"Sometimes when I wake up, my mouth goes back to sleep." It was weeks ago Kathryn told me this. I paid it about as much attention as I pay to most of the nonsense she says.
It's impossible for the human mind to pay attention to all of the words that come out of a child's mouth. To try would be to court insanity. Court it, marry it, and raise children with it. So sometimes it's not until weeks after an utterance is made that its import comes to you. And kicks you in the face.
Kathryn awoke hours early this morning and crawled into bed with me. She put my arm around her, curled up against my chest, and fell back to sleep, and by sleep I mean beat the crap out of me. A sleeping Kathryn could power a city. Boise, perhaps. She is a marvel of kinetic energy, arms and legs twitching, starting, quivering, flailing. Bruising. Sound asleep, the girl spins around so much, all she is missing is an "air fluff" setting and she could be a clothes dryer.
This morning, as the hours of night gave way to day, Kathryn woke up once or twice, pulled my arm tighter around her--exposing my soft underbelly to her assault--and then drifted back to her pummeling sleep.
When she finally woke up for keeps, she sat bolt upright in my bed and I got to watch her have a seizure.
Twelve years ago, when I lived in Japan, I had a secret desire to experience an earthquake. I wanted to know what it felt like. So when one finally happened, here's what I learned: They feel wrong. They fill you with the overwhelming feeling that something wrong is happening, something that shouldn't be possible. Things--walls, beds, floors--behave in ways that they shouldn't, in ways in which they've never behaved before. That's what watching a seizure is like.
Her jaw locked open and her face shook. Her eyes rolled. Way back in her throat, her tongue clicked. She looked like a person trying to perform some Herculean feat, shaking with the exertion of lifting a boulder or willing something to explode with the power of her mind. It lasted for all of fifteen seconds, about as long as that long-ago earthquake, and then it ended. Kathryn's eyes came back forward, she gave a long blink, and her hand reached up to wipe away the two lines of spit making their way from the corners of her mouth to her chin. Her first words were too slurred to be understood, so she paused, swallowed, and repeated them.
"That's why I keep tissues next to my bed. Because sometimes my mouth goes back to sleep."