Thursday, April 2, 2009

Decisions

It's the perfect moment: Oscar is sleeping soundly for his morning nap and Miles has just drifted off at the breast. I'm beginning to drift off myself.

Then, I hear it. A start, a quiet sob, from upstairs. I wait. Will he fall back to sleep or will I need to go sooth him?

The sobbing begins. Heart wrenching, full-bodied sobs. Soothing it is.

As I lay Miles down in the Pack'n'Play to sleep, his peaceful little face crumples. He begins wailing the wail of an infant disturbed; angry, sad, afraid. I let him see me and he calms down. He smiles, coos.

I leave him for Oscar, and I find him standing in his crib, sobbing, snot running freely, eyes still heavy with sleep. He is exhausted. When I pick him up, he clings to me while sucking his thumb and clenching his bunny. I sway with him in my arms and his lids get heavy.

And it comes. Miles, mewling softly for me. He gets louder and louder until he sounds frantic with anger and need. Oscar hears it, too. His eyes snap open. He looks at me, questioning me silently. Will I stay with him, help him to sleep, or will I leave him for Miles? What will I do? What will I do?

Miles who's cries have reached fever pitch! I can see him in my mind: his face red, his arms and legs raging against the empty space that I usually fill; real tears squeezing from his eyes.

Who needs me more? Do I stay with Oscar until he's over his fear and able to go back to sleep, or do I go to Miles who is desperate with need? Someone will be left crying and alone. I don't know how to make this decision.

I tell myself that neither of them will remember this moment. Oscar and Miles will not remember who was left to cry while his brother was cuddled in Mommy's arms and soothed by Mommy's voice.

I try to reassure myself of this truth, comforting one son while the other rages.

14 comments:

bsouth said...

It's such an awful decision to have to make that I have ducked out of it. If I'm trying to settle them both down to sleep and one of them is kicking off I take the one I'm with, go get the other one and we all snuggle up in my bed together. They both sleep, I don't but I do get to lie down with my eyes closed. Win/win solution!

Veronica said...

Yes.

Casey said...

That's the worst. Both of my kids know to cry if the other one cries and it's like dueling children. It's awful and infuriating and heart breaking and I hate it.

steenky bee said...

The other night Reese was fussing. I prayed and prayed that it was a poltergeist because at the same time I was soothing Henry's growing pains.

Oddly enough. Did you know that at 2:00 am, Growing Pains with Kirk Cameron is on the television. As I held Henry and rocked him on the sofa while watching it I thought, "Well, this is ironic."

Cameron said...

Easy.....

Toss Oscar in the pack n play with Miles, grab a glass of wine and go hide in the bathroom. The kids will amuse themselves, no?

Susanica said...

Not a fun choice. I guess you just have to go with your gut like in most things in life. Otherwise a coin toss would solve it. No, can't imagine doing that either. -Monica

Keely said...

Ugh. So not looking forward to having to make these decisions. This post gave me a heartache.

Sarah's Blogtastic Adventures said...

I feel for you Jenni. The rewards of having kids close together are awesome, but when all four under 6 are crying and screamining Mommy, yeah heartbreaking! : )

jen @ negative lane said...

I've been there. It's hard. And there's no good solution.

Somehow, I've managed to rock both a 3 year old and a six month old on my lap at the same time. It's not comfortable and I'm still not really sure how it worked, but we did okay.

Peggy said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JENNI!

Stimey said...

I literally just wrote a long comment and had to delete it (now it's two comments I wrote and deleted) because I'm kind of a jerk. But what was at the heart of both of those comments was this:

That is really tough and stressful. It will get better. Both of them know you love them more than anything. And they will continue to know that. THAT is what they will remember.

River said...

You have to choose? The way I see it there's no choosing. Hold them both. on you bed as bsouth said or in a large comfy armchair. Why on earth should one child have to cry?

mrsbear said...

I don't think there's ever a right or wrong decision, either one breaks your heart. No, they won't remember it later, but that's not any comfort to you in the middle of the night. I always end up caving and bringing everyone in to bed with me, which of course never sits well with the husband who ends up on the sofa. At least he gets some sleep there.

Peggy said...

Aww Jenni I'm so sorry! That's terrifying!

Hope little Oscar is feeling better today!