Thursday, September 1, 2011

So They All Rolled Over And One Fell Out

The first day of school was approaching and we had done precious little to make summer vacation fun for the boys (Evie's was the best of her life, of course) so I decided to pitch the tent in the backyard.

We have two 4-man tents that connect with a little tunnel. Perfect. A tent for me, Greg and Spencer, and one for David, Aaron and Ev. The kids "helped" me set them up and after spending only about one hour and 45 trips in and out of the house, we each had a place set up to sleep (which is the only thing I wanted to do after that ordeal).

We had a party, laughed hysterically and ate candy. We joked about where the starburst that got lost among the bedding would wind up in the morning. With stomachs aching from giggling and sugar overdose, we settled in for the night.

I knew from the beginning that it might be tricky with Spencer. At 20 months old he really just needs a crib. But he was excited about sleeping in the tent and drifted to sleep after only crawling away (usually to the kids' tent) 2 or 3 times.

Before bed I told the kids to make sure they were comfortable and to please, please wake me up if they got cold during the night. (remember, I'm a sleep nazi, meaning I fight for quality sleep for everyone. :)

At about 2:30 am Evie crawls into our tent and says she needs another blanket. I get up and spread one over her. I crawl further in and make sure the boys are warm, feeling in the dark under their blankets to make sure their legs feel toasty. They're cuddled close together and I check one leg, Aaron's, I think. It's warm but there is another leg outside of the blankets. It's a little cold, but not too bad, and I can tell I can't get the leg out from under the blanket and tucked away without a lot of effort and possibly waking kids up, so I leave David to cover himself up when he needs to and go back to my bed, revelling in the thought of spending another 10 minutes finding a position that doesn't KILL my hips.

But first I peek over at Spence. I can make out that there's no head on his pillow and his blanket is pushed down. I don't see him. He must have gotten turned around. I pat around. I don't feel him. Huh. I lift his blanket, and feel around the corner of the tent. He's not there. What on Earth?

I check all around my "bed". Oh! He must have ended up with Greg. Maybe he was fussing and Greg took him? (fussing that wakes Greg and not me? Yeah, right). He's not there. He's nowhere. Greg wakes up from me feeling around him and I tell him the deal and crawl into the other tent to search there. I do a thorough search. He's not there.

A tiny bit of panic starts up as I keep searching, but then I laugh. A tent is a place you can lose a Starburst, but not a child. Still, flashes of scenes from news coverage of children taken from under their parent's noses in the night flash through my mind.

But no way. I'm shocked that Spence could even have moved in the night without me waking to make sure he stayed covered, so the thought of someone unzipping the tent without waking me? Impossible.

The ONLY other possibility is if he was atomized and taken through the wall of the tent. While this could certainly have happened, I feel that we are (almost, but) not quite white trash interesting enough to be singled out by alien life forms for investigation.

Just as I'm assuring myself that it couldn't have been an intergalactic kidnapping Evie whispers, "Here he is!" I go rushing into her tent and she's pointing to the boys. But I already checked there.

I get closer and feel around a little and then I can just make out that Spencer is lying there in between and on top of David and Aaron. He's lying out straight, flat on his stomach (and on Dave and Aaron's arms and legs) with his face under Aaron's pillow. He is fast asleep, just like his brothers.

What a relief. And I couldn't have hoped to find him in a better place. I tucked Spence back in his own bed and made sure everyone was covered one last time before turning to my own bed, where it took 45 minutes, not 10, to get comfortable, but I had plenty to think of after that mini adventure and its happy ending.

Like, for example, that the not-warm leg I'd felt belonged to Spencer, not David, and I couldn't tell the difference. And also, that occasionally a mom's idea of quality sleep: in your own bed with proper covering and a parent nearby to keep an eye on you, might differ greatly from a baby's idea: to sleep squeezed on top of two brothers with no covering at all. Quality. It's so relative.


Carolyn V said...

That would terrify me not to find one of my children. I'm so glad it ended happy. =)



MelancholySmile said...

I can relate after our recent camping adventures! Having a baby sleep in a tent isn't always easy, but it's certainly memorable. :)

AndyPandyJackaDandy said...

This is so great! Some of my happiest mom moments are seeing that my boys have snuck into each other's beds in the night and are wrapped around each other.

AND, I totally would have panicked. And not slept well. I love campingas a selfish adult. I am trying to figure it out with small children.

Melanie Jacobson said...

We don't camp. Kenny says he got a good job so he doesn't have to sleep on the dirt. Then he got called as the scout leader.


Kazzy said...

How sweet that your baby wanted to be with the big guys. I felt your panic for a few minutes.

Liz said...

How sweet that he made it all the way over there - and didn't even wake his brothers up when he plopped on top of them. Love it.

Susan said...

I was feeling all your emotions with you, pretty much exactly. Thanks for the story.