09/24/2009 By Shawn Burns

Adrian had a wheeze, so I took him to the vet. The vet said “Hey, this is a baby,” and made me go home. But hey, free cat treats.

Adrian was wheezy, so I took him to a deluxe apartment in the sky. It had no air conditioning though, and it was too hot at night, so I went home. But hey, free Sherman Hemsley reference.

Adrian coughed and wheezed, so I took him to the pediatrician who apparently vaporized some “medication” and blew it in his face. This seemed awesome, so we got a machine and some “medication” and brought it home. And hey, free illicit drug reference.

Erin has been trying to figure out how to further destroy the carpet in our apartment. Step one: lie about not having to pee so that we’ll let her wear underwear. Step two: surely you can figure out step two.

The sign for “urinate” is the same as the sign for the letter “p”, but you touch the middle finger of the signing hand to the tip of your nose and then, for dramatic effect, inflate your cheeks to imitate a full bladder. Erin loves to make the sign while she’s on the potty because it’s ridiculous. It’s not as ridiculous as step two, though.

Just as we had started to hope that Adrian would sleep all night he caught a cold that Emily and Erin also caught, but that I somehow escaped. I cough in sympathy with him. The nebulizer with its Albuterol mist helps with his wheeze, but doesn’t really do much for his cough, which awakens him throughout the night. Each night only half of the family is getting continuous sleep.

It has been even more sleepless, it seems, than when Adrian was merely a squalling infant. At least then it was usually predictable wakefulness, and our bodies grew accustomed. Bushy-tailed sickness, though, is intolerable and crazy-making.

School has begun again, and I have to be able to focus my eyes enough to read text on a page and think thoughts in my head. I feel like I’ve been holding my breath all summer long, waiting for this fourth, most destructive year of doctoral work, to begin.

Suddenly, last night Adrian slept nearly without waking from 7pm until 6:30am. He muttered himself awake twice in the early morning but a pacifier did the trick in about six seconds each time.

And in the morning when Erin awoke her diaper was dry and she used the tiny toilet seat attachment on the not-tiny toilet with great success and much fanfare. After putting her “mister cricrebible” underwear on in the secure knowledge that she had completed her morning constitutional I left her in the living room so I might dress myself for daycare drop-off. And she step two’d on the couch. I thought about bringing her to the vet.

I’ve never before received quite the look the pharmacist directed at me when I strolled up to his window with utter confidence and requested that he fill my infant son’s prescription for Aderol. The actual prescription for Albuterol made much more sense to him, because despite Adrian’s inability to focus on the end of his nose for more than a second at a time we’re all pretty sure he doesn’t yet have ADHD.

Emily attributes Adrian’s unusually long sleep to the vaccinations he received that day. She’s the light of my life, the light of reason, the light at the end of the optimism tunnel that turns out to be the Truth Train rushing at your head. I had briefly considered our sleepless torment ended.

I’m a little tired.