Sunday, January 20, 2008

[Don't] Feel the Vibrations

I may have a hard time getting to sleep, but once asleep, apparently, I sleep like a rock. On the plus side, I can tune out noises from the street and elsewhere during this deep sleep, but on the disconcerting side I can also tune out things that I should be aware of, like the girls’ crying or a cell phone vibrating in my hand.

This weekend Nicole and I and the girls spent the night at Jen’s house while her husband was at a board certification study course. She lives in the country (in other words, more than three miles from city limits), on acres and acres with lots of trees, in a sprawling house with lots of dark spots. Naturally I am afraid of her house in the dark because I am afraid of all houses in the dark, and some in the light too. I am the type of person that sleeps with the lights on and with a Mag-Lite under the pillow when Nicole is away for work, and that is in a doorman-protected apartment building with neighbors well within screaming distance. I check the closets and shower for interlopers on a continuous basis. I always assume that someone has broken into my home and is waiting for the perfect moment to spring on me and I act accordingly.

Come to think of it, maybe I know from where this stems. Naturally I have an instant recall of the bad stuff. When I was in fourth grade, I was sick so I stayed home alone from school and as much as I want to fault my parents for this, staying home alone was more accepted in those days. We lived in Connecticut in a house with lots of land (there was a creepy grave on it too) that was surrounded by a huge preserve with fields of grass higher than my waist and deep, dark woods and swampy, boggy parts. On that sick day I remember being in my parents’ bed, nestled under quilts and holey crocheted afghans, with a glass of orange juice next to me (with a red and white bendy straw) watching game shows on one of those mini, five-inch, black and white nightstand TVs. The phone rang and I picked up and someone said “I want to kill you” over and over (until I hung up) in a chilling, low, scary tone that I will never forget. Maybe this is where all my house fear comes from. I just saved myself $175.

Anyway, so there we were at Jen’s house this weekend, just the three of us (and various children), and for most of the time my biggest fear was that Madeline would throw up on Jen’s beautiful rugs. We mentioned scary things in passing and Nicole made a joke about lighting torches around the perimeter a la The Village and keeping watch from the children’s fort. It is so easy to be glib in the daylight! But darkness falls and my fear increases and then those jokes aren’t so funny!

Jen comes back in the kitchen after putting her kids to bed and asks “Did you hear that noise?” What noise, I ask, curious, at this point, not yet terrified. “A thump thump, like it was coming from the basement. Were you guys in the basement?” she asks. I think she asked if we were in the basement twice, so certain that she heard a noise there. Something like “You sure? You weren’t just in the basement? Really?” Perhaps she saw the fear on my face because she started backpedaling with “I’m sure it’s nothing” and “We hear strange noises here all the time,” which was not particularly reassuring. A band of bank robbers could be living in there basement or in her walk-in-closet for all we know. Who knows what dangers lurk below and above and inside and next to? I know, I know, I am so paranoid.

Then we three retreated from the kitchen into the all-windowed room overlooking the thick woods and watched a documentary on serial killers.

Ten minutes later I get a call from Mina, who tells me Leif is on his way to the hospital with my brother. He fell really hard when he was ice skating and hit his head. During the rest of the day he was not acting like himself, then he starting throwing up. So off to the ER. She was worried and I was worried, but Nicole assured me that concussions are ok and Jen said she didn’t know much about concussions but she thinks it will all be ok and I trust her because (I am serious about this) her husband is a doctor, so she must know All Things Medical.

I told Mina to call me when Leif and Keith got home. I went to sleep with my cell phone clutched in my hand. Apparently it started vibrating around midnight and Nicole tried to wake me but I wouldn’t wake up. She had to wrench the phone out of my cold, sleeping hands to read the text message (all was fine, Leif was home, CT scanned and resting comfortably). Nicole didn’t want to wake me since I was sleeping for a change. I read the text message about an hour later, when I woke up for no reason at all. I sleep through a vibrating phone but wake up for....nothing.

