There's something desperately sweet and eerily vulnerable about watching your 4-year-old sleepwalk; with that strange vacant look in her eyes and a slight smile on her lips. I'm afraid to wake her, mostly because I just want to keep watching her. As she moves into the kitchen, straight for the snack cupboard, it's as though I'm not in the room. She has to yank again and again at the cupboard door because a 10-lb bag of potatoes is leaning against it, preventing it from opening. When I reach in to help, she stares blankly at me; aware I'm there for the first time. She pauses for a moment to weigh up her options before grabbing a big unopened bag of nacho chips, and places it on the counter while grabbing a glass. I continue washing eggs at the sink while watching her move easily around the kitchen. She fills up her glass with water at the cooler, drinks it down, and proceeds back to the counter.
And, then, instead of grabbing the chips as I expect, she reaches for the waist of her pyjamas, pulls the bottoms off, and puts them on the countertop. And is now standing bare bottomed in the middle of the kitchen.
And for the very first time, seems disoriented and not sure what to do next.
That vulnerability strikes me, and I scoop her and her pyjama bottoms up and carry her safely back to bed.