As I have said before, I don’t like getting woken up in the middle of the night. It makes me grumpy. I spend an unfortunate amount of time being grumpy. Fortunately for my family, I’ve learned ways to present my grumpiness with a bit of lighthearted humor. To take the edge off.
Since we are both off work this week, my husband and I have been trying to finish the remodeling project we started nearly two years ago when we gutted our bedroom and bath of everything – including drywall and insulation. We had gotten the project to the point where we just needed flooring and baseboards in both rooms. Oh, and door frames. And new lighting and a heater in the bathroom. And a mirror. And the attic access needs to be trimmed. And it’d be nice to have handles and locks on the sliding doors. Oh, and I guess it’d be nice to have a vanity actually attached to the wall with a working sink on it. And then I decided that I really couldn’t live with the ugly metal window in the bathroom after all.
Needless to say, we’ve been working very hard and going to bed exhausted all week. I’m still usually a light sleeper, though. So, two nights ago, I was awakened suddenly by my boys’ bedroom door opening. I tensed and waited, praying that I’d hear the toilet lid go up rather than hear the shuffle of feet approaching my bed.
I didn’t hear the toilet lid. Or the shuffling feet. Or any other noises. I strained my ears to try to hear what was going on. I glanced out to the hallway to confirm their door was indeed open. I thought I heard whispering. Were they both up? What was going on? Then I heard the dog move, more excited whispering, verging on giggling, feet moving hurriedly back down the hall.
As I reached for my phone to see what time it was (12:30am), I knocked it off the table to the floor. A shadowy form paused at their bedroom door briefly before closing it. I laid there tense before realizing I wouldn’t be able to go back to sleep soon. I got up and peeked through the crack by their door. (Another project, don’t ask). I saw and heard nothing. I took the opportunity to use the bathroom. I laid back down and wondered why I had had children as I waited impatiently for sleep to reclaim me.
The next day, I asked them why they had gotten up in the middle of the night.
“Oh,” said Daryl, semi-evasively, “I was just using the bathroom.”
“No you weren’t. I never heard you switch on the light. Never heard the toilet lid go up. Never heard it flush. I did, however, hear whispering, which means Hal was with you. What were you doing?”
“Bubba was going to go to the computer so we could play a game!” said Hal, with a fair amount of 5-year-old glee.
Daryl looked at me with a sheepish smile and tried to shake his head in a weak denial.
“But you didn’t. Why not?”
“Because Rose woke up and I was afraid she’d wake you up and get us in trouble, so we hurried back to bed.”
“Ok, Daryl,” I said, “I’m a ridiculously light sleeper. You can’t even open your door without waking me up. And I really don’t like being woken up. So please, please don’t leave your room unless it’s to go pee. Ok?”
The next night, Hal reminded me that sometimes I really am so tired that opening their door does not wake me. Those nights are the worst. Those are the nights where you are deep in a blissful slumber and are ever so slowly roused from that slumber by the realization that there is a child crawling on top of you. Those are the worst because you can still sense the wonderfulness of that sleep you were in and are coming to realize that it is all over and you will be forced awake.
“Hal, what are you doing?!”
“I need to go potty!”
“Well, then go potty!” This is where the grumpiness comes in. I was so dead to the world that he could have walked down to the hall bathroom, as he has done many times before, without waking me at all – for once. But this time, this time, he felt the need to come tell me first.
“I don’t want to walk down there.”
“Well, it’s either that or pee in my bed and I don’t want you doing that!” I threw off my covers and stalked down the hall, flipped on the light, and tried to stay in the hall in the vain hope that not exposing myself to the bright lights would make it easier to go back to sleep.
He entered the room, lifted the seat, and began to pee. I stood in the hallway thinking about little boys and how they often pee when not very awake. With a sigh, I turned to look in the bathroom. His stream was disturbingly horizontal. I wasn’t sure whether he was hitting the bowl or the underside of the raised seat.
Alarmed, and too tired to consider the consequences, I said, “Point it down!”
This startled him, causing him to jump and bump the toilet. The lid and seat, which need to be tightened, fell closed. He continued to pee.
“Stop! Stop! Wait!” I yelled as I rushed into the room to raise the seat. And then I headed to the kitchen for the cleaner and paper towels so I could clean the mess I had helped make while he returned to bed. When I crawled back into mine, beside the husband who never wakes, I tried not to think about how good my sleep had felt before it was interrupted or how tired I’d be come morning. I just tried to remember how much I really do love that kid.