Wednesday, December 9, 2009
The air of the house is permeated with eucalyptus and Baby Vicks Vaporub. I am, again, doing the humidifier two-step before the afternoon nap and again before bedtime: empty, rinse, fill, measure salt and eucalyptus (EIGHT DOLLARS A BOTTLE - SOMEONE EXPLAIN THAT ONE TO ME, PLEASE). Bean's crib is raised up on one end by some familiar crib-raising books. I've pulled out her lighter pajamas - the ones that keep her warm without getting too warm in the humidifier-heavy room. There are boxes of Kleenex sitting on the usual available surfaces and my t-shirt is criss-crossed with little lines of Bean nose-rubs. The Sick crept up on us Monday night, complete with severe congestion and late-night barf (tell me: why does it ALWAYS happen late at night?).
When I was a little girl, I loved eyelet lace-- the kind that's a simple white scalloped edge with three little cut-outs on each scallop. The kind of lace that's lace without being lacy-lace, if you get my drift. I loved that my mom chose to tack it to my little dresses and things. It seemed precious without feeling over-done. Maybe I didn't think about it exactly that way at the time, but I'm getting close. I thought eyelet looked good.
I was thinking about eyelet lace tonight as I stood over Bean's crib, rubbing her forehead until she fell asleep. It's a blessing and a curse when Alice is sick, because she absolutely HATES to be alone. Every nap is a struggle, and bedtime even more so. I have my own brand of freaked out stress when it comes to feeling tied to lull Bean to sleep, but I do my best to let it all go and just help her to feel calm. Last night I rubbed her head and tried to ignore how quickly my right arm was falling asleep. I felt so tense and exhausted. I could see myself in that moment: wild-eyed with stress and worry over getting anything done, my psyche pulled so thin that it was coming apart in places. Which reminded me of eyelet lace.
Chip is really good in these moments to remind me what it's like, this feeling that Bean must be experiencing: her body exhausted and tense, every muscle hurting with an ache she doesn't understand. He tells me that it makes sense that she wants me so close, that she needs me to touch her and let her know that she isn't alone. Chip is gifted with an insight that I struggle to find. I think about the logistics of standing crib-side all night, sacrificing my sleep for hers, something I'm unable to do. I think about neck aches and how she never sleeps very well when she's in our bed. I think logic while Beans thinks comfort. And then I remember the eyelet, how I loved the shapes it could cast on my skin when I held it up to the sunlight. I remember my mother, back bent forward as she sewed. I remember her fingers tracing the dress patterns and measuring the lace. I remember sitting with her as she worked.
And it makes sense that Alice wants what she wants, needs me to touch her forehead as she sleeps.
The projects will have to wait.