This morning at 5am I woke to Owen crying from his bed. As usual, I watched him on the monitor and waited to see if it was going to be a few minutes of confused crying, as sometimes happens at night for various reasons, or if he was actually awake and needed Benjamin or I to come in.
He sat up and cried hard and started saying something I couldn’t quite understand. Finally, I heard it. “Mooooommmmmmyyyyyy, I have a ear ninfection.”.
I remember so clearly when he was a baby, especially when he was sick, and I would ache for the day that he could literally tell me THIS IS WHAT HURTS. As soon as I understood what he was saying, a floor of relief washed over me. He’s probably right (and he’s been right before about this exact thing). He’s had the same chest cold/congestion going on that I have, and given his history with ear infections (um, that he gets one every. single. gosh. darn. time. he. gets. sick.), he probably does have one.
Benjamin got up and comforted him and tried to encourage him to go back to sleep. I got up and showered for work, knowing that we weren’t going to make it to 6:30am when his OK to Wake clock tells him it’s time to wake up.
Since I knew exactly what was wrong, I knew exactly what to do. Cuddles. Ibuprofen. Promise of a doctor’s appointment to see if it’s bad enough to get “pink medicine”. Owen’s tears dried quickly and although he was in too much pain to go back to sleep, we had a really nice morning before I had to leave for work. SO MUCH EASIER than if he had just woken up at 5 crying, and I would have assumed he was just… waking up early. And I would have been annoyed when I woke him up. And we would have started the day on a very different foot.
So, in some ways, we’re there. To that elusive place I wished we would be before Owen had the words and self-awareness to tell me when and where his body hurts when it is sick. That, my friends, is a beautiful thing. ESPECIALLY when we’re about to start all over from scratch with a new little screaming, crying creature who can’t tell me what he wants for 3 more years.