It was a dark and stormy night and, as is the case several times a night, I was coaxing (read: nursing) Phoebe back to sleep, drifting in and out of sleepy, myself, when I heard a distinct rap-rap-rapping that yanked me into a state of being very wide awake.
It had sounded as if someone had been tapping the window right above my head.
It was impossible...
We're on the second floor.
Perhaps some animal...
But, no. It was a distinctly human pattern of knocking: rap, rap, rap.
It was impossible...
And yet I heard what I heard.
I reached over, shook Andrew, and whispered, "Did you hear that?!"
"What?" he mumbled.
"Someone was knocking on the..."
I was interrupted by a second set of knockings, this time a little more muffled, this time obviously coming from behind the bedroom door, this time obviously accompanied by the stifled sniffles of a child scared by the storm.
"...Oh! It's only Alex!"
I breathed a huge sigh of relief and willed my heart to stop galloping so furiously.
"Andrew, Andrew, wake up. Can you help Alex? I've got Phoebe here."
So, Andrew went to tend to Alex and I continued to convince Phoebe that it was sleeping time (she is ever skeptical about that). While I was waiting for Andrew to settle Alexander, my ankles reminded me that I had neglected them during some outdoor escapade and they had been viciously attacked by mosquitoes. The itched terribly. But, I didn't want to disturb Phoebe, so I waited for Andrew to return and whispered, "Can you grab me some anti-itch cream, please? My feet are so itchy I can hardly stand it!"
He retreated back into the hallway, pulling the door closed so the light wouldn't shine in on Phoebe (who would have been attracted to light like a playful moth—it's awake time?!). He rifled through the first aid supplies, turned off the light, and made his way back to our bed, handing me a tube.
I squirted some stuff out and rubbed it liberally on my ankles, then waited for it to soothe my itching.
I have to admit that I'm not a firm believer in anti-itch cream in the first place. I am never sure if the itching stops because of sheer will power or because of the cream. Like, don't bites usually stop itching if you pointedly forget about them and then start itching again when you bump them or otherwise bring them back to your mind? Does the cream actually help?
I don't know, because I've never been able to put the cream on without telling myself to stop scratching and ignore them.
So I stopped scratching and ignored them and eventually fell back asleep, so evidently they stopped itching long enough for me to do that.
The next day, my bites were bothering me again, so I went to retrieve the anti-itch cream from my nightstand (since I knew I hadn't put it away yet...guilty as charged) and laughed when I discovered that it was bacitracin cream, not hydrocortisone!
So the jury is still out over whether that anti-itch cream works.