My in-laws are now empty nesters. Most of the time I look at that phase of life and think of how much I'll miss my kids. But from time to time I am extremely envious of them. Usually those times are between midnight and 6am...
Last night was supposed to be my night! I had the coveted "sleep through the night" side of the bed. About 3:00 am, the Sophi siren went off. Christi didn't budge. Given that it was her night to get up with the kids, I nudged her and then snuggled farther under the covers. But peace was not to be mine. "I'm feeling so sick...can you possibly get up with them tonight?" It's so hard to think rationally in the middle of the night. I guess you do get better at it with time and practice. So as my brain tried to clear I dealt with the severe disappointment. "OK." (I must admit, it probably wasn't a whole lot friendlier than that, but c'mon, this is a massive paradigm shift to deal with. At least I didn't ACT grouchy!)
I stumbled over a toy on my way to the hallway, groggily wandered into to Sophi's room and told her that I was not going to help her when she was screaming like that. I would be glad to help her use the bathroom, but she needed to get out of bed and come in and ask nicely for help. "I can't!" she said. "Yes you can. I'll wait for you in the bathroom." So I went into the bathroom and sat on the edge the tub. About 7 seconds later, a howl came from her room that far surpassed the screams she had originally woken me up with. I pictured her having somehow fallen into a position she couldn't get out of. Or maybe whacked her head on something. It had to be some serious physical harm that had come to her. I rushed into the bedroom, "What happened???" "SPIDER MAN!!!" I rolled my eyes and had to chuckle inside. Of course. Spider Man.
Sophi was terrified of just about all toys when we first adopted her. Stuffed animals were particularly scary for her. Didn't matter how cute or cuddly they were. She even screamed when offered a Minnie Mouse doll. Fortunately, this has improved dramatically over time and at this point she has many dolls and babies she loves very much. But not Spider Man. Years ago, I won a bunch of tickets at an arcade and got to pick prizes with them. I picked out the ugliest dolls you have ever seen for Taylor and Parker. They were stuffed Spider Man dolls. The boys have long since outgrown them. But they have stayed in the massive pile of stuffed animals and dolls that is in the room that Xander, Lexi and Sophi share. Xander is still young enough to like them. But Sophi is really terrified of them. Most of the time they're far enough across the room that she can see them and just holler fairly rationally, "I scared Spider Man!" My response is usually a caring "You don't need to be scared of Spider Man." Great dad, huh? (I'm not sure why the thought of throwing them away has never occurred to me before, but clearly the time has come:) Last night, however, the web-slinger had somehow maneuvered his way across the room until he was on the floor directly at Sophi's feet when she tried to get out of bed. So of course she had an absolute tizzy fit until I came and rescued her. Spider-Man, you have seen your final day in our home!!!
After I took care of Sophi, I heard Elli downstairs. As is often the case, she had taken off her jammies (this despite us now putting the onesies on backwards and pinning the zipper up). It took me several minutes to get her changed and re-tucked in. I finally crawled back in bed...and I heard a clock ticking. I have a really hard time falling asleep with a regular noise like that. If there's a loud clock, I have to move it out of the room. Then it hit me that it wasn't a clock. It was the dripping of water from our gutter in the aftermath of a major wind and rain storm earlier in the night. (Funny, I have no problem falling asleep to the sounds of a storm, but a steady drip...drip...drip can keep me awake forever?) So there was nothing I could do about the sound. I tried to put it out of my mind and drift off.... About 20 minutes later I was just about completely gone, when I heard Sophi calling out to me again. She didn't come in to get me, but at least she was calling in a sweet voice this time. I went out to help her again. This time she wanted lotion on her legs and face! At 3:45 in the morning!!! To be fair, she does have extremely dry skin. So I put some Eucerin on her, tucked her back in and begged her to let me sleep. Which she did. The whole thing took over 45 minutes.
So yes, all you empty nesters out there, I do at times envy the peace and quiet which must prevail in your homes. But overall? I wouldn't trade my kids at these ages for anything! (Well, I might trade them for a week or two in Mexico. But only if I could have them back afterwards:)