1:43 am. An ear-splitting scream. I am launching out of bed before my eyes are open, driven by a sudden blast of adrenaline so powerful my heart is nigh on exploding.
Jude is stuck. Some toy has wedged itself between his bedroom door and the dresser. He is unhurt but unable to open the door. How this happens at 2am? Mystery.
Through the half-open door I wrangle whatever-it-is out of the way.
"It's daaaarrrkkk!" he sobs. Finally, I get the door open and scoop him up, carry him to our bed.
He hunkers down between us, clutching "BD" (blankie), Stuffed Bunny and Lion.
But I can't fall asleep. The adrenaline high has guaranteed that. I feel sorry for all the old people who can't sleep at night.
"Lie still and think of a blank wall," The Mateo whispers wisely.
"That's not helping," I hiss in irritation.
"It will," he says. "I go through this every night."
Apparently, he is one of the old people I should feel sorry for.
I wander downstairs, drink water, flip idly through a Hanna Andersson catalog. Why does she leave out the "h" at the end of her first name but has an extra "s" in her last name?
I told you I was irritated.
I peer through a window shutter, just in case there are any intruders wandering around my backyard. Because if I caught them back there I would, what? Say hello? Are you having trouble sleeping, too?
I huff back upstairs. Jewel wanders in.
"Mommy, I can't go to sleep. I've been lying awake since twelve-oh-two-three-five-seven!"
Clearly, she's sleepwalking. Unresisting, she lets me usher her back to bed.
The Mateo is still awake, albeit lying still and thinking of a blank wall. He has moved Jude off our bed.
"Do you really go through this every night?" I ask.
"Just about," he whispers. "Now lie still and think of a blank wall."
"Yeah, I got that," I say. When he whispers, I talk outloud just be to annoying.
"Try chocolate dripping down the wall," he offers. I snort in laughter.
Amazingly, it works. I open my eyes and it's morning. My eyeballs are swollen, my mouth is sticky glue. I yawn. My jaw cracks.
"Why do you love me?" I ask The Mateo after he brings me coffee. I ask him this at least once a day.
"I keep you around for amusement purposes," he says.
The upside of sleep-deprivation is that The Mateo sees my witchiness as endearing.
God only knows what he'll think of me if he ever gets a good night's sleep.