Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Nocturnal Stirrings of Mice and Men
It's unusually cold in the South and terribly dreary out. I haven't seen the sun in days and it's feeling a bit medieval out there. I find myself wrapping in cloaks and scarves and layers of clothes to fight off the cold. While inside our home is toasty warm, my daughter has taken up a new practice of sleeping with her Northface jacket on. She isn't fighting off the cold, but rather has found comfort in the feel of the fleece. Often I wake in the middle of the night to find what I think is a small bear sleeping next to me. She has made a habit of sneaking in my bedroom dragging a heating pad and a stuffed platypus with her. She quietly crawls in my bed, fires up the heating pad and leaves me to roast under the covers. I thought I was approaching menopause with , but realized it was just a long extension cord and a small furry child curled up next to me. My children have always stirred during the middle of the night and have mastered crawling in bed with me without waking a soul. I suppose they get this nocturnal problem from me. My son struggled with sleep for years and I assumed it was his genetics at play. One night, I was lying in his room with him when a light bright enough to burn retinas came crashing through the window. It seems my neighbors had installed a motion sensor light that was pointed straight in my kid's bedroom. No wonder the boy couldn't sleep! We moved him into the spare bedroom in the center of the house where no light enters the room. He has a soft mattress that he sinks deep into as it molds itself around him. With the darkness and being wrapped up in micro-plush memory foam, I imagine it's much like being back in the womb. He sleeps like a baby again. As for the rest of us...we are up all night climbing in and out of bed, changing the thermostat, lighting fires and cursing the neighbor's ill-placed security lighting. The other night, I woke to see a small hooded being standing at the foot of my bed. Had it not been four feet tall, I might have panicked a bit at the possibility that the grim reaper had come calling. I asked my daughter why she was up and she told me that the hamsters would not stop running on their wheel. I told her to move them out of her room and a tiny voice replied, "okay" as she disappeared quickly out the door. My husband and I lay there for a few moments in the darkness rejoicing in the fact that she had returned to her own bed. A few more moments passed and I had to ask the obvious question.. "You don't think she...." Before I could finish the sentence, the whirr of the hamster wheel began as tiny hamster feet ran like out of control vermin on hamster crack. "ALLLLLLIIIIEEEEEE" I shouted! But she was already back in her bed of pink fluff, hunkered down in the silence under layers of cover and wrapped in a fleece hood. She was not coming back. I knew our son was curled up in the fetal position in the blackness and silence of his room and he wouldn't be coming to my rescue either. This was now a test of endurance between my husband and me to see who would crack first under the pressure of the hamster wheel and get up and move the jogging little beasts at the foot of our bed. Needless to say, he can sleep through anything, and it was I who had to crawl out of the warmth of my bed to relocate hamsters at 2:00 a.m. Wide awake now, I turned on the television to catch the latest infomercial on Amish Heaters. How timely, I thought. They were free if I ordered immediately and paid $250 shipping. They were guaranteed to ward off even the extreme cold of a Cryogenic Ice Age. I wanted one. I wanted it in several colors and I would have had one except I bumped the remote and accidentally changed the channel to a station where some guy was selling weight- loss smoothies and my focus was diverted. I watched this thin man in his little spandex suit promise women that they would look trim and slim by summer. Knowing full well, that we were never going to see warm sunny days again and unconcerned about looking trim and slim in layers of fleece and fur, I threw on my jacket and hat and went back to the warmth of my bed to remain there until Spring shows signs of arrival.