This weekend away, Madeline did not have a good night sleep. She was not thrilled to be in her Pack and Play. She tossed and turned, crunching with each move on the plastic covered mattress, and moaned and cried. I can’t blame her, really, as she is used to her comfy cozy home crib. In the interest of getting some sleep (for us, that is) and not waking the slumbering Avery, we brought her in the bed with us. She slept between us, so cute, but then, after a while, she turned from the 6-12 position (her head at 12, her feet at 6, like us) to the 9-3 position. Nicole had the soft, downy, sweet-smelling, nuzzling baby head; I had her mini butt right in my face. This sweet little baby farted on my face multiple times. To recap: A vibrating phone in my hand won’t wake me, a crying baby won’t wake me, but a little baby fffft jars me from my sleep like a gunshot.

The Lexapro is going fine so far. I am supposed to monitor myself for any sort of adverse reactions, so I have been especially obsessed with my moods. So far, I have had a few moments when I felt frustrated and angsty (par for the course, and pretty normal for me/all humans anyway), but all in all, no complaints yet. Not like when I was on Zyban to quit smoking years and years ago and I wanted to hit and kick things.

If anything, I might be feeling a little something good. Maybe my perspective is shifting, if only in the minutest of ways. Over the weekend, on Saturday night, I stepped outside, in the cold, to look at the trees in the back. It was so still that I could hear the silence. The sky was a deep beautiful blue and the trees cut such a beautiful if somewhat imposing silhouette. I called Nicole out to come look too, out there in the freezing cold. That was living in the moment (not the past, not the future) and that is new-ish to me. Certainly not something I practice on a regular basis, which I should. So that was definitely a step. It’s either the Lexapro or a coincidence. Too soon to tell.

The scariest moment of the weekend was an unexpected one, during a moment when I felt Safe. Right before we left, Jen’s kids ran into the living room, where we adults were. The little girl was screaming RUN FOR YOUR LIVES! with all the cartoonish conviction a three-year-old can muster. It is adorable, to say the least. They both were yelling for Jen to follow them into the bedroom because there was a spider there. Jen gave us a look that seemed to say she knew there wasn’t a spider, but because she was a good mom, she feigned fear and excitement and took each of their hands and let them lead her to investigate. A minute later, Jen is coming down the hall, balancing a piece of paper with a black spider crawling on it. From a distance of ten feet I could see this arachnid, big as a squished Junior Mint and fuzzy. It probably had fangs. She brought the spider outside because she is a saint and doesn't believe in killing things, if she can avoid it. I would have killed it, then sold the house and moved, because I hate spiders that much, no matter how many times my therapist said they were a symbol of wisdom.

Pictured above, the trees and the sky in the night. Yes, I know the picture is blurry. It is kinda on purpose and kinda not, meaning I wanted the picture not focused, but I didn’t quite expect what I got. Below is the heart-pocketed butt of the tiny tooter who shall remain nameless. Madeline.


K J and the kids said...

Sounds like a great weekend. Minus the, I know what you did last summer and Arachophobia parts.

When are you telling us your secret ?

UtRus said...

I'd take baby farts in the face all night if it meant a good night's sleep. Hell, I'd take both my twins farting in my face all night.


calliope said...

I used to be terrified of spiders. And then I made this weird peace thanks to the realization that I found Granddaddy long legs beautiful. Then, when I was 15, we moved to this rental in Tennessee and there lived the MOST fucked up spider/cricket hybrid. Looks of a spider- but with jumping abilities.

If I EVER saw one again I would most certainly need to move.

Did some clicking. Let me know how it translates.

p.s. will you update my link on your sidebar? I know. I am a needy girl.

J said...

Hi there!
I tagged you on my blog, so if you would like to partake in such meme fun, please feel free.

Anonymous said...

I find the "living in the moment" hard to do in the course of my daily life, but it's a ritual when I am out of NYC, especially at the famliy vacation house. The last thing I do before heading to bed is to step outside...I love to hear the silence, and, if the wind is right, the ocean. It's usually the stars that amaze me most, however, since it is a sight never seen here. Reminds me how small I really am in the grand scheme of things, and how thankful I am to have that experience.

Dee said...

That is the cutest butt shot ever!!! I can't believe your girls are crawling! Miss Riley is not interested. She is all about rolling, rolling, rolling. BTW, I just finished "A Thousand Splendid Suns" thanks to you and LOVED IT!!! I didn't think it could compete with the Kite Runner but it did. Both books have lingered with me long after I finished them. Now I can't wait for his next book.