"Momma, I don't feel good." the middle child moans. I feel her head, normal, and ask her whats wrong. "Stomach." I send her to lay down in hopes that a little rest will help whatever ails her. When checking on her I see that the barrel bolt installed to deter her brother is not teen proof as she is laying in our bed.
Our room is not large. Aside from the king sized bed and bedside tables there is an armour that contains a television. There is no room for anything else. We have made our little section of the house cozy and warm, a retreat for ourselves. I think our children appreciate the effort being that is the spot they prefer to "hang out".
I am bathing Connor a short while later when I hear "Mom, can you come here?"
"What's wrong sweetie?" I yell from the bathroom.
"Mom, I need you now!"
I am now panicky and turn this way and that. I can't leave him in the tub by himself! My daughter needs me! "Melody can you come sit with your brother for a minute?"
Melody comes to my rescue and I run to my room to see what is so urgent. She is on her side in a fetal position on her Daddy's side of the bed. Her face is white and sweaty, a bowl of sick by her side. I take the bowl away and return with another receptacle, washcloths, and a glass of water. I place a cool washcloth on the back of her neck and try to persuade her to try some alka-seltzer. She is willing to try anything with her stomach hurting so bad, but she can't do it. The taste makes her gag although I only put in one tablet.
I return to the bathroom and get Connor dried off and dressed for bed. Finding my bedroom door is wide open he climbs in bed next to his sister and the oldest climbs in next to him. All three of them snuggle up in the bed and watch a movie together and I take the chance to dash off to the corner store to get some Pepto.
I am dressed in my nightshirt which I have tucked into a pair a sweats with a heavy jacket over top. My main objective is to get the medicine as quickly as possible and get back with out drawing any attention to myself. I place the bottle on the counter and am greeted by a cashier that has now decided to use me a exhibit A for her case "See I told you some stomach bug was going around!" she tells the other cashiers. Five minutes later of them recounting their symptoms and who else has been eating pepto tablets like candy with me holding my cash out to them to try and pay for the stuff I was finally able to get back home.
The fresh receptacle is quickly filled with the same bubblegum pink of the Pepto, so I decide to not medicate anymore and try to let it run it's course. A short while later she informs me she is going to her own bed and is looking like she has a bit more color to her face. The oldest then leaves the bedroom to take a shower and go to bed, leaving the boy in the room by himself.
I go in to see what as been left behind and see that Connor has taken his diaper off and has laid it on Daddy's side of the bed. It is wet and not suitable to touch his skin, which is a new development. I take the old one and come in to put a new one on. I give him a few minutes warning that we will soon be going to bed in our own room which causes him snuggle in even further. When the minutes are over I come back in to find him asleep, with yet another diaper wet and discarded. I grab another, put it on him and carry him to bed. Zipping up his sleeping bag that he has to have on his mattress, I am rewarded with a sleepy smile and a kiss before he folds his hands under his cheek.
I recount the events to their father as we turn in for the night.
"Why do they always want to be in our bed?"
"Because they find comfort in it." I explain.
He looks at me like I had just answered him in Greek. It comes to mind that I would never want to be in my mother's or any of my stepfathers' room and he probably felt the same about his dad and stepmother's room. Feeling that the subject may get too serious and I might never get any sleep I take an escape route. "Obviously we don't call them names or beat them enough."