Sometimes It Stings

Mondays are always a bit much.

Eric has class directly after work and isn't home until late. So that means Jackson and I have the evening to ourselves.

Which I love, but it can be a bit much.

Like: How do I run to get the phone when he is in the bath? How do I run to the bathroom when he is playing in the living room? How do I feed the dog and scoop a wet baby out of the tub and drain the water and pick up the bath toys and empty the dishwasher and put the dirty dishes in the dishwasher and.....

Of course, all of this is managable with a little thought and organization and/or put on hold until after bedtime when I have time to reflect and be amazed at how single parents do all of this.

Last night was fun as usual. Jackson and I played with cups and spoons. And we went for a walk in his little red wagon. Then it was time to collect a few acorns. And then he enjoyed a lengthy bath where he rubbed soap on his arms and sang "row, row, row" for my friend on the phone.

He fell asleep in my arms and was just as delectable a baby as ever.

And then an hour later I heard him rouse. His soft whimpers got louder and I went in to soothe him back to sleep. After a few rocks, his cries turned to shrieks. I had never heard him make such sounds.

Those cries sting. I know it sounds dramatic, but is truly the only way to describe it. They sting your skin. It feels like the cries are burning me. When I hear them from his crib, it's like they hum and vibrate into my core. Zinging.

On nights where he has woken up crying, the cries are pointed and sharp and they zing out of the nursery across the hall and into my skin. My eyes fly open and it is instantly as if I have been awake for hours.

I am ready to pounce on whatever mammoth has entered the cave.

But last night, I could not find the mammoth. No fever. No hurts anywhere. Just cries.

When the cries peaked, we finally switched on the light and began to inspect.


We gave him cool water. Soothed. Sang. And brought him to bed with us.

My only guess: teething. Those molars are like dull, porcelain, mammoths pressing against gum. A dose of Tylenol and an hour of cuddles later, Jackson was convinced to go back to sleep.

Something so minor.

A tooth.

Yet, it stings no less.

And this morning?
Right as rain. A happy boy.
Probably wondering why his mama looks so tired.


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Eli Fletcher Copley