I fucked up.
It’s all I can think, as I lay on my side with you on your crib size mattress, ass cheek falling off its right side and legs bent at the knee, up and over your squirming body to cage you in.
You’re fucked up.
Because it’s 11:30pm and you’re still awake, though you woke up at 7am and you’re 4 years old.
I, at 29, have fallen asleep 18 times during this two hour bedtime process. And I’ve experienced every last stage of grieving.
I’ve grieved the loss of an evening, I’ve mourned the loss of any semblance of comfort, I’ve sung the fucking songs.
I’ve given the ultimatums, we’ve brushed your god damn teeth and you’ve gotten your teaspoon of water.
You’ve peed. I’ve screamed. You’ve asked for cheese.
I’ve walked away and slammed the door. You’ve collapsed, not in your bed, of course, but on your floor, in tears.
I’ve smothered my face in your pillow to keep from smothering yours, because truly, right now I hate your fucking guts and I want to murder you.
But I can’t do that even though you are such a shithead and have sucked at this thing called sleep for nearly five years now.
You’ve been awake for 17 hours and you’re still zinging, and I’ve told you why that’s not fair- to your body for the abuse you gave it today, and for its ability to do it all over again tomorrow. That is if I let you do those things again tomorrow- unless you go the hell to sleep.
I ask you if we’re seriously doing this agin, because after the screaming, the kicking, the shushing, the stories, the begging and the rubbing of hands and feet, there is a stage at which I start dying inside when I wake up from my 90 second catnap to realize you, the 4 year old, are still motherfucking awake.
And I’ve been sidelying on this crib mattress for two hours and my back feels like breaking right alongside my self-respect.
So I tell her I have to pee- because I actually do, and if I ignore my own feelings for a second more I fear I will piss her bed or contract a goddamn bladder infection, like the lucky sonofabitch I am.
And there I sit, at 11:30pm, naked from the waist down, pissing, and cursing the parents of children who fall asleep at the dining room table- I give a big middle finger to you.
There I am, sweating, as it’s 29degrees celsius in my home and my bra is now translucent, saturated in sweat and milk and tears, and we’ve propped our only fans up where our two children lay to HELP THEM FUCKING SLEEP, and like every night, I wonder how I could have done this shit differently.
And the sadness rolls in, as tears start to roll down my cheeks, as I’ve tried desperately to find a compromise to ensure the survival of the Boudreau species for one more night.
Because on nights like this, it’s clear this ain’t working, as I hear her playing with her dollhouse two feet away on the other side of this thin shitty wall.
Not every night is this, thank goodness. There seem to be just enough to keep me on the positive side of sanity, but these ones make me wonder what type of chainsaw murdering, thieving asshole I must have been in my former life to deserve this.
I’m practicing kegels now, just to justify the naked time I’m spending hiding from my child and my problems, ’cause God knows I didn’t do enough of that shit when it was time-appropriate. And like the good mother I am, as my four year old plays independently in her room at 11:35pm while my babe and husband doze in the room aside, I move on from rage to sadness to self-loathing- because that is what mothers do best (especially at 11:35pm).
I wonder how crying it out might have messed her up. I wonder how sleeping beside her might have messed her up. I wonder how it is I miss the goddamn window every single night, when it is people say children will settle efficiently. I wonder if her bedtime is too late, or why we pretend to have a bedtime at all, and I wonder why it is we thought a bed made of Japanese maple with a hand carved horse on it, as per her fucking request, was going to make any fucking difference.
I wonder if I do too many stories or not enough, or if I should have fed her better through the day. I wonder about her water intake for godsakes, and her activity level.
And every night, as I rack my brain hating myself for the shitty job I’m doing at night, through the shushing, the caging her down, the orders to go piss,the handrubbies and the humming of the friggin’ songs, there is a stage after self-loathing of complacency and bargaining, and only then do we both grow so desperate that we sleep.
Me on a crib size mattress. She, migrated to the comfort of my place in our queen size bed. We end up sleeping.
But I swear a lot at night.
Because somewhere along the line, whether it’s in her DNA or in something we’ve done or not done, we’ve landed ourselves a shit sleeper. And I walk the line nightly between deciding who, what, or if there is any source of blame for that- but I know this is something that can only be worked through from within the walls of our own family home.
So I wrack my brain and every morning for answers, as I glug my third coffee here in the kitchen. And I tell myself that people say it gets better, and so tonight, maybe that better might begin.
And that’s probably the denial setting in.
Because tonight might be different. But it might not.
And so all we can do is take it one motherfuckingshittyass night at a time.