In the middle of the night, sometime between too late and far too early, Wife woke to the sound of #9 fussing. He stood in the hallway in near total darkness. When Wife clicked on the light, he simply stood where he was, rubbing an eye and waited for his mother to come to him and put him back to bed.
Children who wake up in the middle of the night are nothing new to us. Every child has done it, and most outgrow it. But some wake up more often than others.
#9 falls into the latter. It is quite common for Wife or me to wake up to the sound of his little fist knocking on our bedroom door, or to wake out of a dead sleep to him howling as if the darkness had grown icy fingers that were clawing for him.
So, Wife found the edge of the bed and tumble out. Then, stumbled down the hall to #9. When she picked him up, he clung to her shoulder like a rescued chimp, as he always does, and his sobs died in his throat. We have rarely found him a difficult child to put back to bed. #9 laid down, resting his head on his pillow, and waited to be tucked-in like a spring seed. Once the covers were drawn up to his throat and he was given a kiss on the head, he closed his eyes and settled back to sleep.
And that is how #9 normally behaves in the dead of night. He seems quite content to be put back to bed. Almost as if he just had to be certain that his parents were still home. That he could cry out and we would answer.
But more as if the night was simply too terribly long for one kiss and tuck-in to last until the light of day.