Who Woke Whom?

I really miss my sleep.  I do.

I got to bed just a little bit late last night, around 11:00.  I was nicely and deeply asleep by 2:00.  I know this because I was rudely awakened by a door opening.  I glanced at our door and saw light shining through the cracks.  I lay quietly and waited for the child, whoever it was, to reveal his or her intention (and thus my obligation) by either flushing the toilet and returning to bed (I go back to sleep), making loud vomiting noises or calling out for help (I wake up my husband), or making no sounds at all (I have to get up and investigate).

The last is the worst and, of course, is what I got.  Nothing but silence and light shining under the door.  With a sigh as I felt the last vestige of heavy sleep leave my eyes, I threw off the covers and checked the time.  2:00.

As I opened our door, I was surprised to see that the lights in the hallway, boys’ bedroom, living room, and dining room were all on.  I stepped into the boys’ room and didn’t see Daryl.  I didn’t climb the bunk bed to see if Hal was buried among the stuffed animals.  I hurried down the hall, confused and agitated.

I rounded the corner to the kitchen (light also on) to find Daryl fully dressed for school, including shoes, and packing his lunch.

“What are you doing?!”  He jumped and turned his alarmed eyes my direction.  Before he could answer, I explained my question.  “It’s 2:00 in the morning!”

“Well I didn’t know that!” he exclaimed defensively.  “I woke up so I started getting ready.”

“That’s the beauty of an alarm clock,” I countered.  “You know it’s not time to get up until it goes off.”  Daryl had faithfully and successfully set and rose with his alarm clock every school day for the first couple weeks of school.  Since then, he’s been failing to set it and I’ve had to wake him each morning when I realize he’s not getting up.

I marched down the hall, gauging the state of wakefulness in my own body.  I knew it’d be a long while before I got back to sleep.  Just enough time to be deeply asleep again when my own alarm went off at 5:30.

I entered the boys’ room, tiptoed carefully through the hockey gear scattered over the floor to dry out, and quietly pulled the cord on the light to turn it back off.  Hopefully, Hal would sleep through the experience.  I stepped back out into the hallway and waited for Daryl, reminding him as he approached that he needed to turn off the lights behind him.

About then, a sleepy and angry voice called out from the top bunk.  “Mooo-ooom!  That woke me up!!”

“I’m sorry, Hal.  Your brother got up and turned on all the lights.”

“I didn’t wake up when Bubba turned on the light, Mommy.  I woke up just now because of you.”

This accusation was too much for me.  “Gee, I’m sorry, honey,” I said, not really caring if he was old enough to catch the sarcasm.  “I am so enjoying being awake at 2:00 in the morning.  I was just trying to turn the light back off so you guys could sleep.”

“Well you didn’t have to wake me up!”

I returned to bed and composed this blog post in my head until sleep finally reclaimed me.  People think the sleepless time is only while the children are infants.  At least infants have the decency to let you know that you will be sleepless every night.  You can, to some degree, plan for it.  The older, stealthier kids spring it on you when you least expect it.

Sleepless Nights and Logical Consequences

I was blissfully asleep when soft sobbing across the hall awoke me. I glanced at my sleeping husband and briefly considered waking him so that he could go comfort the child. Most likely, Hal had rolled away from his blanket. All I would have to do is go in there and tuck it back into his hands. To get my husband to do it, I’d have to shake him awake and explain what’s going on. No, I decided, I will get back to sleep quicker and with less fuss if I tend to this myself. I glanced at the clock as I got up. 2:30.

When I entered the boys’ room, I found Hal standing in his bed, holding his blanket. So much for that theory. The sobbing was getting stronger. Soon it would be all-out crying. “Hal, what is wrong, baby?”

“My tajamas are wet!”

“Did you pee in them?”

“Yes! And not just a little bit!”

I reached out to touch his pajamas. Sure enough, his fuzzy footed monster pajamas were dripping wet. As was the blanket, the pillow pet, the sheets. Everything. I sighed. “You didn’t go potty before you went to bed, did you?”

He admitted tearfully that he had not. My husband would make him carry the wet items to the washing machine. I knew from experience that that would cause me considerable grief and delay my return to bed. Natural Consequences, Logical Consequences, none of that mattered to me right then. The voice that urged the best parenting move for long-term gain was ruthlessly shoved to the back of my head. My decision making was centered completely around getting back to sleep as soon as possible.

Unfortunately, this boy was soaked. I peeled off his clothes and walked him to the bathroom. Walking naked to the bathroom is not what sleepy four year-olds like to do in the middle of a cold night so he screamed and cried all the way down the hall. I began to wipe him down with a wet washcloth.

The crying was loud enough to wake Daddy, who soon appeared in the bathroom doorway. “What happened?”

“Hal peed in his bed. Not just a little bit. He peed a lot. I mean, A LOT.”

He addressed Hal very sternly, “Hal? I asked you if you went potty. You said you did. I said, ‘I don’t think you did. Are you sure?’ You said you were. You even said, ‘I went potty earlier. Didn’t you hear me flush?!’ And I warned you, didn’t I? I told you that if you wet your bed, you’d have to carry your sheets to the washing machine and take a shower.” A shower? No! When am I ever going to get back to bed?!

We returned to the bedroom where Daddy flipped on the light! Poor Daryl! He started gathering up the sheets while I helped Hal get another pair of pajamas on. Then he told Hal to pick up the bundle and carry it to the laundry room before heading down the hall himself to get paper towels and cleaner. I found myself staring at Hal, who was staring at the bundle.

In a tired voice that dreaded what was coming, I tried to encourage him, “Go ahead and pick it up.”

“It’s too big!”

“Honey!” I called out, “He says it’s too big and it’s going to get his pajamas wet.” Please let’s just take care of it so we can get back to bed!

“Well, I guess he better take those pajamas off then, huh?”

With yet another sigh, I helped him back out of his pajamas. Daddy returned with the cleaner, which I took and he shepherded the wailing child to the other end of the house. I cleaned the plastic bed cover and then looked for new sheets. Oh, yeah, I decided to store all the sheets in Jane’s closet. Brilliant.

When I entered her room, she looked up at me. Of course. She hadn’t been able to sleep through all the mayhem. I grimaced at her and felt around in the closet for some sheets. By the time I got Hal’s bed made, Hal was wailing in the shower. I finished up quickly and turned the light back off.

As I practically ran back to my now cold bed, I heard Daddy joking with Hal. He had kept his temper the whole time. He had sternly enacted the consequences that had been promised, but never got angry. “Are you ready to get your pajamas back on?”


“Do you want to take another shower?”


They both laughed. Daddy hugged son and then helped him back into his pajamas before carrying him to bed. He then crawled in beside me and, with a brief “Goodnight sweetheart,” returned to the wonderful world of slumber.

I was destined to lay there awake for another hour and a half. In the morning I learned that Daryl had slept through the entire ordeal. Jane was tired. I was exhausted. But you know what? Now, when we ask Hal if he went to the bathroom, he only says yes if he actually did. Otherwise, he stands up straight, fesses up, and heads off to the toilet. I guess one sleepless night was worth it.