The Sanctuary

And so it came to pass these germs are sent to try us, and try us they do when Zee is sick all over his travel cot and then his daddy at 5am and everything needs changing and I can’t see straight. Or the next night, he wakes at midnight and I settle him, crawl back into bed and begin to drift off, and he cries again, and this repeats four times until I bring him in to sleep next to me. But of course I am terrified of squashing him in my sleep so I remain awake, with eyes getting heavier and heavier and heavier and Wait! Can’t fall asleep, mustn’t squash the baby . . .

2.17am, 3.40am, 4.22am, 5.10am are weird times to be awake. It is pitch black outside and all is quiet apart from the noises of a house; a radiator rumbling, a tap dripping somewhere, floorboards settling. It is just me and Zee, he breathes quietly, I stroke his forehead and whisper ‘Shhhhh’ until my throat is dry. The forehead stroke during illness or distress is something I remember from childhood and it’s so soothing. I have asked H to do it for me during illness, but as he hates having it done himself, he just Can’t Do It Properly. He kind of pats my whole face, says ‘There there’ and that’s it. *Sigh*.

We are currently on a visit home, supposedly for the weekend. It is now Wednesday night. I have put Zee to bed and resettled him three times so far. As far as I’m concerned, there is no better place to be at times like these. Loving (grand)parents take care of us both, and still have a sense of humour despite their washing machine being on a constant cycle and the threat of very unpleasant things occurring at both ends of their beautiful grandson at any unpredictable moment.

My dad’s face was a picture of mock horror this morning. ‘I’ve been warned of this,’ he said gravely, ashen faced. ‘Your children return home for ‘a few days ‘ . . . and they never leave. My worst fear has been realised . . .’ Mum mock scolded him and Zee gave him a serious stare, turned his head to one side and continued sucking his fingers.

I remain hopeful of an uninterrupted night because it is horrid to see your baby suffering and bewildered at being sick and hungry and in pain. Whether tonight is good or bad remains to be seen, but maybe I’ll tell my dad tomorrow morning that we’ve decided to stay until next week anyway. Just to see the look on his face.


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