You Have Another Parent (that guy in the recliner lives here, too)

I have come to realize that my family would fall apart if I were not around. Especially my kids. They have yet to realize that they do indeed have another parent. My daughter will literally walk past her father to ask me (on my hands and knees scrubbing the toilet) to pour her a drink. My son will ignore the man who is four feet from him and scream my name across the house for help with his homework. They seem to have forgotten that he can do nearly everything I can (even though I undoubtedly do it BETER). Yes, that man in the arm chair can also help you tie your shoes or make you a sandwich. And they most certainly can be the parent you go to when YOUR OTHER PARENT IS SLEEPING!
Case in point, last night I discovered that I had a cluster of mosquito bites on my foot (or poison ivy, according to Dr. Husband) and it itched like a bitch. After nearly scratching my foot raw, I decided to take some Benedryl. Now, Benedryl makes me VERY sleepy (like I can’t keep my eyes open without toothpicks kinda sleepy) and I wouldn’t have taken it if it wasn’t after 10:30 and both kids were supposed to be asleep. The key words here are “supposed to be”. Because shortly after I tossed that sweet pink liquid back, I discovered that they were both wide awake in their rooms.
Too late to do anything about my sleepy juice that was already coursing through my veins, I snatched all the electronics that they were hoarding and ordered them to go to sleep, NOW. I sounded like a novice mother saying that because telling a kid to go to sleep is like telling a dog with fleas to stop scratching. Ain’t gonna happen. In fact, in some twisted way, I think it actually prevents them from sleeping.
After announcing to my husband that I was going to sleep and watching him roll his eyes because going to bed before midnight is juvenile to him, I slipped between the covers in medicated bliss. For about 11 1/2 minutes. Just long enough to feel completely alarmed when I was shaken awake by a small, sobbing child.
“Mommy!” small, sobbing child wailed.
Who is she talking to? I don’t know this Mommy person. What day is it? What time is it? Who am I by the way?
“Mommy!” the kid repeated, this time in even higher pitched tones.
“Huh? What?” I mumbled. My mouth wasn’t working right. I sounded like I had a mouthful of marbles. And what the hell? Is this drool on the pillow? Why am I drooling???
“I had a nightmare, Mommy and I can’t sleep,” small child told me.
“Oh well, that sucks,” I replied indifferently. Why was this kid telling me this? I wondered. She really should go tell her mother. I drifted asleep only to be shook away three seconds later.
“Mommeeeeeee! I need you! I need you to lay with me!”
And that’s when it hit me. This was my kid. And she woke me up from a drug induced sleep. And she wanted me to lay with her.
I tried to fling my leg over the side of the bed to stagger to my feet, but my leg wouldn’t move. In fact, I couldn’t even throw back the covers because my hand wouldn’t move either. In fact, I think I was falling back to sleep right at that very moment. Oh crap.
“Go back to sleep,” I managed to stammer before drifting off.
“Mommmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmeeeeeeeeee!” came the screechy voice again.
“For crying out loud,” I snapped. “Just go to your bed and close your eyes and go to sleep. See, Mommy is doing it right now…” (Listen, before you criticize, remember this is the BAD Mommy Diaries, not the June Cleaver Diaries)
I felt her hot breath against my ear before she screamed into it, but my reflexes were delayed and I failed to get out of the way. I think my ear drum may be punctured.
This time, my body bolted upright and I sprang from the bed.
“I’m up, I’m up!” I walked her back to her room and tucked her in. “Go back to sleep,” I ordered (pretty unsympathetically, I might add).
“I’m scared of the dark,” she complained. “I need you to lay with me.”
“There’s nothing to be scared of,” I reasoned. It wasn’t even dark. In fact, she had every light in her room blazing.
“Lay with meeee,” she whined.
“I don’t wanna! I wanna go back to bed!” I whined back.
“But I’m scared!”
I scratched my head, trying to come up with a logical solution to this dilemma in my foggy state. Now if I was half awake I would have crawled into her bed and killed two birds with one stone. But no, I was not that smart. Instead, I asked, “Where’s the dog? She can lay with you.”
I called the dog, unleashing the chain of events that usually occurs when the dog is laying with the older one. The dog leaves his side and he falls apart. Crying and begging the dog to come back. And then the little one ends up crying and grabbing the dog who then bites her because she hates being in the middle of their “I love the dog more” fight. (They love her at bedtime…hate her at “pick up the dog crap” time).
Stupid me. I trudge back to the bedroom, intending to lock my door and cover my head with a pillow to drown out the sounds of them beating each other with their Nooks.
I glanced at the clock, expecting it to be like, 3 in the morning. Instead, my jaw dropped as I saw the angry red numbers reading 11:16. Sixteen minutes??? I was asleep and this entire scene transpired in sixteen minutes??? I turned to see that my husband was missing from the bed. Of course he was. He was still awake. Why didn’t she go to him when she couldn’t sleep???
I stomped down the stairs, very loudly I might add, and found the hubby in his recliner. Laughing at grown men in camo swinging from tire swings over a muddy river. On TV, of course.
Hands on my hips, hair in awful fright, I asked with sarcasm, “Are you deaf?”
He looks up from the zany frivolity on the TV and gives me a blank expression. “Huh?”
Rolling my exhausted eyes I reply, “You must be deaf otherwise you would have heard the circus unraveling upstairs.”
He continues to look bewildered. I shake my head in disgust and storm back upstairs where the children are are both crying and screaming and flailing their arms around. Something about a bloody nose and a broken thumb. And the windows are open.
“Shhhhh!” I hiss. “You’ll wake the neighbors.” And they’ll call the cops because they’ll think someone is being murdered in here.
“I’m hot,” the older one announces. Good, lets close the windows.
So I tromp all over the house, shutting windows. I go downstairs and hubby is in the same place.
“The kids are hot and can’t sleep. I’m turning the air on,” I announce to Sir Cheapskate. Before he protests, I add, “Help me shut the windows.”
Entranced in his show, he waves me off. “In a minute.” Code for, “you might as well do it yourself, I’m not getting up”.
I sigh, finish closing the window and head back upstairs expecting the children to be drifting off into blissful, cool and comfy sleep. Instead, they are still screaming at the top of their lungs.
“But I want the dog!”
“No! I want the dog!”
This again.
“We have TWO dogs! You can each take one!” I reason in a pleading voice. “Please, just go the hell to sleep! Mommy can hardly stand up!”
The “other dog” lifts his head at this suggestion and gives me a “oh HELL no!” look. The dog, purchased for the purpose of “putting the children to sleep”, does not want to have anything to do with them. He wants to lay all over me all night so he can be closer when he barks to go out at 4 in the morning. My husband conveniently cannot hear him barking, either. Amazing. He really must be deaf.
Speaking of, here he comes, up the steps. The children are still fighting, the dog is now barking and I’m practically in tears because the Benedryl is kicking in high gear. He turns to me an announces, “It’s late. I’m going to bed.”

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