Date: 20 September 2009
Time: 2:55 a.m.
Weather: Cool and dark, dry and quiet
Situation restless child tonight. My son's nose is running and the child just won't sleep. My wife has been up twice already but the boy doesn't want to be alone.
My head's a little light but I've had a few hours sleep. Kathy Mattea's playing on the kitchen radio - her deep steady voice is gently belting out the lines:
"You got to sing, like you don't need the money,
You got to love, like you'll never get hurt,
You got to dance, dance, dance, like nobody's watching ..."
My son is eating marbled white and yellow cheddar cheese and making happy noises and letting out terrific sneezes.
"Mmmaaa, mmmaaa .... aaaachoooo!" or something like that - I think he's just loving the fact that he's not confined to his crib.
I danced with him a little to a more rocking song, 455 Rocket. I do little spins with him and he goes crazy.
This is so much better than it used to be when he couldn't be comforted; so much better than when my wife and I would trade off hours and test our sanity as he cried without remission. Back then, not that long ago really, we just held on with the hope that it would end: The crying would stop, the sleepless nights would subside, the boy would find some comfort - this is much better.
In a little bit, I'll put him back in his crib with a bottle of cold milk - a practice our dentist has decried. Sorry Dr. Stern...
Soon now, we'll steer this ship back up closer to the stars on the upper story of the house. I'll try singing to the little guy and hope he'll drop off. There's still enough time for a few hours of sleep before the alarm goes off for work.
My little guy is alternating rubs on his nose and his eyes now. Kathy's singing "Dance a little closer to me, dance a little closer now, dance a little closer tonight..." The house is calm.
I'm sure I'll reminisce about these moments someday. Someday when I'm getting more sleep and the boy is in grade school and won't wake up for us in the morning. For tonight, I'll take my own comfort in Kathy's voice, the quiet night and the little happy sounds of my son.
That and the thought that we're just captain and first mate on the overnight watch of a great ship at sea. The waters were a bit restless, but the ship is steady and the stars are bright.
Captain's time, 3:37 a.m.