scooting and falling down and no sleep

Our son has a differently philosophy to baby life than his big sister. At nine months, he has six teeth, eats a lot of real food, scoots around, stands up, falls down, stands up, falls down, cries and cries. At nine months, his sister not really eaten even baby food yet, was getting her first tooth, had just started to push herself backwards after months of happy sitting and rarely cried.

I marvel at how different BT’s life is from his sister’s. This is the sort of comment that, if I said it at lunch at work, would draw nothing but blank stares. Duh. Obvious.

Maybe it is that NK was a baby in a Victorian house in a small town in upstate New York, and BT is a baby in a tiny apartment in Stockholm.

Maybe it is that I have been awake half the night holding him with his little legs crawling in his sleep. So I have time to think all this over, or sort of think it over, well, more like vaguely consider it before I trip over a toy in the dark.

The sleep deprivation – and a recent wave of family illness – are sneaking up on me too. I get by on shockingly little sleep now. I used to be a nine hour a night guy. Now I sail by on five or six – and choppy sleep at that, broken up by lifting toddlers to her mother, hugging squirming babies.

But I can tell. Not at work. And not with the kids, as I have controlled a slightly fraying temper (didn’t want to end up in a New York Times story on yelling …)

No, I have a different problem. I can’t read a book. This particular book. I reallly want to read it – The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann – for a lot of reasons. But there is a hitch. It is set in a tuberculosis sanitorium in the Alps. So, basically, everyone in the book has consumption, feverish, coughing, pre-antibiotic fatal consumption. And I can not get my head around it; reading each page makes my head spin and my stomach tingle. I do not want to think about TB.

I am not usually afraid of illness either, though have had these attacks a couple other times – curled up in the fetal position on a gym floor during an anorexia movie in the 9th grade, or paralyzed in a chair 14 years ago in Chicago when a roommate told us all that he had diabetes.

No, it has to be the sleep. I may just have to put the book down and start reading magazines. Just nothing medical …


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