Szyperski: Give me a pee for parenthoodWritten by Shannon Szyperski | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Just when I thought (for the 87th time) that I was going to finally reach a less worry, more sleep stage of parenting, I was recently awakened by my toddler, who had just peed in her bed. Due to the saturated state of her sleeping quarters, my husband and I welcomed her into our bed only to have her pee again 12 minutes later (or so it felt). I woke up to not only realize that I was soaked with my child’s urine, but that I was also now sandwiched between my husband on one side and all three of my children, ages 3, 6 and 9, on the other side.
It wasn’t one of those roomy, 10-pound sandwiches that you see on some travel-around-the-country-looking-for-the-biggest-craziest-sandwich show either. It was like that soggy, smashed-flat sandwich in “National Lampoon’s Vacation” that turns out to have been marinated by Aunt Edna’s dog. Yes, I was smack-dab in the middle of a pee sandwich yet again. Darn it, though, I had been through this little-sleep, lots-of-laundry-the-next-day situation one too many times and this time I was standing my ground.
Since the girls’ room was an already-been-peed-in zone, I decided to slink quietly off to the comforts of my 9-year-old son’s small, yet cozy, pee-free paradise. As I snuggled in solo and thought about how annoying it is to have someone stage a midnight coup over your comfortable bed almost every night for nine years running, I couldn’t help but also think that his room was as cold and his bed as small as he complained that they were. Huh, maybe it wasn’t all him just making up excuses.
I did manage to get to sleep, however, and our 12-year-old obsessive-compulsive cat managed just as well to wake me right back up. Actually, I drifted in and out of coherency while he meowed, walked on top of and clawed his way into my psyche for close to an hour. I finally gave in and snapped awake enough to travel three floors down to the basement and fill up his empty food dish. I wasn’t thrilled to see that there was plenty of food that had been spilled out of the bowls and onto the floor, but Sebastian will only eat if the food is in the actual bowl and fully covering the bottom of it (that would be where the obsessive-compulsiveness comes in).
I returned to bed only to come face-to-snout with our dog a few minutes later. I decided to finally just get up, but facing the day showed me no mercy. I attended to the usual morning bouts of psychological tug-o’-war and getting-ready-for-school stoppages. The older kids and I went through yet another lengthy buying/packing indecision process and then ended with our daily mad-dash-for-the-bus grand finale.
I was looking forward to just plowing my tired self through the day without forgetting any major obligations and then hitting the hay with my customary, but oh so wrong, assumption that I would somehow finally be afforded a good night’s sleep. Halfway through the day, however, I suddenly lost interest in sleep and just about everything else.
After explicitly telling my littlest, Lucy, that she was not to get the nail trimmers down, I found her bathroom stool barely balanced atop the toilet in perfect position to snag the nail clippers and possibly a concussion and/or broken bone. I immediately replayed in my mind the two broken bones, CAT scan and other various ER activities we had already experienced through her brother and sister. We then had a serious heart-to-heart about the horror that is household accidents involving 3-year-olds.
Not half an hour after our little accident prevention powwow and not two minutes after I checked on her, I heard a scream and a crash from Lucy’s upstairs bedroom. I prepared for the worst, but was still a little shocked and awed by the scene I came upon. I found my beautiful, perfect, couldn’t-love-her-more daughter wedged between two objects, up against her wall and completely inverted.
Head on the ground. Feet straight up in the air. Crying hysterically.
Since she was crying and moving and I couldn’t stand to not hold her for one more second, I grabbed her and held her and cried at the thought that something could go so wrong so quickly. I could impart on her every bit of warning and wisdom that I know, get an emphatic “I’m OK, Mom!” and find her world all turned upside down just minutes later.
There is nothing like the scary, what-if moments to remind you about how insignificant a few missed hours of sleep are. These are the days (and nights) that parenthood has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in them.
Shannon and her husband, Michael, are raising three children in Sylvania. E-mail her at email@example.com.