I spent Saturday night in bed with Five. He had lain on the couch for most of the day, complaining of stomach pain and a headache. I felt his forehead, examined his pale, wan body (which is always pale, but rarely wan), and noticed excessive swelling on his arm. Ah ha! He had gone for his yearly physical on Friday, and received his flu shot. His aches and pains were a reaction to the vaccine. He developed a fever during dinner, and went to bed shortly afterward. I gave him a Tums and rubbed his back. He fell asleep within ten minutes, and rose thirty minutes later.
Five is a sleepwalker.
Our first experiences with this behavior were much more frightening. Five would come running, terrified, out of his room. I would grab him and try to get him to recognize me, but he was locked in a nightmare. I could feel his heart racing, and there was nothing I could do to calm him down. Eventually, I would carry him back to bed, and spend the night working to keep him in it.
The night terrors have subsided, and now the sleepwalking only occurs when he is ill. It still takes me a minute to recognize it. His first time out of bed last night, he came and found me in the kitchen. He didn't say anything when I asked if he was okay, so I took him to the bathroom and back to bed. He was up again in an hour. The Captain got him that time, and they had a brief conversation.
"You have to pick up the pieces."
"But they're really small. And they're everywhere."
"Okay, Five, we'll get them in the morning."
"But they're small."
That's when I climbed in bed with him. Later that night he told me, "They were right about the tree." And twice he woke up and said, "I'm scared." Then he would roll over and wrap his arms around mine, clutching me to him. I was in Four's bed, which you may recall is pushed next to Five's, but not flush. I draped my body across the five inch gap between the mattresses, laying on my outstretched arm for most of the night, because my baby needed me.
I joke about how dramatic Five is, and impossible to please. But the truth is, he's just honest. When he tells me "school is torture, Mom, six-and-a-half hours of torture," that's how he feels right at that moment. I appreciate that he shares his feelings, because that emotional candor doesn't age well. I have no idea what's going on with Two most of the time. I imagine all is well in his world, but he doesn't divulge details. I get a little more information from Three, but I think he only shares it to get ahead of any potential negative fall-out.
The teenagers don't ask me for help with anything other than homework. The other day Two was sick, and he asked if his girlfriend could come over.
"No, Two. It would be rude to share your germs."
"I don't want to make-out; I just want her to comfort me."
I've been officially replaced.
I know this is part of growing up. The boys have to learn to negotiate their way through life. But it's exactly at this point in their lives that I could be their greatest resource. I remember my teen years acutely. I've made more mistakes than I hope they ever will. I want to help them make the right decisions.
But Five is the only one reaching for me in the dark.