Thursday, May 20, 2010

The injured reserve

When we moved L from a crib to an air mattress to a bed, I spent a lot of time figuring out just which bed would be right for her. I knew it had to be a little special, since with her much smaller bedroom she's be getting a twin bed in comparison to the double bed E has. I knew I wanted a white wooden bed with storage drawers; a headboard and a footboard; but nothing too ornate because we had exactly -0.5 inches to squeeze a headboarded/footboarded bed of even slim dimensions into the space between the wall and the floor register that provides all of her heat and air conditioning. So now she has the perfect bed, with a headboard and a footboard that covers the frame of the floor register a little bit, but not the airflow; a window that runs the length of one side of her bed and a safety rail that runs the length of the other side. It's a cozy rectangular box, made all the moreso by her many inanimate sleeping companions. It creates such an effective, snug box around her that it's not so different from just being a bigger crib, but she loves it.

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Last weekend was a tough one. There were three family members with stomach bugs, the semi-weekly 'clean up for the cleaning lady' exercise in putting away all the toys and dolls and laundry, and then M managed to mess up his back. We tried to prevail and began our Monday in the normal manner, but sometime around the hour when our blessed cleaning lady was vacuuming cracker crumbs out of the couch, M was at the doctor receiving the advice to rest, use ice, and not lift anything over ten pounds for a week.

So this is how Monday's bedtime went: I tried to get the baby to sleep, which M usually does, because his long arms make such a smoother transition for the little guy to get into his crib unjostled. (Jostled = awake again. = GAHHHH.) Because I was not visible and issuing 'finish up, love' encouragements, E spent at least three times the minutes normally allotted to repositioning her own many inanimate sleeping companions on post-cleaning lady Mondays. Because the lovely husband couldn't carry L into her bed, she spent at least three times the minutes normally allotted to her evening meltdown. (which also = awake again for G.) But after a very turbulent 45 minutes we reached a calm place: G was asleep (in his papasan chair); E was pajamaed and in bed waiting for my snuggles, quietly 'reading' her books; and L was pajamaed and in her bed, snuggling with her daddy who had climbed in so gingerly (and probably against medical advice).

It was then that I heard A Very Loud Noise.

In L's room, L was looking shell-shocked and M was looking…sunken. Underneath him, the frame of the bed had come undone from the headboard of the bed and dropped, lowering one corner of the mattress into the bedframe. Daddy broke my bed, L said to me in a very despondent voice. And L didn't want to get out and back-broken M couldn't get out.

After much wriggling and tugging I extricated M and sat L on E's bed to inspect the problem. Of course it was the most tucked-in corner of the most tucked-in bed that I had to buy made out of heavy solid wood-ish product that had detached. And M couldn't help fix it.

I went back to the girls, prepared to ask L if she wanted to sleep in Mommy and Daddy's bed for the night or if she wanted her sleeping bag or air mattress. I explained that her bed wouldn't be fixed that night and E piped up: she can sleep in here with me, Mama! I looked at L and she smiled and before I could ask "are you sure?" E cleared the inside half of her double bed of all of the animals she had just spent the better part of an hour arranging in one enthusiastic, full-bodied, sister-loving swoop.

L climbed in and we read two books and the girls held hands and it was picture-book sweet and they scrunched down from book-seeing to fully prone and I turned off the lights and kissed them both and L said, I scared. I sleep in your bed tonight. and climbed out and walked away, towards my room. I left E's room to watch L climb in our bed, position herself exactly in the middle of M's pillow, and close her eyes contentedly. I returned to E's room to find her in tears. My kids…? she sobbed as she gestured to the broad swath of polyfil friends that now covered her carpet. Now I have no sister and no kids and I'm all alone.

With my heart cracking and my eye on the clock I had to promise her extra snuggles and the chance to resurrect her menagerie the following evening. I checked on L. She was sound asleep. I climbed in the strangely wide-open bed with E. I gave her extra snuggles and listened to her plot the elaborate arrangement she'd put her bedmates in the following night. I got M another dose of pain meds.

Since then we've had more stomach bug, yet more stomach bug, a migraine followed by a fever, a split thumbnail, and yes, an elaborate bedmate re-arrangement extravaganza. M's back continued to render him physically useless and after much contorting and some swearing, I fixed L's bed, as one of my kids would say, All! By! My!self!
Which is good, because today L boasted a fever of 102 and needed to be tucked in early.

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