As any new parent knows, night-time with children can be an adventure- though usually not the kind of adventure one goes looking for. These adventures usually involve poop, spit-up, croup or colic; adventures I liken to that show on the Discovery Channel, Man vs. Wild where the poor man gets dropped somewhere in the wilderness and has to eat bugs and raw fish, wade through frozen streams, and hide from wild bears or hyenas. These are not adventures anyone would deliberately choose, but with parenthood, they come with the territory.
The good news is that as the baby grows older, the adventures become fewer and farther between, allowing the parents to fall into some semblance of their former sleep patterns. The bad news is that the parents sometimes lose their night-time groove, a necessity for handling nocturnal emergencies. Because one never knows what may happen in the middle of the night.
Admittedly, John and I are on the losing side of the the night-time groove thing, John more than I. Occasionally we are still tested, like last night for instance. Now, John is a very light sleeper, but although he can hear a mosquito land in the room, he is only semi-coherent once he wakes up. This tends to add to the confusion. Last night he heard a child coming toward our bedroom. It was Nathanael, and he was coughing and crying. We've heard enough episodes of coughing and crying to know that this is not good. John was on it:
"He's going to vomit!" John cried. "To the bathtub! The bathtub!"
I was awakened at the point John cried "Vomit!" and joined the chant: "The bathtub! Go to the bathtub!" Anything that involves vomit and carpeting is immediately a crisis. Scrambling for my bathrobe, I finally made it to our bathroom. Nathanael was huddled by the bathtub in confusion.
"Mommy, my fwoat hurts."
"Your throat hurts?"
"You don't have to throw-up?" John asks incredulously from the bed.
John turns out his light and is out again. Nathanael and I pad into the kitchen, where I try to talk him into a glass of water, but he has his sights set on better stuff. I finally give him a Chloraseptic Sore Throat Strip and hand him a plastic cup. "Here," I tell him. "You might decide you need some water." He drags his blanket back to his room and I head back to bed.
Not a minute later, we hear glass shatter. John bolts upright in bed: "GLASS!" he shouts. "STAY WHERE YOU ARE!" His instincts are good, but his follow-through could use some work. "Hush!" I tell him. "We've had enough commotion for one night." He lies down again and I scramble back into my bathrobe to discover the newest crisis.
Nathanael greeted me in the kitchen, "I knocked a gwass over." Apparently someone had left a juice glass on the bathroom counter, where he had knocked it onto the tile between the sink and the toilet. "It's ok. Go back to bed." I told him. I began picking up pieces of glass off the tile, and in a moment of serendipity, I spied the missing pepper shaker sitting on the tile behind the toilet.
One never knows what may happen in the middle of the night.