We made it almost four years, but tonight, the night has come. Pookie has her first ear infection, and she is miserable. Puppy-whining, yelling “ow”, coughing, tossing, hair-clawing miserable. Unfortunately I gave her a dose of Benadryl at bedtime, so she is also too out of it to be talked sense to.
Eventually I turned the overhead light on, to wake her up as much as possible, and told her that Tylenol dissolved in water was “Hawaiian Punch”. She drank it. After another bad quarter of an hour, she has at least stopped whining.
She asked me to stay with her, though. “Sit right here by me, mom.” If you know my child and her fiercely independent sleep habits, then you know what an event that was. We sleep trained her, and we did it well. She has been in her Big Girl Bed for a year and a half and still hasn’t realized that she can get out of it on her own.
And so I sat by her, and will again, after I’ve unburdened myself of these words. Oh, the midnight hours I have spent in her little room, in that rocker, looking at the same pictures, huddled under the same quilts, waiting for her to fall deeply enough asleep that I could slip away. There are precious few of those hours, anymore. They only happen when she’s very sick.
She is miserable enough that the cat, Pudding, came to help. Pudding has always been good to me in illness; she has a knack for kneading cramping bellies. Tonight she meowed around for a while, then settled on the foot of Mimi’s bed, where I think she still is. Mimi knows I am gone. She is whining again.
She’s a pretty picture, my sick little girl. Her quilts. Her rose-printed sheets. Her hair on the pillow.
Ah, there. She’s calling for me. Goodnight.