December 14, 2013

Nightmares and Nonsense

Sassy is a sleepwalker. It doesn't happen frequently but it does happen. When we lived in WA, she would come downstairs, walk all the way around my bed to get to the side where I sleep and then utter something nonsensical before I would tuck her back in her own bed. By all appearances, she looked fully awake the whole time.

Since living in TX, it's only happened a couple of times. Once she came in and woke me up and asked, "Can I eat that?" She wasn't even holding anything. I answered, "No, go back to bed" and then she turned around and did just that.

Right now she is sick, poor baby. For 2 days she's been fighting a fever that has spiked to 103* several times and has caused some very interesting conversations. This morning she woke me up at about 4am--she was crying and said she'd been having nightmares. I climbed out of bed and snuggled up on the couch where she was camped. She tried to explain her nightmares but said she couldn't and eventually drifted off to sleep. Laid out on my side on my 2 inches of couch I attempted to do the same but with considerably less success. While she dozed off and on, I alternated between trying to keep my body on the couch without it going numb and racing through the day's packed schedule in my head.

Occasionally Sassy would wake up, always crying a bit. The first time she told me her forehead hurt. She followed that up with, "I didn't mean for it to be so big." Whaaa? You didn't mean to have a big forehead? Or a big headache? I just sat there trying to decipher what she meant while she just laid there with her eyes open and looking miserable. I gave up and she fell asleep again.

She woke up a 2nd time, crying, and I assumed she'd had nightmares again. She started gesturing to the air above her stomach and mumbling something I couldn't translate. On the 3rd try I finally got it--"There are so many dispensers here!" Apparently those invisible dispensers (?) were causing her a lot of anxiety. I just sat there staring at her. What was I supposed to say? Eventually she turned her head and caught me staring at her. That set off a whole new round of crying.

When she finally fell asleep again, I admitted that I was never going to get any sleep out there with her. I finally slipped off the couch and into my own bed at 7am. At 7:33 she woke me up because of her nightmares again. Back to the couch.

She mumbled some more nonsense 2 more times but my sleep-deprived brain can't seem to recall it, and she is currently still on the couch making her attempt at sleeping. I'm now afraid that after my restless night on the couch I may just end up sounding like her today. So if I wander up to you today and mutter something completely ridiculous, just blame Sassy's fever.

December 6, 2013

Thunderstorm Ahead

The weather in Texas is as unpredictable as the lottery. You'll have warm temperatures and clear skies, a perfect day to be outside. But then, as your eyes make another pass across that ocean of blue above you, you realize it's not as blue as it was a moment ago, not as bright. And that's when you see that wall of grey advancing.

It's a thunderstorm heading right in your direction. With little to no warning you are suddenly under a deluge of pouring rain, violent winds, and thunder that shakes the foundation of your house. Day turns to night as the sunlight is choked off by the swollen clouds. These storms are unpredictable, sometimes lasting just a few minutes and sometimes dragging on for what seems like hours. Those on the ground have no choice but to hunker down and wait it out, praying they stay dry, that the house will hold firm, that the trees will stay rooted.

As quickly as it starts, it's over. For Mother Nature, the orchestrator of the whole event, this is a chance to wash everything clean, to purge all the pollution and start anew. As for the rest of us, we are left shaken and anxious as we survey the damage and go about the task of setting things to right. It takes time for our nerves to settle, and we are just thankful to have survived the storm intact.

Life goes back to normal until the next freak storm, whirling tornado, or flash flood.

But, wait...didn't you know? This isn't just the description of storms in the spring, this is what it's like when Hurricane Bubba sweeps through. This is what it's like when his senses get overloaded, his anxiety spikes, or the world just does not match up to the way his brain tells him it should be. The yelling, screaming, kicking, hitting, throwing, crying commences and the only thing the rest of us can do is to hunker down and try to contain the damage. And when it's over, Bubba will carry on while the rest of us take longer to set things to right, both physically and emotionally.

While we return to life as usual, there is always that small part of us that remains on alert, that is on the lookout for another storm to pop up with no warning.