The Kid Who Doesn’t Sleep

I’m sitting in bed right now…

(OK, I’m not actually sitting in bed right now, because it’s 5:30 in the afternoon. I mean, I wish I was in bed right now, but my kids expect me to involved and aware and stuff. Their expectations regularly and seriously cut into my more natural lazy tendencies. Kids are, like, extrinsic motivation personified.

But I was in bed last night when I wrote this story. 

Just didn’t want you to be confused. So anyway…)

I’m sitting in bed right now, with the Kid Who Sleeps on my right and the Kid Who Doesn’t Sleep on my left.

It’ll come as no surprise that the Kid Who Sleeps is asleep. He’s asleep because his head has been on his pillow for at least 12 seconds.

The Kid Who Doesn’t Sleep is just like me, except he does all of his harrumphing and anxiety-laden thinking out loud and accompanies his worrying with thumping arms and wiggly legs, whereas I find that if I let my worries live out loud it’s harder to take them back later, shove them down deep inside, and pretend they don’t exist. And I like to play pretend. I do.

The Kid Who Doesn’t Sleep is consumed with worry about his bear.

Barry the Bear who is missing in action.

Barry the Bear who is probably rightfully spelled Bear-y the Bear, except that I like to call him Barry in my head, as though he has a proper name and isn’t just Bear with a Y stuck haphazardly to the end like an afterthought. I figure, until my kid can spell, I can make Barry’s name look any way I want. It’s one of the great privileges of being a mom to little littles; they can’t correct me until they’re old enough to know that I am regularly, horribly wrong. It’s a mama perk, this illusions of rightness! A very, very short-lived mama perk, because kids figure out the whole mom-is-wrong thing awfully early in life. (Kids these days. Sheesh!)

My Kid Who Doesn’t Sleep is kicking the side of the bed with his foot.

Kick kick. Kick kick. Kick kick.

Kick kick. Kick kick.

Kick kick.

His little mind cannot rest. There’s a lost bear who’s sad and alone. My Kid Who Doesn’t Sleep and I ponder the problem. We suspect that Barry didn’t make it out before Mount Kid Who Sleeps erupted last night. We think, perhaps, that Barry took a vomit stream to the head or something and is, therefore, swimming in the washing machine with all the other compromised textiles.

But we’re not sure our Barry story is true, exactly, and that’s the crux of it. We’re just guessing. Supposing. And those aren’t good enough for my Kid Who Doesn’t Sleep.

I’m trapped in this bed by my laptop and a tangled blanket and hot preschooler breath, but I scoot myself out from the middle of it all to go bear hunting.

Which is when I find Barry safe on the floor, crouched down under the bed.

It turns out he heard last night’s eruptions and dove off the bed in time, just like he was trained to do. Thank God for the quick reflexes of stuffed bears!

My Kid Who Doesn’t Sleep is grateful – so, so grateful – and comforts Barry by punching him twice in the gut and then shoving him under his tired preschool chin where the bear belongs. They both look blissfully happy, my boy and his bear.

It makes me want a bear.

There’s a sound outside that’s identical to Dory in Finding Nemo when she’s speaking whale. WAAhhOOOah. WahOOOooeeAH. I can’t tell whether it’s a wounded dog or a coyote celebrating the solstice or kids up on the mountain playing tricks on mamas who are in bed surrounded by kids who sleep and kids who don’t.

I worry that the sound will scare my Kid Who Doesn’t Sleep because, well, everything causes him some measure of concern these days. Dinosaur extinction. Peeing straight. The wind.

But I look over at him, and I realize… he’s fast asleep.

My boy. And his bear.


Tomorrow, I’m going to tell you more about this Kid Who Doesn’t Sleep, even though I may have talked about him once or twice before. (Those are some of my favorite posts, truth be told.)

But for now, here’s wishing you a warm place to lay your head… and for someone who calms you as well as a bear.


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One response to “The Kid Who Doesn’t Sleep”

  1. We have a Bear-Bear at our house. My youngest daughter was not-quite-two when she did a spectacular dive in to a Little People Airport, busted her eyebrow wide open and ended up with 15 stitches. To comfort the screaming sweet baby, the ER gave her a stuffed bear. I suggested the name “Stitches”, but she would have none of it. 10 years later, my Betty Jo still sleeps with Bear-Bear every single night. <3 My 14 year old son's ER Bear, Tool Worker resides on my dresser now that the man-child has decided he is too old for stuffed animals. Bittersweet. But that bear has more personality than any stuffed animal has any right to possess. He's been made Real. 🙂

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