Cian doesn’t sleep at night. He climbs into the spare twin bed in Quinlan’s room because he, the third-born child, is frightened to be alone. He cries for another hug, for another nightlight, for another drink of water. At eleven o’clock, he comes into our room. At one o’clock, he comes in again. At three o’clock, he’ll appear once more, but we’ll be too tired to notice, so in a few hours we wake for the day to find his little, long form in the bed with us, wedged in between our bodies, one hand resting on a parent’s shoulder.
He doesn’t sleep. Which means we don’t, either.
And then, then, after a full day of preschool and playing and chasing Riley around the house, at four-thirty in the evening, when we drive over to the school to pick the girls up from their Lego and creative writing clubs, he talks nonstop. He points out the clouds, and the cars, and asks me if skeletons have teeth. He chats about his classmates, and about Dino Trux, and if Riley’s a girl or a boy dog and how, exactly, she poops and pees. And then, as we sit at the light that’s directly outside his sisters’ school, I glance back to see that he’s fallen asleep. Of course he has.I wait for him to wake up, so that we can start all over again.