The morning is blurry at best. It involves crying. A lot of crying. I've been up, off-and-on, since what I believe was 3:15 a.m. Nate began crying around that time, Jason and I taking turns going to check on him, finding him asleep in his crib, his cheeks wet with tears. His tears would subside when we placed a hand on his head, so we finally resorted to moving him to our room and rousing him enough to give him a dose of Tylenol. By 3:45, he was awake, crawling on top of my head, over my stomach, making wiggly use of every last inch of himself. The two of us retreated to the kitchen until five o' clock, when I finally managed to shift him back to his crib, sound asleep. I hoped to join the rest of my sleeping crew, but the mind is an awful, funny contraption. As my head met pillow, a running to-do list reel began to play of all the things left to accomplish in the coming months, until it rested squarely on the quandary of finding a baby name. I began thinking of the children we had just spent the evening with, of their names: Cole, Wyatt, Audrey, Caedmon, and Thaddeus.
Suddenly, I was in middle school Home Ec class, sitting next to my friend, Sarah, the two of us having just received matching baby boys, of the hard-boiled egg variety. We discovered we both wanted to name them Zachary. Instead, (because, really, the confusion and horror of having two egg babies named alike, just think of it!) I named mine Thaddeus. I carried Thaddeus with me everywhere, for the period of the assignment - one week. I was an involved parent, even taking my egg child out of his crib (or basket, as it's more commonly referred to), which is where I made my mistake. Unlike the smarter students, who left their eggs resting on shelves, I took little Thaddeus out, and a day before turning him in for my grade, cracked his little bum. A hairline fracture. Minuscule. I went for some scrap fabric and a glue gun. I fashioned a cloth diaper around his tokus and bought the kid a pair of plastic shoes from the cake decorating aisle of Wal-Mart, because that's what crafty, pragmatic girls do when faced with a cracked hard-boiled egg - that, or make egg salad, but it wasn't really that kind of assignment. My teacher was none the wiser.
Our class used eggs again that year for a science project. This time they were uncooked, and this time, we were dropping them from the extended ladder of a fire truck, raised above a blacktop parking lot rather than toting them around in baskets from our lockers to social studies class. We were given a few materials: straws, tape, an individual-sized milk carton, and string. The objective was simple. Build a contraption for your egg to protect if from the fall. My friend, Jill (who went on to become an engineer), and I had just finished building a bridge in Tech Ed out of toothpicks. The boys in our class used boxes of toothpicks, gluing them on top of each other until they had amassed the Monster Garage versions of toothpick bridges. Jill and I used 54 toothpicks, strategically placing trusses. (What can I say, I was the runt of my middle school class, the size of one's toothpick contraption never impressed me much.) Our bridge didn't hold much weight, but at the end of the day, it withstood more in relation to its size than the rest. So when it came time to protect my second egg, I created straw trusses and built my contraption like a bridge. We worked on our projects for several days, testing their durability by hefting them off the top of the bleachers lining the football field. My contraption was sturdy, shaped like a trapezoid with the milk carton (my egg's cocoon) secured in the center. It was also heavy. The day they dropped it from the firetruck, it made an audible "thud," echoed by the "oohs" of my classmates. But when I retrieved my contraption and opened the cocoon, there was my egg, nestled inside, still in one piece.
Some weeks are like that, well-thought out, planned, and buttressed to perfection. And some, despite your best efforts, are filled with the spontaneous - sometimes rich, sometimes challenging, and sometimes leaving your bum a bit bruised. The week past was a bit of the latter. While we don't have any cracked tokuses to tend to, we're a little short on sleep and desperately hoping for a surge of energy (well, the adults anyway). Nate, poor kid, decided to excel in teething last week, skipping filling out his bottom front gumline and opting for breaking out a couple upper molars. (This weekend, he decided to start on that bottom gumline.)
Audrey, not teething and sleeping just fine, kept us all in check with her typical perspective:
Sunday evening, she began discussing dinosaurs before bedtime. "Why don't we have dinosaurs anymore?" she asked.
"I don't know, honey, something happened a long time ago that made it so they couldn't survive anymore."
"Maybe God decided it was better to have people and the meat-eaters would have eaten the people," she said. "But it would be nice if he would have just made plant-eaters."
Everyone has their drink of choice when they have a sore throat. For me, it's typically Gatorade. Lately, for Jason, it's been hot apple cider. Both were in use the past week. On Monday, Audrey asked, "Can I have Ciderade?"
Wednesday, she drew a map of the neighborhood, including the houses of her friends. When I asked about the houses, she pointed to one in particular, a house where she spent some time last year playing with a girl older than herself. Last year, Jason and I were a bit surprised that Audrey followed this girl's every direction, letting her lead games of school and being the one to make up the rules for games in the yard. Apparently, this year, Audrey has changed her perspective. When she pointed to this house, she informed me that she made the house ugly because she doesn't like the little girl telling her what to do, since only moms and dads should do that. Ahem.
Saturday evening, we asked Audrey to go wash her hands for dinner. She ran into the bathroom. Minutes passed. More minutes passed. When this much time lapses, it usually means some science experiment is underway involving soap and mass quantities of water. Jason went to investigate. He found her sitting on the toilet reading a book. He decided to give her some privacy. She finally came out, ten minutes later. "My leg hurts," she said. "I can't walk." We had to explain that she had sat reading so long on the toilet that her leg had fallen asleep.
Life is like that. Those things that bring you the most joy, occasionally make your legs fall asleep. Or, they bring you no sleep. All we can do is prepare as best we can, be optimistic, and hope that when all else fails, there's a glue gun nearby.