Eliot wakes at 1:00 a.m. last night (well, technically this morning, I guess) and can't get back to sleep. I pat his back, put his nuk back in his mouth, and pull his blanket back over him.
This is pretty typical. We rarely go a night without being up at some point around here. I've gotten into the habit of just bringing the little man to bed with me when he wakes up, since Eli works nights now and it's just me most of the time anyway. So even though Eli is home, I scoop up the boy and bring him back to our bedroom.
And for awhile we lay there, the three of us together, a curved line of bodies, big, smaller, smallest, like nested dolls. I have a few delicious "ahh...this is what it feels like to savor the moment" moments, until Eliot, who still cannot get to sleep, starts running his hands up and down my arm, feeling my face, pausing to pinch my nose...all the while talking and babbling in a semi-whisper that grows louder with each passing minute. As the clock ticks away into the morning.
Soon, Eli abandons us for the couch and I scoot over, hoping I'm out of range of the roaming, pinching fingers. After awhile, it becomes clear that burying my head under my pillow and hoping he will just go to &%!ing sleep already is not working, I pick Eliot up, carry him back to his own room, and deposit him soundly back into his crib.
Sometimes this works and he goes back to sleep.
This is that point in the story where time becomes irrelevant and the world seems to pause as I am caught up in an endless cycle of insanity. All I know is that while Eli snoozes away on the couch, I make a bottle, feed Eliot, rock him, read bedtime stories to him, bring him back to my bed to snuggle again, return him to his crib again, all to no avail.
By 2:30 I wake Eli up, saying, "Look, the kid won't go back to sleep and I don't know what the hell else to do with him." By this point he has been coughing for awhile, too (he's had a cold he can't shake for almost two weeks now), so we give him some Benadryl to try to dry up the nose, thinking that drainage is making him cough, keeping him up.
After 3:00, I think it is, we give him a breathing treatment, and he falls asleep to the loud humming of the nebulizer. As soon as the nebulizer is turned off, he wakes up again.
*sigh of extreme exasperation*
So Eli turns the nebulizer back on. Eliot falls asleep.
Now what? We can't leave the nebulizer running all night long. (Well, all that's left of it, at this point.) Finally, finally, finally, we get the idea to put my laptop in his room and leave it on playing classical music. I get out the computer, boot it up, wait thirty years for it to find my internet connection, and navigate to Pandora Radio. We choose a classical piano genre station, shut off the nebulizer, and scurry back to bed too anxious to even be optimistic.
We lay and wait. Will it work?
We whisper cautiously: "Too bad there isn't a 'nebulizer' station."
"Or a 'vacuum cleaner' station."
"Maybe there's a 'Rachel's breath stinks' station."
"Oh yeah? Well, probably there's an 'Eli's stomach is making freaky noises' station."
Somewhere between our delirium and hilarity, we all fall asleep. And stay asleep until morning.