Friday, January 23, 2009

Listening to him cry

It is so hard for our boy to fall asleep.

The Masons would admire the pre-sleep ceremony put on by Mama and I. The ablutions, the incantatory recitation of "Hand Hand Fingers Thumb", the bouncing, the delicate dance across the room towards the bassinet. The hope, the desperate silly hope that fate will smile on us and he will sleep...

The wails and rending of cloth when his eyes pop open the instant his head touches cloth.

Back to the ball once more. Bounce in the dark. Bounce in the whiteness of the rain on the roof, the fan, the air filter. Bounce a million miles from any other person, alone, you and him in the middle of a city where everyone else, every person, every baby, every dog and fish, even the toll collectors have drifted to sleep.

There is our little fighter, so tired, burning bright as a star in the center of a dark blue, slumbering universe . Just me and him, bouncing and bouncing away the night.

Mikaela adds: "We went to a sleep class with a child sleep specialist. Its nice to know that there are other parents out there, like us, bouncing in the dark."

So here we are, on a sunday morning, and beneath two-black out sheets, the anti-cat net and the hopeful gaze of his mama, Asher screams.

Not the "I'm bored! Enterrrrtainnnnn meeee!" he's adopted at three and a half months. We're well beyond that now.

This is the screaming of a soul in pain. To my ears anyway. As I sit in the dark and night runs like honey on the kitchen table towards early, early morning.

"Is it the dark?" I wonder, bouncing away with my pinkie in his parched mouth, dry from the snap inhalations and rasping cries.

"Is it a hidden thorn in the feet of his footies? Is it the pain in his ears from the wailing he doesn't know comes from his own mouth? Does he see things I can't see anymore?"

What causes those arms to stay stiff and wave sleep away? Why is exhaustion the only pathway to sleep? Why little boy? Why?

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