I’m a pretty horrible night parent. As soon as I lay my head down to sleep, my patience runs out, possibly out my left ear. It does not return in any shape or form until 6am, and by 7am I’m ready to roll.
Last night at 3am, Tornado E crawled into my bed asking for water. My response: Get it yourself. Then I buried my face in pillow. But it didn’t stop. He wanted a kleenex. You know where they are. But he wouldn’t get one himself; he had a nightmare; please I need a kleenex, MOOOOOOMMMMMMYYYYYYY. Grrr. I stomped out of bed and grabbed two. I threw them in his general direction. I fell back into bed. He needed a pillow. Find one yourself. Please. Find it yourself or go back to your bed. He blissfully left. Only to return with a pillow. Then he asked me to throw away his dirty kleenex. Do it yourself. But Mooooo-mmmmmmyyyyyyyyy. AHHHHHHHH! Throw it away yourself or don’t but do NOT say another word or you will leave my room and I swear to God, I WILL lock the bedroom door.
See. No patience. Now that I think about it. There might have been a cuss word in there or two.
Now part of the problem may be that I got to bed a little late. But cleaning the house, flipping through cookbooks, reading up on home decorating tips, talking to a friend, finishing a long email, price checking hotels if for some reason I could go anywhere I wanted after the summer was over (though I have noticed I’ve become too responsible of an adult and actually looked at places I could afford instead of dreaming of exotic locations with sandy beaches and clear waters. Life can be so sad.), all take valuable time and need to get done at night after the kids fall asleep. Besides I’m a night owl. I need to stay up for my mental health.
Don’t get me wrong. I can jump into action when needed. I can strip a sick, feverish child from vomit-soaked pajamas within seconds of the last heave. But then I used to plop the child with the sleeping parent with the orders to cuddle while I hosed off sheets, threw them in the wash, found clean sheets, pajamas, a replacement sleep toy and then made the bed. Cuddling, whispering soothing words into the child’s ear are not tasks I can fulfill once I started my sleep. I become frustrated with nightmares because my boys just cry, scream, and whine. I have to wake them up fully before they can settle down, refusing to tell me what the dream held, even as I beg because if I knew I know I can help.
While all of this is amusing in one sense or another, I realize there is no more co-parent. No one to pick up any of the slack. It’s all me. I don’t think I can be on all the time. At some point, I will crack. I will fail. But I can try to do my best. Like saying, give me a moment because it’s 3AM, and you’re Mommy is tired and grumpy. And they are just going to have to learn that Mommy is cranky and grumpy when woken in the middle of the night but she loves them still.