“Celia, do you want to go for a run to Trout Lake? Or do you want to play at home?”
Celia’s bright hazel eyes looked into my own as she said, “Eeuuh!”
I needed more clarification. “Celia. If you want to go to Trout Lake, clap your hands.”
She started clapping awkwardly with a snack container in one hand. I looked up at Michelle with wide surprised eyes and Michelle grinned. Celia then paused, put down her snacks, and clapped loudly as she walked to the front door.
“Okay,” I grinned, peeling myself off of the couch. “My daughter wants to go to the park.”
We had a great time when we arrived, swinging and feeding the ducks leftover puffed-rice cakes. I was energized when I got home, as usually is the case, but weariness set in again after dinner and I knew I wasn’t going to make it very long. After putting Celia to bed we watched some Olympic figure skating and went straight to bed, hoping for good rest and a morning of more energy.
It was just after 2am when Celia first started crying. When the crying got louder Michelle went down to console her. I looked at the clock after 3am, wondering when Michelle would return. It was almost 3:30am when Michelle came back to bed defeated, and Celia sounded even worse than before.
I struggled out of bed and picked her up. She was frantic. Her lungs sounded raspy, which made me wonder if she’s sick, but I got this uncanny parental sense that there was something more. I think she was afraid.
I scooped her up and held her tight. She was drenched in tears. I sang and prayed, then sang some more. She finally calmed when I held her in the rocking chair, patting her gently while her head rested on my chest.
She dozed off. I grew hopeful that she would be okay, but then she jerked awake and started to freak out again. I stood with her. When she saw her night-light she screamed. I felt chills run up my back. “What’s wrong? Are you wondering about the night light?”
I took her over to the night light and pointed. “That’s the night light. And next to it is the lamp, and all the electrical cables. Look.” I explained every item in the vicinity until she calmed down. I ended up reading her a story, singing one more song, and finally leaving her to fall asleep. She cried, but it felt more “normal,” less frantic.
I collapsed into bed utterly exhausted as I listened to her cries die down and disappear within a couple of minutes. It felt like two minutes later that I looked at the clock and peeled myself out of bed for work. I’m amazed that I’ve actually been able to focus today. I just hope that my daughter is okay, and that these kinds of midnight wails are nearly over. I vaguely remember just how tired I used to be a year ago when she wasn’t sleeping through the night.
I think I was more tired than this. I suppose I should be thankful.