It’s always stiflingly hot in our bedroom at night. We can’t open the windows, we can’t even unlock them or Randall and his family will expertly finagle them open with their terrifyingly human little black hands. And I don’t know if you’ve ever been jolted out of a peaceful slumber by the sudden panicky suspicion that there is a non-human carnivore lurking underneath the skinny jeans in your closet, but I can vouch that it’s an entirely shitty experience. I’ve had a racoons saunter over to me while I brushed my teeth at 11 at night and I’ve watched two baby racoons skittle around our living room in the wee hours, making grievous mewling noises, and believe me, none of it is anything short of completely motherfucking alarming.
Anyway, we sleep with the windows locked now. I’m positive it’s only a matter of time before Randall figures out how to unlock the front door and snack on errant cheerio crumbs before he and his family mosey in through the baby gate, but until then I’m not taking any chances.
This is why I went to bed last night at around 10:30, wearing shorts and a sports bra and still sweating profusely. We have a ceiling fan, and it’s useless, and we do have a fan beside the bed but we can’t use it because its pervasive white noise prevents me from hearing the baby’s cries at night and what if he needs something desperately? He wails repeatedly every night for no apparent reason, usually three or four times a night, actually, but what if he really did need me one night because a raccoon opened his window and was in his crib with him trying to eat his onesie and he cried, and I couldn’t hear him because of the fan? (Note: baby is not really a baby, he’s actually 18 months old, a toddler, and he should probably not be waking up shrieking several times a night anymore. I know.)
It is for these reasons, and also due to the fact that I drag my iPad to bed with me almost every night to watch shamefully awful TV shows (and then leave it in bed scattered over by Corey’s pillow because I’ve fallen asleep halfway through my show) that I know I’m not super awesome to sleep beside.
Last night I woke up suddenly at 1:26 am, ponytail damp against my face, sheet stuck to me with the heat of the room. A familiar high pitched shriek shattered the silence in the house and I flipped to the side and elbowed my iPad: no Corey beside me. This isn’t unusual lately, because in addition to my predisposition to sweating and hogging the bed, I’ve also recently started snoring and grinding my teeth. Lately it’s been so fiercely loud that it prevents Corey from falling or staying asleep, and he migrates to the living room to sleep on the cat-pee couch (which, God, is a whole other story) as I snore, sweat, and grind my remaining teeth down into little powdery nubs in our bed. Hot. I know.
I tiptoed into Jude’s room where he stood in his crib, clutching his bedraggled stuffed animal and looking totally agitated. I shifted his legs and repositioned him in his crib, and patted his tiny butt for five minutes until he drifted off again. I could have left him, I know I could have, but you can’t judge me for doing this until you’ve experienced the extremely undesirable alternative which is listening to him holler relentlessly for two hours, sometimes more. Five minutes of butt patting or two hours of wailing? It’s normally an easy decision.
On the way back to my room I saw Corey’s feet sticking out of Nolan’s bed: Nolan is away with his best friend for the long weekend, so Corey gets to upgrade to Nolan’s cat-pee miniature bed to escape my noise. Which is nice except for Nolan’s bed totally sucks.
“Corey,” I hissed,”You know what? Come to bed. If I start to snore again, I’ll leave to sleep in Nolan’s room. Seriously.”
He was only half asleep anyway, and he got out of the insanely uncomfortable kid bed and stumbled into our room. I lay stiffly beside him, concentrating on keeping my jaw relaxed. I put my head flat on the bed: no elevation, no snoring?
Ten minutes later I woke myself up with a giant snort to see Corey beelining it out of the bedroom again.
“I’m sorry!” I yelled,” I can’t help it!”
He silently migrated toward the better option, the painfully uncomfortable, tiny pee bed.
When the shrieking started again at 4am, I swung my legs over the side of the bed, eyes burning. But then, for the first time since Jude was born, I swung them back in. You know what?, I thought, He’s 18 months old, and this is absurd, waking up 4 times a night to pat his privileged little baby ass. I work and I need sleep and I am old and this all is going to kill me, our sauna house and our crotchety, sleepless baby, and the fact that I’m always fighting wildlife while my husband sleeps in various uncomfortable places so he doesn’t have to listen to my obscene, involuntary noises.
So I let him cry. And cry. And he cried for an hour, wrenchingly, and I eventually fell asleep. And so did he. Briefly. So when he woke up again at 5:30 am, wailing piteously, I felt a bit less guilty about just letting him cry it out again. We all needed sleep.
It was light outside the next time he woke up, at 7:10 am. He was sobbing like his heart was broken, and I finally crept into his room, intent on letting Corey sleep in a bit if possible.
And what I saw was worse than a Mama raccoon washing her hands with expensive shampoo in our toilet at 3am.
There. was. shit. everywhere.
I saw: a discarded diaper, on the left hand side of the crib. A pile of corn-filled poop, beside it. A dog-eared stuffie, fecal matter streaked across its face. And a normally blonde baby with brown stuff that ohdeargod totally wasn’t chocolate on his face. And hair. Suddenly, tearfully smiling at me. Forgiving me for ignoring his cries for help while he drowned in his own poop.
I picked him up and ran with him outstretched in my arms, gagging.
“Corey!” I yelled to the giant feet in the miniature bed,”There’s shit everywhere and I need your help.”
Corey is used to many things being yelled at him while he’s in a half slumber, and I have to give him credit for how fast he sprang into action, running water in the bath while I scooped up poop with a plastic bag and dumped buckets of Spray n Wash on crib sheets.
Jude smiled and hummed in the bathtub, baby shampoo washing away any telltale signs of really bad parenting. Thank god he has his Mama to record it on the Internet for him.
(Stop freaking out every night if you can, though)
(Thank god, doggies can be washed)
(Also, toddler faces)