Nothing But Socks and Underwear

I know that I have been a little obsessed with sleep lately, but that is mostly because I was not getting a whole lot of it.  I liken it to the forbidden fruit.  Great, now I’m craving apples and a nap.  Fortunately, things seem to be moving in the right direction for us in the sleep department.  Finally.

As you know, I had tried almost everything to get Kid E to stay in bed.  His most recent major complaint was that the night “is a very, very, very long time” and he was “getting bored with it.”  Whenever I took the positive reinforcement route and said that I just knew he was going to have a good night, he would assure me that he planned to “try (his) best,” which of course was code for “see you at 3 a.m.”  This kid plays dirty and is wicked smart, so I finally decided that I was going to have to fight fire with fire.

I played the Santa Claus card.

Inspiration hit me last week when the Target Holiday Toy Sale catalog arrived in the mail.  Kid E started going through it page by page and he told me he wanted everything.  Except for the pink pages because, apparently, he is a very manly four-year-old.  He pointed to each and every boy toy in the book and said, “…and I want this and this and this.  OH!  And I want this too.  This is so so so cool.”  Even when I pointed out that we had one of the toys, just in a different color (not pink), he insisted that he needed it.  He was already becoming brainwashed by commercials and catalogs.

I started to remind him that Christmas is supposed to be about giving and not just gimme! gimme! gimme! and then I had a brilliant idea.

I mean, really, what kid is going to take the chance?

“That’s a great wish list that you’ve got going there so far.  We’ll have to be sure to write it all down and send it in a letter to Santa at the North Pole,” I began.  I noticed his eyes lighting up so I sold it even harder,”… and we can ask him about his reindeer and the elves and if he is ready for his long trip on Christmas Eve.  And then we can tell him how big you are getting and how good you have been lately.  We can tell him that you have been sleeping through the night and…”

Kid E’s face fell.  I knew that I had him.  I just had to bring it on home.

“Oh no,” I said.  “That won’t work, will it?  Since you keep getting out of bed, either at bedtime or in the middle of the night, we can’t really tell Santa that you have been very good this year, can we?  And do you know what Santa brings for little kids who aren’t very good?  No toys.  No games.  No treats.”

Kid E had heard something from someone before.  “Coal.  Santa brings coal to bad kids, right?” he said with despair.

I had told the older kids the coal story for years.  I even have a bag of coal that I keep in with the Christmas decorations so they run across it every year when we break out the boxes.  The story goes that Sheepdog was really bad one year (he was eighteen and the dummy went out and got an earring and a tattoo), so Santa brought him nothing but coal that Christmas.  The moral of that story: don’t be an idiot teenager.  But I was now dealing with a toddler and I needed more firepower.

I held a steady face and continued, “Sometimes Santa does not even bring coal.  Sometimes for the bad little kids he brings just socks.  Socks and underwear.  And not even the fun underwear with Nemo or Buzz Lightyear or skulls and crossbones on them.  He just brings tighty whiteys and tube socks.  And they’re not even wrapped.”

When I looked into Kid E’s horrified, big eyes, I saw fear like I have never seen before.  I had a twinge of guilt for causing him such panic, but I quickly remembered that he had brought it upon himself and I was slowly turning into a zombie.  The madness had to end.  I needed to sleep through the night.

Now, every night after Sheepdog reads him a book and tucks him into his comfy bed, I tiptoe in to kiss him and say goodnight and before I leave the room I whisper softly, “Socks and underpants, little man.  Stay in bed.  I love you.”

Mmm-mmm-mmm, this is a very good apple.

Wish me luck for tomorrow…

4th Annual Mother’s Day – Run Away

"I'm leaving on a jet plane. Don't know when I'll be back again." - John Denver, "Leaving on a Jet Plane," 1966. Also, - Me, today.

Sometimes I need a break.  If you are a mom and you don’t need a break once in a while then my hat is off to you, you big, fat liar.  If I can get away – just for a few days now and again – from the crazy and the schedule and the whining and the chaos, then I can better handle it all with patience and understanding and without child protective services ever needing to get involved.  Plus, it helps me to shield Sheepdog from the insanity (I try to have most of it under control by the time he comes home from work).  Fortunately for me, Sheepdog recognizes and appreciates all of this and he sends me away often.

Last year I went to the Dominican Republic for eight whole days, while he stayed here to care for the kids and work from home at the same time.  Then (with only 36 hours notice!) he sent me to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico for another eight days in February.  Last weekend I attended my cousin’s wedding in Atlantic City, and I was out of town for three days.  So when my annual solo escape for Mother’s Day fell on the very next weekend I didn’t even consider going.  But Sheepdog is awesome, so he is making me go anyway.

Mother’s Day, Run Away is my weekend to do nothing.  I will not wipe one butt, nose, nor dirt-smeared face (unless we’re talking about my own).  I will not intervene in one sibling argument, nor will I help drive anyone to or from an activity.  I will not give anyone a bath, nor will I put anyone to bed (thirty-seven times in one night).  I am going to sleep for twelve uninterrupted hours, listen to good music, read books and trashy magazines, then take a nap on the deck.  I will probably be bored after one day, but I will force myself to enjoy it.

If you see Sheepdog at soccer or tee ball or meandering the aisles at Kroger, please stop and tell him how awesome he is.  Maybe even flirt and tell him how sexy it is that he sends me off for some alone time.  He will totally dig that and thus be encouraged to send me away again.  And next year you can feel free to join me.

Unless you need someone to wipe your butt.  Then you are on your own.