Monday, September 27, 2010

Sleep Tight...

After waking up two nights in a row with some itchy bug bites, I spent a good portion of the evening yesterday vacuuming every inch of mattress and carpet in our bedroom area. I followed that with washing all the bedding in hot water. It was probably a harmless spider, but with the current bed-bug epidemic, I didn't feel like I was being too careful. Since the comforter we had been using hadn't yet made it through the washer by the time I was ready for bed, I dug through some boxes and found our comforter that had been packed away since we moved out of our house over a year ago.

It's amazing how a smell can instantly wrap you up in memory. The comforter carried the distinct, musty, old mobile-home smell of our previous house. If you hand't lived there for two years you probably would've been repulsed by the odor, but to me it was the essence of home. It smelled familiar and stable, like a happy house in the wide, beautiful Iowa cornfields that was ours once upon a time. Like a little child left in the nursery, I wrapped myself up in that blanket last night and smelled its musty, homey smell. It was sad, but it was comforting. Maybe it drove the bed bugs away too, because I didn't wake with any extra bites.

Naomi woke this morning and dressed herself cheerfully. She focused on finishing each task and was ready nearly half-an-hour before the bus came. She was chatty when she came in the door after school; happily ate a gluten-free, casein-free snack; eagerly packed her own lunch for school tomorrow; volunteered to do her homework; and played nicely with her sisters. We have had days like this before, but they have been very few, especially in the last couple of months. The Naomi of today was a far cry from the disengaged, unfocused, irritable, tantruming six year-old who has been stepping off the school bus lately.

Naomi at the Madison, WI zoo this August
 I felt like knocking on wood, or crossing my fingers, or performing some sort of ritual as I asked her casually, "So, Naomi, how's your tummy doing today?" "Fine," she chirped back as she loaded Little People on a school bus. "Any joints hurt today?" I continued, "Umm..." she thought a moment, "nope." Just as she had no reason to continually complain of stomach and joint pain for the past two months, she also had no reason to suddenly tell me today that she felt fine, except that maybe she did. Though I am reluctant to speak too soon, it seems that five days of being gluten (and casein) free has really helped Naomi and I am hopeful that we will see even more improvements. It is good to feel hopeful again, though I'm still a little wary of crawling into bed tonight.

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