen hours and thirteen minutes ago.

I gather them both up and we all cuddle together in a big mass of bodies.

When did our king-sized bed get so small?…

“Rebekah,” Gideon whispers, “Guess what?”

“What?” she asks.

“I have a pull-up on.” he replies.

They both burst into giggles.

Rebekah confides that she has a pull-up on, too.

I am SO confused by this, but I don’t even ask.

Rebekah makes a joke about poop.

They both burst into giggles.

“Okay, you guys, it is REALLY time to go to sleep…” I remind them.

We all settle down again.

Gideon starts breathing heavily.

Gideon starts snoring.

I mentally punch myself in the face.

I start writing a children’s book in my mind.

I force myself to stop because I have no way to write it down.

The baby in my tummy starts kicking, probably to remind me that tonight’s lack of sleep is nothin’ compared to what he/she has in store for me at the end of August.

Two hours go by. Or at least it feels like it.

I need some air again.

I grab my pillow and glasses and shuffle from the room.

“Mama?!” Rebekah says when I open the door…

“Why are you still awake?!” my head screams.

“I’ll be back…” I whisper.

I go to the bathroom again.

I’m hungry.

I stealthily fix a bowl of Sugar Smacks cereal, being careful not to wake up Jake in the sunroom, Mr. Gore in the living room, Betsie upstairs, and Gideon and Rebekah in our room. That leaves one room.

The office.

I sit in the creaky chair, turn down the computer brightness and get on facebook.

Funny. Nothing has happened since midnight.

I check the news.

Even worldwide, nothing has happened since midnight.

I scroll through Pinterest and finish my cereal.

Three pictures have been pinned since midnight.

I’m still hungry.

I pour another bowl of cereal.

I pull up a Desiring God article titled “The Family: God’s Litmus Test of Applied Grace”.

The words are too big and intelligent for the middle of the night.

I decide to read it in the morning.

I’m thirsty.

I fumble around in the dark kitchen until I remember the water bottle in my purse.

I find it and take a couple of swigs.

It tastes hot and old.

I want my Mommy.

I go to the bathroom again.

I lay on the settee again.

The settee seems even tinier than ever.

I sit up and rearrange the pillows so I am perfectly propped up.

The settee still seems tiny.

I mentally laugh, thinking that if I so much as sneeze, I will probably roll right off the settee and onto the floor like the meatball on top of spaghetti.

I start singing “On Top of Spaghetti” in my head.

I hate that song.

My right hand is going numb and tingly again (one of my favorite pregnancy side-effects), so I try to find the perfect position to make it come to life again.

It stops tingling.

That’s when I realize the top of my ribcage is on fire, another of my favorite pregnancy side-effects.

I cannot get comfortable.

My mind replaces “On Top of Spaghetti” with Alecia Keys’ “Girl on Fire” now, but instead of singing “this girl is on fire” I’m singing “my ribs are on fire…my ribs are on fi-err-er-er-er-er-errrr…” over and over again.

I start to manically laugh in my head and decide this night is blogworthy and that I should mentally catalogue all that has taken place since 3:30 a.m. so I won’t forget it.

I hold my glasses up to my face and squint at the VCR clock.

That’s right, I said VCR.

5:30 a.m.

“Please, God…” I beg, “I can’t be up for the day. I just can’t…”

I lay back down and tightly close my eyes.

I fall in and out of sleep, my back killing me on the tiny settee, until I hear Mr. Gore rise from the couch to take care of our barking puppy. It is 6:30 now and I know he is up for the day.

I immediately move to the couch.

I prop seven feather pillows up in the perfect position and sink down in comfort…

I close my eyes.

I open them.

I put on my glasses and squint at the clock on the VCR.

9:30 a.m.

Coffee is brewing.

Family is whispering and tiptoeing around.

Puppy is outside.

I somehow feel rested and happy.

Huh. Joy really does come in the morning!

Mostly because the night…

is finally…


7 thoughts on “A Night to Remember (to Forget)

  1. Lots of LOL’s in there! My favorite might be Rebekah’s, “Am I a good girl because I’m not crying like Gideon?” Ah, the “older brother of the Prodigal Son” syndrome lives on! 🙂

  2. u poor girl….((((HUG))) and sadly the memories r flooding back to me about my pregnancies because i suffered “sleepy” hands and feet…had acid re-flux soooo bad that actually the only thing that cured it was Orange Juice..I KNOW..but it worked!
    i am glad that you finally got some sleep….

  3. I absolutely LOVE reading your blog. It wears me out (I’m 62…been there, done that) but is so relatable. We have 5 “grand”children on the west coast and don’t get to see them often enough. God bless you, as you touch so many lives with your honesty, and God bless your precious family.

  4. You might already know this, but if you dab a little bit of Clorox on the mosquito bites as soon as possible after they get them, it stops the itching immediately…

  5. Holy moley, what a night! I remember nights like that when the kids were little. I now have interrupted nights b/c of menopause! Sleep is a rare commodity these days! I hope tonight is much better for you!

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