3 am: Ben appears at my bedside, having dreamt that his Tinker Toys were attacking him. I scoot over and he climbs in. I tell him to imagine scoops of ice cream falling on the Tinker Toy monster’s head. We both drift back asleep.
3:30 am: Tony, squeezed to the edge of the bed, gets up and carries Ben back to his own room. I should sleep better now, but can’t relax, worrying about all the details involved in delivering my book to the publisher next week (next week!).
4 am: Earthquake. Tony flies out of bed and down the hall to check on Ben (sleeping). I stand in our doorway, next to Eli’s room, listening to his quiet breathing. After a few minutes’ waiting for aftershocks (from the earth or from the boys), we both go back to bed.
5 am: Eli wakes. Tony uncharacteristically sleeps through Eli’s calls, so I go into his room and tell him it’s still night time. “Mama awake,” he points out. True enough. I sit on the chair and put my head down on the arm rest: “Mama sleeping,” I say; “It’s still night time.” “Sit up, Mama,” he demands. “Lie down, Eli,” I counter. Remarkably, he does.
5:30 am: Eli is not quite asleep, but resting quietly, when Ben comes down the hall and into the room. I put my finger to my lips to ask him not to speak, then open my arms for him to climb into the armchair with me. We manage to wriggle into a halfway comfortable cuddle and he falls back asleep.
6 am: Ben’s bedroom feels like a mile away, so I carry him, sleeping, back into bed with me.
6:30 am: Ben wakes and crawls out of bed, then stands staring at me sleepily. “What’s up, buddy?” I ask, “Are you awake?” “No,” he says, and walks down the hall to his own bed.
7 am: Eli wakes. Tony gets up with him, leaving me to “sleep in” for another hour, the best hour of sleep all night.