Abby has been coughing mildly for about a week. It kept her up during nap time at school on Wednesday, so we decided to give her medicine before bed, partly to calm the cough but also partly to get her a better night of sleep. This is not the first time we've used this, and won't be the last. But she might not get it again tonight.
Last night at 11:30ish I was awoken by Abby. Right at midnight on the clock in her room she woke me up again. At that point, I could not sleep. I was completely freaked out. I feared that we had given her too much medicine and that she was hallucinating scenes from her new love, Sleeping Beauty. We skip the scene toward that end that Anny has deemed "too scary" but there is still some spooky stuff in there. Since I don't care for the movie particularly, I was very much inclined right about midnight to find out copy and break it in half.
The first time I went into her room, Abby was sitting straight up with her eyes wide like she had just had a sip of coke for the first time. (An assumption, of course...) She, as usual, was calling "MOMMY!" which is funny because mommy almost never gets up with her.
Through her wide, scary eyes she was reciting what could have been a mantra, and the first time I chalked it up to a song from school:
"I am listening and I can hear... It's cold in here... Dally I don't like the fire anymore... Daddy, turn off the fire please..." Over and over. If you're a parent, you know that voice that is as much whine as concern? Yeah, that was the voice she was using.
Again, the first time I figured she was just startled, but when she did this again at midnight, on the nose, I began to freak out a bit. She asked me to turn off her humidifier, and she calmly drifted back to sleep. In an effort to combat the cough, I turned it back on once she was out.
But not me. I laid awake trying to figure out what medicine we had given her (which I genuinely did not know, I was at a meeting.) and how much and whether or not she was having a bad acid trip. Since Anny is not feeling 100% either, she took medicine and has no recollection of the nights activities, which I realized was the case as they were going on so I could not rely on her for help or insight.
So I laid there. Helplessly thinking about what we may or may not have inflicted on our beloved daughter. I finally could not stand it anymore, so I got up and went into her room. I felt for a fever. Nope. I checked her pulse, which was normal for her. I woke her up just enough to know that she was conscious again. I was so concerned that I gave her the riot act - what is your name, who am I, give me a kiss - things that she all did, and probably thought it was a game. To me, it was not a game. I needed answers.
She looked again with the big eyes and asked for a "colder pillow" so I flipped hers. That worked. She laid her head down and once again started with "Dally I don't like the fire anymore... Daddy, turn off the fire please..."
This time she pointed, though. This time, she put my mind at ease. This time, you see, she was able to tell me what the problem was. It seems that Abby, in her deepest of sleep, could not use a five syllable word. The whole conversation would have been different before if she could have, but it never occurred to her or to me that she might be saying:
"I am listening and I can hear...
It's cold in here...
Dally I don't like the HUMIDI-fire anymore...
Daddy, turn off the HUMIDIFIER please..."
Stupid cow humidifier that puts out a bit of fog that can be taken as smoke in the head of a 2 year old. She was not scared. She was not concerned. She was genuinely being bothered by her humidifier and wanted it turned off. The wide eyes were surely because it was just too dark and she was looking for the noise.
I turned off the humidifier, she laid down and was out almost instantly.
And I laid awake again. This time frustrated that I did not ask the right questions.