|She looks like a pirahna in the dark.|
At 4:00 one morning, she woke up with a cry of distress. I dragged myself into her room where I found her pressed against the crib bars with her blanket and her Binky Bunny (the lone Beanie Baby we found in the house- a rabbit holding a carrot- which also now holds a pacifier fastened with a silky ribbon). She looked like she had been there for a while, contemplating the darkness. I knew that she was not going to fall back to sleep easily; and, she probably wasn't feeling well. I brought her into our bed where she perked up and began to jabber a monologue in the most inappropriately emphatic voice for 4:00 AM. And while she was babbling and gabbling, she was running back and forth between The Mr. and me on the bed. Then, suddenly, she began to punctuate the rambunctious song streaming from her mouth with crystal clear words.
"Badadeeboodadee." "NOSE!" And with that, she would lunge at my face with her sharp pointer finger, piercing my nostril and laughing in pleasure at my wincing.
"Yes, Baby nose. Now go to sleep."
"Badadeeboodadee." " EAR!" And, she stopped in her tracks sticking her finger in the infected ear and shaking her head.
"Yes, Baby, ear. Now go to sleep."
"Badadeeboodadee" "Hair!" Patting her smooth hair and then trying to run her fingers through my knotty curls, with a look of disdain.
"Yes, baby, hair. Now go to sleep."
At 4:00AM, the birds, clueless and inconsiderate, perched outside our window and began to call to one another. The Baby's eyes grew like saucers. She inhaled sharply with excitement and recognition- pointing in the direction of the bird call. Overjoyed to hear them, she began to bounce, "Dirbs! Dirbs!"
"Yes, Baby, damn birds. Now go to sleep."
I still had time- precious little minutes- to recapture some sleep. There was nothing more I could do for her in our bed. Clearly she was fine. She was just excited to practice her new skill. I placed her back in her bed and fell back into mine. But, she was pitching a fit- which grew into a storm of hysterical screaming. I returned to quiet her, as I did not want the other children to wake. When she saw me, the crying ceased and she inhaled that sharp, enthusiastic breath of recognition. "Dirbs! Dirbs!"
"Yes I know. There are birds outside."
But, my answer did not appease her. "Dirbs!" She was frustrated and now pointing to the light switch. I flipped on the overhead light.
She gave me a grin so wide and proud and pointed to the wall mural above her crib that I had painted with old house paint. "Dirbs!"
"Yep. Them there are birds." And, just like that, satisfied with the effectiveness of her communication and with my comprehension, she went back to sleep. Just in time for my alarm to sound.
There may be more reasons why- besides an ear infection and needing to prove her language skills- that keep the The Baby awake. My mother's intuition has always nagged me- from the time she was three weeks old and gripped by colic- that something is just not right with her. There is something there- always present which makes her uncomfortable- which robs her of restful sleep. I took her for her 15 month old check up and met with one of my favorite pediatricians in our group. For whatever reason, we have not seen him for any of her visits. But, I am so grateful that he was with us on Saturday. For the first time, I got validation for my suspicions- for the ongoing feeding and digestive problems- for my innate and overwhelming concerns for her (which had been brushed off by the other doctors). My little jockey has dropped to the 3rd percentile for weight. She has dropped an whole pound in three weeks. She is not eating well and is uncomfortable after feedings. Finally, we are being sent for testing on Friday and Monday for food allergies and GERD- both would explain the chronic night waking, the painful cries, the chronic ear pain, the slow weight gain- the months of exhaustion. No mother wants their child to have something wrong with them; but, I can not help but wish on all of the stars that something (benign, manageable and treatable, of course) shows up during the testing- so that we can bring her comfort and so that we all can find peace.