Wasn't it just last week I was waxing eloquently about how I seem incapable of finding a simple answer for my children's distress?
I clearly have a short memory.
Last night, while Jeff was away for business, I managed to get the kids in bed and thumb through an Oprah Magazine (don't judge; I had already read the Economist) and pass into peaceful sleep around 10:00 p.m. Good thing I got some snoozing in early because at 3:00 a.m. there were peals of pain coming from Sadie's room. I went into her room and she had tears streaming down her face and sobs heaving out of her little body. I asked all the pertinent questions: What's wrong? What happened? Who hurt you? Did you have a bad dream? Do you hate me? Are you mad at me for reading such a dumb magazine before bed?
She just sat there sobbing and I held her feeling big and strong and motherly. When she calmed down, I told her that I would tuck her back into bed and get her cozy so she could go back to sleep. Sadie was agreeable to this. And it worked.
Until 4:00 a.m. when she started screaming my name again. Luckily, I was still awake and have reflexes like a lynx. I dashed to her room and went through my battery of questions. Again. (Is it any wonder why this kid might have night terrors?) I finally grabbed her teddy bear and took unprecedented action: I brought her to bed with me. It was going on 5:00 a.m. and I just wanted to be able to lay down and comfort her.
She seemed relatively unfazed by coming to my bed with me, though she was confused about where Jeff was. She fell asleep around 5:00 a.m. and I followed shortly. Turns out, Sadie snores a bit, and I should probably look into that. At 5:45 a.m., Sadie was standing on the bed, crying and taking off her pajamas. We settled again. At 6:30 she was up again telling me she was stuck because the sheet was under her leg and she couldn't free it.
At some point I started wondering if she was having a mental breakdown. (WHO's having a mental breakdown?) Then I wondered if it was because she had a piece of birthday cake at her friend's house yesterday. Maybe she's hysterical because something BAD happened to her. Bad, like horrible and nearly unspeakable. Maybe when she goes on the playdates with Sabrina there are BAD people lurking or "working from home" and someone hurt her. Then, I get all Mama Bear and think maybe I will kill someone if he/she hurts my kids.
Do you think I wondered if she had a stomachache? I don't think I really did. I jumped right to emotional scars and potential molestation. I had the world so scary and so hostile by 6:00 a.m., I almost called the nanny to tell her not to come. When I get worked up like that I think there is no one anywhere I can trust with my children so we'll have to home school and never let them out of my sight.
Because there's nothing about that scenario that would be abusive?
Breathing, I remember that I have to trust because there is no other way. I can't do this myself and I can't educate my kids and give them any kind of life BY MYSELF. That's not how it's meant to be.
At 7:50 I decided to get Sadie dressed and just see how acting normally would affect the situation. Something made me ask her one more time if anything hurt: her stomach? Her head? Her throat?
"Yes, Mommy, my ear hurts. Really bad."
Mmmmmmmmmm. An ear infection. It's a huge relief that it's something we can fix with medicine and not something scary and inchoate like abuse. It's an ear infection. That's her problem. The bigger and unanswered question: What the hell is mine?