What a time we have had in the summer of 2012. At the moment I can’t think back past last weekend when two very young guests had a sleepover here, giving rise to my new understanding that when your house guests can’t sleep, you can’t sleep either. (And this is the younger one in a picture snapped by his brother who is three years older.)
I didn’t sleep more than two hours together that night. And when one of these little boys began weeping brokenly over the mosquito who wouldn’t leave him alone I did the only thing I could think to do:
“I’ll lie on the floor here” I said, “and we’ll keep watch together,” meanwhile thinking “Oh there’s no mosquito really.”
There WAS a mosquito all right, whose high tiny whine almost drove me mad as I too lay all quiet in the dark hoping to hear the child’s breathing change as he slipped into sleep.
It never did. And then of course I also ‘saw’ the world as he was seeing it; heard the sound of the trains swishing past the end of our street, and the deeper whine of motorbikes and the sound of traffic on the parkway.
I also began to realize just exactly how an invalid gets a bedsore as I felt my pelvis digging into the floor: There’s the hard knuckle of bone and the hard grain of oak and between them only half an inch of flesh and maybe three-quarters of an inch of that old Persian carpet. I could almost literally feel the red crater developing, which made me feel fresh pity for all people too debilitated to turn over.
I could turn over and I kept doing so. But then the little boy began again to weep so we collected up his special blanket and stuffed animals and climbed the stairs to try that third floor room with the crib in it.
Thank God that room ‘worked’ and he fell asleep – only ten minutes before the OTHER little boy stumbled into the room Old Dave and I share, where I was trying mightily to doze off.
“I can’t sleep TT,” he said miserably so now all three of us were awake.
For almost an hour it was like a Restless Leg convention in our bed until I finally picked up my own favorite blankie and stuffed animals and decamped to my office and the pull-out sofa this second little guy had so recently vacated – which worked until 4am when he appeared by my head to say he was hungry.
His mosquito-plagued older brother always wakes before 6am , but he knows how to read so I didn’t hear from him for a while, bless his heart.
But the hungry younger one was wide awake bright and early and scaling the bookcases before the sun had crested the horizon. Here HE is pondering his great grandfather’s library and looking happy as a clam.
He looks fresh as a daisy doesn’t he? I’ll spare you the picture he took of me two minutes later. The bags under my eyes are still so heavy I need one of those airport carts to lug them around.
It was fine though. It was all part of a much larger weekend extravaganza also involving two teenaged boys, who were and have been our houseguests too.
I’m still changing beds and washing linens. More on all that when I’m done.