Friday, March 9, 2012

In the middle of the night; Episodes 15, 16 & 17

Recently, Miles attended a conference, and thus was out of town for several days. This doesn't happen much, so it was an, um, interesting experience.

The first night he was gone, kid-wrangling was much more difficult; Miles & I usually tag-team 'em to get the girls through dinner and the bedtime routine. So not only was there just one parent to manage two squirrelly girls, the squirrelly girls made a fuss about missing Daddy. There were tears and a decided lack of cooperation with the solo, frazzled parent. Also, I was a bit nervous. The house seemed too big, noises were more startling, the dark was somehow darker. I didn't leave every light in the house on, just a whole lot more than usual. I checked the locks on all the doors and windows at least three times. It took me quite a while to get to sleep that night.

At 3am, Aeron came diving into the bed, gasping that "someone had touched her right here!" and gesturing at her chest. I cuddled the child, thinking, she's imagining things in her anxiety, 'cause Daddy's gone. Then my anxiety got the better of me, and I told her I was gonna go check on Claire.

I peeped out the door of my room. Nothin'. No movement. No sounds.  Scruffy had been sleeping in my desk chair at bedtime, but he was gone.

I scurried to the girls' room. Claire was out cold, limbs akimbo, covers on the floor and Scruffy curled up on her pillow, resting his chin on her forehead.

Ah. OK.  It was the cat.

I pulled Scruff off Claire's pillow, and put him on Aeron's bed. Then I went back to my room, where a little girl was hiding under the covers with her bear over her head.

"It was Scruffy, Boo" I told her as I got back in bed. "You wanna go back to bed?"

Frantic head shaking was the answer. I heaved a sigh and snuggled her close. Such is the power of a mama-snuggle, she was soon relaxed and breathing deeply. When I took her back to her room, Scruffy was waiting for her, sitting on the foot of her bed. I tucked Aeron in, the cat settled down and I left. Only to be unable to go back to sleep for hours.


The next night, things went better. My confidence in my ability to hold down the fort was restored, the girls were a bit more cooperative. We'd had dinner at the church, and I got them in a warm bath and fresh jammies and read a story in record time. Lights out, and they went promptly to sleep. I only checked all the doors and windows a couple of times and I even managed to get both cats in the house for the night.

I have no idea what time it was when Aeron came lunging into the bed. 

"I had a nightmare! A bad one!" I tucked the freaked-out child into my arms and covered her up. "There was a mean alligator! An evil alligator! In our house!"

"Really?" I murmured. "Was it a purple alligator or a green alligator?"

"Green! With purple spots." 

After a few moments I asked "did he come in the front door or back door?"

"Front door." she told me. "And Daddy got a shovel and broke his teeth!"


By day three, we had gotten into a routine. The only wrinkle was Aeron's inability to focus on the speech about quarters she needed to deliver then next day. I was trying to help her, but gave it up when I saw I was wasting my breath. Dinner was smooth, the bedtime ritual went like clock work. I was in bed with a mug of warm milk by 8:15pm. Lights were out at 9pm.

Sometime in the wee hours, Aeron flung herself into the bed, sobbing, incoherent. Nestling her close, I stroked her hair and sssh'd her.

"Take a deep breath, Boo," I whispered. "Ok. Now tell me what's wrong."

"My coin report is ruined!"


  1. Except for the kid stuff you are experiencing what Caitlin would go through the "big empty house syndrome" when I was going down to California to work (before she joined me). Being alone in an empty house sucks.

  2. Even though I raised Cal by myself for so long, now, when Harv is out of the house for a biz trip, I can't believe how anxious and nervous I feel. How did I do it for so long?? Every sound is magnified, Cal and I both don't get great sleep...not to mention I make her sleep with me because I'm too afraid to sleep in bed by myself.

  3. This is a great story. :) Even though I don't have kids I can relate to that mosquito bite of paranoia that surfaces whenever I have to stay home alone after a long time of living with someone. Its uncomfortable and the thousand new sounds that my ears will inevitably hear scratch at the corners of my mind until I've checked all the doors, windows and closets then turned on both the kitchen and bathroom lights before jumping into bed.