This morning at 4:40 a.m. there was a thunderclap so loud it woke me from my sleep and rattled the windows of our house. I had to go check on Emma to make sure she wasn't all freaked out. It was sort of a preemptive checkup since I felt fairly certain that if I DIDN'T check on her, I could expect to be startled awake, her form almost invisibly silhouetted against the wan light of the storm-dark morning to a gentle nudge and a whispered, "Daddy, I'm scared." fifteen minutes later.
She was awake and scared when I arrived, but not crying, which was a good sign, and I stayed at her bedside until the thunder was less frequent, counting the seconds between lightning and thunder so she could tell that it was moving further and further away. When it got to about 15 seconds I told her I was going back to bed.
A few minutes later I heard Lily quietly stirring over the monitor and went to check on her. Lily does not typically go back to sleep once awakened, at least not once awakened after having several hours of sleep, so I was reluctant to check on her. But because we're still fighting a particularly long battle to get her potty trained, and because when left unattended but awake in her room after an evenings rest we almost always LOSE that battle, I entered her room briskly but silently, preparing for soggy jammies and bedding.
I don't know if it was the thunder, or my sudden appearance at her bedside that startled her, but her eyes were WIDE open and she looked up at me and said quietly, "Funder scary." This elicited a reflexive "awww" from me as I picked her up and checked her, cradling her as I lifted her to me. She was dry, bless her little heart, and I draped her over my shoulder and swept her into the bathroom where I put her on the potty, saying quietly "time for Potty, Lily, then back to sleep," before waiting wordlessly in the hall for the tell-tale trickle. I brought her back to her bed and settled her in as noiselessly and calmly as I could, telling her the thunder was alllllll over and that it was time to go back to sleep, hoping my gentle movements and quiet voice were calm and soothing enough that she would settle back into bed and slumber.
I went back to my own bed and slept until about 5:30, when my wife woke me with a gentle backscratch, and I, at length, made my way on sleep stiffened joints to the bathroom to prepare for my shower. In her bedroom down the hall, Emma had fallen back asleep almost the moment I'd left her, but I found Lily in our bed when I got out of my shower at 5:45. . . apparently she never really made it back to sleep, but my wife buried the monitor so it wouldn't keep me awake (since she was spending the day with her at home).
We're very fortunate that Lily sleeps as well as she does, but her early wakeups always seem to line up with nights where i've elected to stay up a little later taking care of something. (um. . . there was an MMA bout on. . . then I copied a couple DVD's. . . made lunches for the kids. . . important stuff). So my 1 o'clock bedtime, coupled with my 5:30 a.m. wakeup broken by anxious children left me with a scant 4+ hours of sleep. I should know better. I'll wake up at work with the buttons of my keyboard imprinted in the side of my face sometime this afternoon around 2:30, "QWERTY" it will say in mirrored text. Stupid "funder".