Pssst…come close…a little closer. That’s good. Now listen carefully because I’m going to whisper this next part; you know how I hate to tempt the universe.
Things are good here. Like, freaky good. Awesome, even. All is quiet and lovely and about as peaceful as things have been in a year and a half.
With things fairly quiet, we’re paying attention to some of the things that we don’t usually.
The human brain is wired to pay attention to the most salient stimuli. When I was in labor with Jacob and the contractions were rolling over me with almost no break in between, I didn’t even feel the nurse who was digging around in my arm, trying to place an IV. After he was born and I noticed the HUGE bruises on my arm, I asked, “What happened there?”
So when we’re busy keeping Carter from collapsing into a wormhole built of his own anxiety or fending off his violent attacks, the fact that he sleeps in our room is not something we even notice all that much.
Now? We notice.
Now that we’re not stressed right up to our eyeballs, we would like a little more freedom to do things that adults sometimes do in private. The fact that the boy is asleep on the futon just a few feet from our bed is making that difficult.
Trouble is, his illness is cyclical and a dozen times (probably more, but who can remember?), we’ve done the necessary work to help him sleep comfortably in his own room.
And just as many times, as he cycles out of stability and back to acute anxiety or the insomnia that comes with mania, he ends up back in our bedroom. Getting him back out? Challenging.
Complicating things these days is that something in his med cocktail is causing an abundance of sleepwalking. Confused, bizarre sleepwalking.
When he sleepwalks? Carter is a random pee-er. In recent weeks, he has peed on my shoes; in the cabinet under the sink; in a laundry basket; on the full-length mirror in the bathroom (so close!); and, memorably, in the little refrigerator that’s in one of our bedroom closets.*
He gets up, stumbling like a tiny, red-headed version of Frankenstein’s monster, looking for a toilet. Seeing as how he’s asleep? Finding the toilet isn’t easy.
We keep moving it around, of course, because that’s just good fun right there.
All this middle of the night stumbling can be fun sometimes, too. I find Carter asleep, sitting up on the futon in our room. When I try to lay him down, he shrieks at me like I poked him with tongs, swinging and fighting until I decide to let him sleep any old place he wants.
Perhaps he should sleep in the bathtub? Easy to clean up the pee from in there.
And sometimes, when I try to move him from a cold, uncomfortable, or unsafe sleeping place, I interrupt a dream and there is much screaming, like so: NO! DON’T LET THE UGLY CROCODILES EAT MY ELBOWS! I DON’T WANT TO SEE THEIR UGLY EYES AND FEET!
And of course I never let the crocodiles (ugly or otherwise) eat his elbows because what kind of mother would I be if I let such a thing happen?
So the boy is stumbling around the house, peeing on things, and where does he always end up? Our room.
I would be more eager (maybe even a little excited) about moving him to his room if we hadn’t already run this drill so many times.
Only the promise of privacy for aforementioned adult activities gives me the least little bit of motivation.
So now? I’m going to put the futon away.
And I’m going to help him clean his room and arrange everything just the way he likes it.
And we will hope and pray that he’s stable enough to sleep in there for longer than a few weeks this time.
Also? I’m locking my closet because nobody wants to wear pee shoes.
*That little fridge is leftover from the years when Carter was underweight and constantly on the brink of needing a surgical feeding tube. If he woke at 3 am and wanted yogurt? We weren’t about to deny him but it was way nice not to have to go downstairs to get it.