Walking better

Running down the steps to the Great Meadow at Duke Farms

Last night Beren woke at 10:30 pm. He was impossible to put back to sleep until we gave him water. He gulped it. And, we gave him Annie's Cheddar Bunnies (the organic rip off of Pepperidge Farms Goldfish). He swallowed them by the handful. His eyelids were heavy. He shared three bunnies with me.

Finally, he went back to sleep. I 'slept' next to him.

The rest of the night he was wakeful, not from pain, but possibly from lack of daytime activity. He 'slept' until 5:10 am. At that time we repeated the water and bunnies routine, except he did not go back to sleep.

I watched Jared's prone body laying in our bed, knowing he was somewhere between awake and 'asleep'. We know that nursing is what puts Beren back to sleep. Exclusively. Nothing else. Not tremendous efforts on Jared's part, so long as I am around anyway. So, we silently agree that we can't take turns getting Beren back to sleep.

I said something like, "Jared, I need a break."

Our newborn months and teething weeks are long over, and I have long lost my edge in dealing with sleepless nights.

Jared said something like, "OK." And then something like, "Beren, let's go to the other side of the house." I heard them play, Beren's voice cut through the thin walls.

I fell back 'asleep' and dreamt bizarre dreams. Then, I woke up.

Beren still hobbled, his knee a hardball between skinny stalks of leg. I spoke to our care provider, and again, I decided to stay the herbal and homeopathy course. "Have you tried the castor oil pack?" she asks. "No, not yet. I thought it might be difficult." "Ok, it's just that if they need it, they typically accept it," she answered.

I thought of how Beren sometimes accepts and sometimes denies remedies. Often, he has a sense of what he needs. As parents, we balance our respect for our child's sensitivity and sensibility with ours, and our experience.

Are you comfortable with this?" she asked. "Yes, and should we need to go a different route, we will. We'll be ready," I replied. I was surprised at my confidence, despite feeling so tired I was occasionally dizzy.

You see, there's no certainty with the 'natural' route or 'medical' route. None. No guarantees that either will work. Each has its limits, each its benefits. There's the worry that I might be choosing wrong. Looking at my child, happy but hobbling, and no longer feverish, we're going the right way this time. Were he hobbling and listless, depressed and scared, I'd be looking up pediatric specialists, and wondering about our next move.

Jared and I agreed that he was getting better, but we worry. "I just don't want this to linger," he says.

We did another Epsom bath. We switch homeopathic remedies as Beren's symptom picture shifted. I did very inexperienced shiatsu on the knee area, exploring the joint with my fingers until Beren grimaced or swatted my hand away, no longer willing to be poked.

I warmed up the castor oil, which I had applied to an old diaper. Beren sat on Jared's lap and they scribbled in a US Fish and Wildlife coloring book that featured Mark Trail discussing controlled fire as a ecological tool.

I soured Beren on the castor oil immediately because the oil was too hot. "Ouch," he said moving away. I tried again, this time with stealth, no luck. Logic, after being burnt by Momma didn't work either. "This will make you feel better," we said.

I left the room to find another clean diaper and one of his stuffed animals, Puppy Dog (a black dog). When I returned, Jared was explaining drip torches to Beren as they colored in the fuel tank. "It's like the grill lighter," I added.

I wrapped a clean diaper around Puppy Dog's knee, and began a puppet show. "I DON'T LIKE THIS THING ON MY KNEE!" said Puppy Dog. "Oh please, Puppy Dog," I begged. "NO. NO NO NO NO!" replied the uncooperative dog. Beren giggled. I tossed the diaper. "GET THIS OILY DIAPER OUT OF HERE!" said Puppy Dog. Beren shook with laughter. Jared and I did, too. I continued for awhile, the three of us enjoying a loose moment.

"Oh, Puppy Dog, your knee hurts. It's making you sad. You can't play like you want to," I began to cry. Swallowing, I continued, "Oh, Puppy Dog, I think this will help your knee." "Oh, ok," replied Puppy Dog.

Jared carefully and easily placed the oil-soaked diaper on the most swollen part of Beren's knee. He began to draw a drip torch on the fraying cloth with an orange marker. "Ok, here's the fuel tank. Of course, you need the wand. Then, there's the flame..." I silently left the room. When the diaper cooled, Beren tossed it away. "All done," He said.

I washed his knee with soap and baking soda as one book described. Of course, I burned his foot again because the water was too hot. Two strikes, Momma.

My Mom again came over, this time so Jared and I could load up the trailer for a farmer's market on Saturday. They played with glee, in one spot, until Beren attempted to leap over his toy owl (which was a hand me down from me). "He's getting better, but needs to be reminded to go slow," I thought.

His mobility increased throughout the day, until he tired at the end of the day. His cheer was without end, mostly. Just before dinner, I convinced him to get in his stroller. We stopped in the garden and gathered catnip and oats for a bath. He wanted to walk through the oats, but instead fell down and whimpered.

In the tub, he drank the bathwater, as I hoped he would. His plastic animal figurines and leftovers containers swirled around with a clump of herbs that would soak into and soothe his body and mind.

He sat nicely for a delicious dinner of ribs, broccoli, corn, rice, okra, and onions. Puzzles, storytime, nursing, and then to sleep.

I hope this is sleep and not 'sleep'. I really need sleep, kiddo. You do, too. So does Papa. Keep feeling better. I'll see you running in my dreams tonight.

More thanks... all family and friends for well wishes. Mom for more hours of loving attention to her grandson. Our buddy Debbie for snacks and her daughter for the loan of a couple fresh toys to play with.