It’s Not Me, It’s Actually You

“Mama?! Mama!! Help me, Mama!!!”

I am convinced there’s nothing more terrifying than being suddenly jolted out of sleep by deafening, frenzied screaming. My first frantic thought is: my child is hurt; I need to get to my child. And before my eyes can adjust to being awake, I find myself running blindly through the darkened hallway to wherever that blood-curdling scream is coming from, only to find my child on the toilet with a devilish grin on her face: “Wipe my butt, Mama!”

How did my kid know that wiping her bum after a stinky poop was my absolute favourite way to be woken up?

The above scenario has been my reality for the past two months. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been violently woken up by Charlotte, either to wipe her ass at the crack of dawn or from fear of sleeping alone in the dark in her room.

It wasn’t always this way though. For the first four years of her life, from the moment she was able to drop the night feedings, she slept beautifully. She slept angelically. She was as quiet as a mouse from the hours of 7PM to 7AM. In fact, we rarely ever saw or heard from her during those hours. And it was such a dream. We thought we’d won the lottery in the natural selection of optimum progeny. We felt incredibly blessed.

And, well, that blessed period is now over. Currently, I feel like I am in a toxic relationship with my preschooler. Whenever I ask her if she’s going to wake me up at night, she looks everywhere but straight at me and mumbles a weak “no.” I know she doesn’t make eye-contact because she knows, she bloody well knows, she will wake me up a million times over between now and the end of time, and my pleading means nothing to her. Little did we know as we rounded the corner to her fourth birthday (declaring an end to the terrible twos), the Mack truck of sleepless fours were descending upon us. Unfortunately, she’s now at that age where her imagination gets the best of her after dark: shadows are threatening figures and dark corners hide ominous monsters, which is a heartbreaking shift from the early days of her kicking me out of her room as a toddler in the name of privacy.

At least during the day her sense of humour is still intact. She says things like:
“Mama, I’m so tired! I am soo tired!”
“Mama, don’t wake me up okay?! I don’t want you to wake me up!”

And, under my breath, I say things like:
“Yes, kid, I know you’re tired. I’m not the one waking you up in the middle of the night, you’re waking me up!”
“IT’S NOT ME, IT’S ACTUALLY YOU!”

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P.S. Love my kid to death! Can’t live without her!

33 thoughts on “It’s Not Me, It’s Actually You

  1. Ohh! I don’t know where a 4-year-old is developmentally, but I’m convinced the conniving little devil knows what she’s doing. Hopefully, soon she’ll learn to wipe her own butt and befriend the shadows on the wall, so you can get some damn sleep!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes! She totally knows!
      Every night I ask her, “Are you going to wake me up?”
      And her response is, “Why can’t I wake you up?” lol…

      She’s on the “Why” of it all meanwhile I thought I was being sooo clear about what NOT to do!! LOL

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ohh this stage is so fun. I’m being sarcastic obviously 😂. Once Nikolai turned 5 all of that came to an end so not much longer now. People don’t tell parents that they go years without sleep haha if they did we probably wouldn’t opt to have kids 🥱💀

    Liked by 3 people

  3. As always, your fun posts give me license to ramble. You were in the minority of parents who got a decent night’s sleep for a couple of years. Our son was a pretty colicky baby (our nickname for him at the time was Cryin’ Ryan), and I dragged my butt to work so many days after something like two hours of sleep. I remember that class fondly because I was so appreciative to have such a cooperative group of kids that year when I was running on fumes.

    After he outgrew that phase, he was usually a good sleeper, though we also went through the nightmare phase. High school is the next period you can count on for lack of sleep. If Charlotte is a normally well-adjusted kid (Why wouldn’t she be—I mean, look at her parents.😉), she’ll want to hang out with her friends. (What? She doesn’t want to be in my shadow every waking moment of the day?) You’ll find yourself either staying up late until she gets home or lying in bed waiting to hear the front door open.

    When Ryan went to college, we were suddenly sleeping well again. Ignorance is bliss, even though I wasn’t naive enough to think he was home studying every night. One year we took a weekend trip to Vegas, It was supposed to be a family trip, but we were merely paying the bill for the hotel. He had a couple of buddies in town and was hanging out with them most of the weekend. One memorable night my wife and I were crawling into bed around 11:00 p.m, and he was just going out for the night. I remember lying there thinking, “This is just like high school. He’s out having fun, and I’m lying here wide awake.🤣

    Liked by 2 people

    • Aww… so nice to hear you reminisce about life with young child (gives me hope that one day I, too, will find sleep again)! Yes, we do count our lucky marbles that she was the best sleeper in town for a good four years. I surely can’t complain too much, it’s been rough but I know it could have been worse MUCH sooner!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Ha ha. You will pay for those wonderful 7 PM to 7 AM years. LOL

    When my kids were younger, they would come into my room and stand beside the bed. If I didn’t wake up, they would poke me and scare the CRAP out of me. I often wondered why they never woke their dad up. It was always mom.

    I wish I could say the lack of sleep gets better. It does for a while but, when they’re teenagers you get a whole new crop of things to keep you up at night.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I knew the karma police were coming for me for having a splendid baby, I just knew it!! LOL OMG that was my BIGGEST fear (okay not biggest but ONE of my biggest fears) when I got pregnant- all the thoughts of a creepy child standing next to my bed staring at me LOL… My daughter is obsessed with my husband so I, too, wonder why she’s always hollering for me and not her father?!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Having never had children I can’t commiserate 100% with your trials and tribulations Jen … at least this will pass and you’ll be on to bigger and more-pressing problems (hopefully that won’t keep you up at night), EXCEPT, before you know it, Charlotte will be a teenager and you’ll be listening for the key to turn in the lock and you’ll know she is home for the night. My mom said she slept with one eye open and heard me come down the hall as there was a squeaky floorboard under the carpet that gave my arrival time away.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Ha ha – no, I heard about the floor squeaks for years. I was living at home and I worked Summers, school holidays and every weekend at a diner, so I had to be on the floor for shift change at 6:45 a.m., so the longer I stayed out with friends, it was difficult to get up for work Saturday and Sunday morning. There was a bunch of us on the college newspaper staff and we all hung out together as a group. So, I would try to walk down the hall, which was carpeted and not step on the creaky floor board. I thought I was smart until the next morning when I’d hear about what time I arrived home. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Twice as … whatever: Aug. 28 – A Silly Place

  7. Ah, the ‘stages’ of childhood, and of parenting. This one will get resolved, but no worries, a new one will crop up. (Smiling devilishly) Seriously, when I was in the midst of it as a parent, I just coped with each day, fortunately not worrying about what would come next. But now, as a grandmother, I watch my daughter as she battles each of her children (she has three) on their separate issues, and see her struggle and yet, and yet, see how she loves each child enormously. That’s what gets us through those nights. The love.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Ah, man. But you had a good run. (That sentence was rife with pun potential. All I had to do was add a t.)
    And who knew kids had to poo in the middle of the night? Not me. And now that I do… Oh boy… It’s like cartoons falling off cliffs instead of running in air once they learn what gravity is.

    Liked by 1 person

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