Poor little boy. Waking up every night for the past three or four nights. Sneezing. Coughing. Rubbing his eyes. Sneezing some more. Crying for Mama to come and somehow make it better.
I sit by his crib and we whisper. I rub his back. He rubs his eyes, tells me they hurt.
I get him a cup of "wahler." Cover him up. He settles back down. Minutes later, or 2 hours later, or the minute I leave, he cries again.
I hold him in my arms and he tries to convince me he's "done with my map" even though it's pitch black outside. We rock back and forth, cheek to cheek in the dark. His cheeks are sweaty or sticky with tears. He sneezes some more, and now I'm sticky, too.
We listen to Lily's heavy, steady breathing from the big bed across the room. No amount of crying or sneezing or non-whispering wakes her up.
Finally, he asks to be put back in his crib. I struggle to settle him down gently, but he's almost three and my back doesn't bend that far. He snuggles his arms around his crib bumpers. Rests his forehead against the bars. Curls his knees into his chest.
He whispers that he's afraid of the lightning. I peak through the curtain and assure him the skies are clear. "No storm tonight?" - "No, sweetie, not tonight." At least not yet.
I whisper, "Love you, buddy," and head out. Catch a glimpse of Lily sleeping with her head at the wrong end of the bed. Not the way her Daddy positioned her when he carried her back to bed from her nest in the hallway earlier in the evening.
Her favorite blanket gathered under her head. A mop of unruly blond hair covering her face and pillow. Two little sweethearts, resting in each other's company. Jacob trying to go back to sleep before his allergies wake him - and me - up again.