Saturday, May 12, 2007

Night of The Living Dead

These are the sort of nights that make me terrified of adding a newborn to our little family equation. Weeks can go by without a hitch- Addy goes to bed between eight and nine, I got to bed between ten and eleven and fall asleep to Friends, and Jim goes to bed at whatever ungodly hour he finds himself finally tired. (I would do this too, but then I'd be heading directly to bed after dinner.) And then it happens: something wakes me up, or Adelay, or even worse, both of us, and then it's anyone's guess how long it will wake the two of us to settle back down for the night.
Last night, for example, I turned in around ten thirty, propped myself up on my giant pillow which keeps my uterus off my spine and also allows me to breathe even with my current head cold, and popped in the tenth season of Friends (thank you, Renee!)
Sleep came quickly, interrupted only once by a quick, semiconscious trip to the bathroom. These are so routine and mindless as to not really break up my sleep rhythm any more. Open eyes, heave self out of bed, shuffle to bathroom with eyes only half open, pee, return to bed. Sometimes I'm back asleep within one minute. This trip was no different. But the dream I had when I did return to sleep was so alarming as to jerk me from sleep into a land of wakeful paranoia, roaming through the house, checking all the dark corners for intruders, and finally, unable to help myself, prowling into Adelay's room.
I dreamed that I was in bed, asleep, and was then startled from sleep by noises in the baby's room next to us. I woke Jim up and insisted he go in and check. When he did, he returned, shaken and cradling Addy, to inform me: "There was someone in there!"
The intruder somehow disappears before anyone sees him, but Jim tells me that when he walked in, the guy was holding Adelay and packing her stuff up in a bag. The rest is all a weird blur- police come, lights are on all over the neighborhood, neighbors and friends huddle in our living room while I make coffee. Adelay is clinging to my body, frightened, and I am holding her with an equally terrified death grip. People keep saying, "Thank God you woke up in time!" and the police are asking us who we know who might have wanted to steal our child.
We don't know, of course, and so the police begin rooting through all of our things, looking for pictures or clues. I am freaking out, naturally, and ranting, "We are moving! Far away! We have to change our names! We cannot let this person find us ever again!"
Adelay, still clinging to me like a baby monkey, pees through her sleeper, and I am stricken with guilt that I have further frightened her. I rush off to change her diaper, and that was when I woke up.
And lost my mind. Because upon waking, in a cold sweat, I managed to calm down and convince myself it was all a dream, and then just as I was drifting back to sleep, I heard noises from Addy's room! Now what was I supposed to do? I tried to tell myself it was just her, restless from a dream or something, tossing and turning, but in the back of my head I kept hearing, "What if there's a kidnapper in there? What if those noises are that creepy man opening and closing her drawers just like in your dream? What if the dream was a sign from God so you can rescue your baby?"
It didn't take much of this before I jumped out of bed and hovered outside her closed door, weighing my options: Possibly wake her up to reassure myself that she is not being stolen, or take my chances and let her go back to sleep, then live with the guilt for the rest of my natural life if she actually IS being kidnapped. I went with the first choice, being as I was half awake and not especially rational, and also had crazy mama bear hormones still surging through my body. Once I decided to go in, I practically had to restrain myself from breaking down the door with my shoulder instead of quietly turning the knob.
And there he was! Oh wait, no. There no one was, except of course Addy, tossing and turning loudly, her head buried under about thirty blankets. I crept closer to the crib to pull the blankets off her head and back around her legs, and she suddenly sat upright, smiling at me broadly and holding out her arms to be held. Clearly my footsteps creaking on the floorboards had been the straw that broke the camel's back for her, sleep-wise. But I gratefully scooped her up and accepted her warm hug, reveling in the fact of her safe, unkidnapped self. I carried her back to our bed, hoping we would both fall asleep again in short order now that we were comforted by one another's presence, but this was a dream even more far fetched than the interrupted child snatching.
She bounced around gleefully, poking Jim in the face to make sure he was aware of her joyful presence, and finally settled in with her head cradled in the crook of my neck and her feet in Jim's ears. She remained there for a while, her breathing growing deeper, and I resigned myself to a stiff neck, but just as I was drifting off, she was awake again, springing around like Tigger, poking her stabby little fingers into my facial orifices to determine their location in the dark. She stared in awe at the slowly circulating ceiling fan, every so often shouting out its name and pointing.
After about forty five minutes of this, I couldn't take it anymore. Every time I thought we had both found a comfortable spot, my arm would go numb, or Adelay would toss abruptly and kick me in the kidneys before saying in a completely wide awake voice, "Mama! Daddy!" I finally scooped her up and regretfully tucked her back into her bed, where she instantly fell asleep again. Apparently the excitement of the overhead fan is just too much, even when one is entirely exhausted.
Note to self: Upon waking from scary nightmare involving one's child, maybe just listen at the door for awhile. Maybe DO NOT go stomping around like an elephant, wake the kid up, and then take her back to bed just to comfort yourself that she is alive and well. Child is not a security blanket, but a person, a small, sweaty, kicky person who does not cosleep well.


Swistle said...

I especially like the end to your story, about the "small, sweaty, kicky person who does not cosleep well."

jen said...

Your dream reminds me of one I had.. I don't even remember what I dreamed, but I WAS mostly asleep when I stumbled into her room, turned her light on, and looked at her sitting in her crib looking right at me. Just in time to see her projectile vomit all over the place. So I guess there was a reason I had to go in there but that was kind of creepy too in a Linda Blair kind of way.