Friday, November 8, 2019

How Not To Dad: Episode 10 - Prey At Dawn

    My wife and I lay in bed facing each other.  It’s just past 4 a.m.  Our eyes are mostly closed.  We peek at each other from time to time. 
    A line from Jurassic Park is rolling through my head, and I will the thought towards my wife.  I hope she has the psychic ability to pick up on the message.  
    She can’t see us if we don’t move.
    That’s the line from the movie, as the T-Rex is sweeping the scene for hints of the presence of Dr. Alan Grant, Lex, and Tim after it has destroyed the Jeep.  
    On this night a fourteen month old baby is the roving monster.  She’d awakened screaming in the middle of the night, her nose running and her chest slightly congested.  My wife volunteered me to go get her so I crept through the house to her room, opened her door, and lifted her out of the crib.  
    Nikki had whispered to me as I’d exited our room “Don’t talk to her when you go in.  Just pick her up and bring her in here.”  That may sound mean, but it’s the only way to hold on to the thin veil of sleepiness that the baby is still clinging to.  If we were to talk to her or turn on the light everything would be ruined.  Once we were in bed and she had been laid comfortably between us, we couldn’t open our eyes. She had to believe we’d gone back to sleep or she’d be awake, and nothing would stop her from keeping us awake.  The illusion would be destroyed.   
    That was the theory, anyway, and a damn good one it was.  It has worked in the past.  This morning, though, Abby didn’t want to go back to sleep.  It seems she’s gotten smarter.
    Clever girl…
    I crack my eyelids to take a peek.  The room is dark, but my eyes have adjusted and indirect light has softened the shadows just enough so I can see the silhouette of my daughter.  She sits on the bed, looking from me to her mom, waiting on one of us to break.  
    We’re being hunted…
    She leans in towards her mom, her face mere inches away.  I can see Nikki’s eyelids twitching.  Hold it, I think.  Be strong.
    The baby raises her hand and swings.  It connects with Nikki’s cheek, and a little smack! breaks the silence of the room.  Nikki flinches slightly, but her eyes remain closed.  
    I stifle a laugh and that draws attention to me.  I might as well be waving a road flare.
    The dark silhouette shifts, and is now hovering over my face.  
    “Dah!” The baby blurts, and slaps my face.
    I bite my lip.  The slap doesn’t hurt, but it’s funny as hell that we’ve come to this.  
    Go to sleep! 
    This time I’m trying to psychically link up to my daughter.  As expected, it works about as well as a squirt gun putting out a house fire.
    In the end it took about thirty minutes of pretending to sleep (and, indeed, being half asleep) to get the baby to give up.  She eventually eased her head down onto the pillow between us and grew still.  It didn’t exactly stop there, though.  There was one last act of defiance left in her, performed while she was asleep. She wormed her way around and ended up sleeping horizontally across the bed, her feet in my back and her head pushing Nikki’s back.  We clung to the cliff edges for the remainder of the night, balancing precariously on the edges of the bed, while our daughter slept comfortably between us.

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