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Mothers’ Ears

Based on results from a small, unscientific poll, I have decided that mothers must have ears that rival those of bats or a post-surgery Jaime Sommers.

While Matt can happily snore on, I hear every sound Simon makes at night. I will wake up when he sneezes, wake up when he coughs, wake up when he snorts, and wake up for his pre-cry whimpers. It’s crazy.

And it reminds me of an essay I read years ago in a German class about “der angst” of the small animals, the gist of which is that mice and rabbits sleep lightly, and then for only a few minutes at a stretch, lest they be swept up by a predator before trying to escape. I now look at the rabbits in my back yard with much more sympathy. They must be so tired all the time!

My super-light sleeping also reminds me of a favorite family story. Years ago, before my brother Perry was of drinking age, he came home in the wee hours of the morning with a friend. They had pizza and beer, and as they carried their snack into the basement, two bottles made the tiniest of clicks as they touched each other.

This should not have been cause for alarm. And yet my mother–a woman who can sleep through trains and did sleep through the evening news and the 11:30 rerun of MASH every night when I was in high school–immediately awoke and asked, “Perry, are you with Joey? Do you have beer with you?” And there poor Perry was, pizza in hand, busted by a sound that no normal waking human would ever hear–much less a sleeping one.

I now understand whence come the bionic ears. It’s a mother thing that my mom hung on to for an extra 44 years or so. Which is kinda cool, except it means I may be sleeping like mice and rabbits for the rest of my life while Matt snores on.

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