Last night was epic. Vexed by her inability to go to sleep in a reasonable amount of time, Kina fell into the dangerous middle space between overtired and enraged. At ten o’clock, we found ourselves on the floor of her bedroom, holding her gently while she whipped her body around in exhausted fury. In between sobs, she would issue sharp, quiet gasps—a tic that she’s had since she was a few months old (and which freaked me out intensely when it first happened). As she wept, she screamed repeatedly, “I want to take a break! I want to take a break! I’m tired of this roooooom!”
This landed as a mild insult, because we have spent the last year and a half really decking out her room to be perfect. It is far nicer than the room Laurea and I sleep in, and we often muse about what it would be like to switch rooms. It bears noting that we have slept in the same room for an extremely long time. If our relationship to our bedroom were a person, it could vote in an election for Best Room—and it would likely vote for Kina’s awesome room.
I have never slept in a bedroom for this long. When I was growing up, my family moved around all the time, and it wasn’t until I moved into this very apartment that I finally stayed in one bedroom for as long as Kina has had hers. Novelty, for me, is tedium. On nights when I cannot sleep, I sometimes try to find something in the room that I’ve never seen before—a particular shadow or shaft of reflected light that will pull me out of whatever spiral of thought is keeping me awake. Sometimes I just stare at the curtain rod on one of our windows, which is mounted just perfectly to project a diffuse pinhole movie of the outside world, smeared across the ceiling. The shifting of the light makes for a new room. I wished, last night, that I could convey that to Kina.
“Don’t ever bring her to your room,” said Doctor Pam the Sleeping Lady during the Great Sleep Regression of 2019. “Just walk her back silently to her room,” she said. Reader, let’s just say that we brought her to our room, on the condition that it would be just long enough for her to stop gasping and drift towards unconsciousness. I hovered over her as she curled into a ball next to her mother, watching her as her breath evened out. Whispering to Kina that I would drift her back to bed like a little cloud, I carried our worn-out kid to her bedroom. In her bed, I told her a story about Baby Rainbow Cat, who couldn’t sleep. She counted sheep. She took deep breaths. She stared at the wide blue sky and watched the clouds as they crept across it, making a new sky as they tumbled away.
She fell asleep instantly, in her cozy little room.