The night was dark and encompassing. The moon felt it was necessary to hide herself, causing the shadows to seem deeper. In the stillness, the sounds of the night were hushed, and the household rested without trouble. I was lost somewhere in a dreamless sleep, until I was yanked back into the night by the blood chilling cries of #7.
When I stumbled into the children’s room I did not turn on the light. That might seem strange, but I knew what I was doing. The hall lamp let in enough light to see by, without the possibility of waking other children. I entered the room, backlit by the dim light.
#7 was sitting up in bed, screaming as if he had just lost his entire family. He turned wide eyes to me as I walked to the bed.
“What’s wrong?” I asked, but without much hope for an answer. It usually took a little time for the two year-old to start talking after he had woken from a nightmare.
He looked up at me and spoke as if his heart was broken, “Dere no one seeping wiff meeee!”
I looked at the double bed and found #3 buried under a pile of blankets. “Your sister is right there. See?” I straightened the blankets out so she was visible.
#7 craned his neck. “Oh,” he said. He then turned back to me, eyes focusing in the dim light. “I wau a baddoo.”
“A bottle, huh?”
He nodded once and replied mournfully, “Yeah.”
Sleepily, I began to search the beds and asked, “Where is your bottle?”
He scrunched up his face. “I don’t knooooow!” he squeaked out.
I commenced to find dirty bottles around the room and in the beds. Once I had three or four, I found a pink one that seemed to be filled with fresh water.
At that point #7 whined, “It wa white, wi wadar.”
White with water, pink with water, what’s the difference? I thrust the water filled pink bottle at the little boy.
He looked down at it, and then up at me. “I wa juuuuuuice,” he piped.
There is a point when a child can push his father too far. That is when the unspeakable happens: the father goes to wake up the mother, and she has to put the child to sleep. Luckily for Wife, I had not reached that point yet.
I took #7’s bottle, filled it half full with juice and the rest with water. #7 was sitting up, anxiously waiting. I tucked him under thick blankets and gave him his comfort bottle. He snuggled into the covers and said, “Tank yoo.”
I walked back to my bed, feeling more than a little grumpy. I was not very irritated that I had to put #7 back to sleep, but I was annoyed that all his siblings had the luxury to be able to ignore him so completely. That luxury I gave up I long time ago, back when #1 was born.
On the bright side, I was able to let Wife get a little more sleep. And I don’t really regret the lack of sleep… but sleep regrets the lack of me.