Ok – now don’t think me a child abuser or anything… But we typically keep a lock on Doodle’s door. It’s one of those plastic things that clips around the handle with the holes in the sides so big people with good dexterity can still squeeze through the holes and open it. Like, it’s on the inside of his door. Like, he can’t so much get out when he’s in…
Really though, I have a very valid reason! See, our rooms are upstairs, as is the bathroom, the spare room, and the coat closet. And in the middle of the doors is the smallest hallway in the world, directly followed by a half-a-staircase leading straight down to a life-sized Gumby, an overfilled bookshelf and a stand-up globe on a teeny-tiny landing, then a 180 turn to the whole rest of the staircase. To make this worse, there are zero, ZERO, outlets in the entire hallway/staircase/landing/Gumby area to plug in a light, and there are no windows either. Danger, Will Robinson, seriously.
And to make this even more worse – ok, I have a really hard time sleeping if I can hear absolutely anything at all that isn’t a constant sound. The dog storing, the neighbors playing their awful music, even my husband breathing. Not even snoring, just breathing! And it’s not like I can make him stop breathing so I can get some sleep, I wouldn’t so much have a husband when I woke up. So we keep a fan on through the night. And it’s not even that it’s that loud, but it’s really hard to hear much of anything with that thing on.
I mean, we can hear things, like when Doodle woke up in the middle of the night screaming BLOODY MURDER because he got the stitching from his blanket wrapped around his finger – purple finger, had a nice indentation for two days, seriously scary stuff! Alright, but anyway…
So, I’m absolutely terrified of
a lot of things Doodle waking up in the middle of the night or even in the wee hours of the morning while it’s still dark – I can just imagine him being the little sneaky ninja punk that he is. His little door slowly creaking open, his little feet going over the squeaky floorboards without a sound, his little face glancing back at our open door, his little silent giggle as he realizes that we can’t hear him… But then, in my sneaky-ninja-punk-imagination, he tries to grab the hand rail but can’t see it, or he thinks he has another few inches to walk on the floor before the steps start and he loses his balance. Ok, sure, the life-sized Gumby (at least I assume he’s life-sized, who really knows how big Gumby is??) would provide a decent cushioned landing after thumping down those 6 or so steps…
But my mind keeps going, and I see my clumsy-sneaky-ninja-punk rolling off Gumby, into the bookshelf. The bookshelf then starts to topple over (as it’s crazy overfull, you see?!) and books and shelves start to fall on my discombobulated Doodle. He falls further over and into the stand-up globe. Then, in like Looney Tunes fashion or something, Doodle tries to run up on the top of the globe as it falls down the stairs. He ends upside-down at the bottom of the stairs, covered in bumps and bruises, with ripped up book pages and stuffing from Gumby falling all around him like snow. I know, my imagination doesn’t so much count on laws of physics or probability or anything… But anyway…
So there’s a lock on the inside of his door. And he’s always been so flippin’ cute about it when he wakes up – he’d just knock on the door with a sweet little “Hewwo? Hewwo-o?” until we’d get up and rescue him. (He’s actually able to open the door if he tries hard enough, he’s just REALLY GOOD about sticking to boundaries we’ve set for him and he leaves it alone.)
But, night before last – he’s been working on his two-year molars (I know, he’s almost three, leave me alone!) and he wasn’t sleeping very well AT ALL. Jake was up late (like 3 in the morning late) working on a final paper for one of his classes, so it was mainly up to me to get Doodle back to bed. Well, none of us really got to sleep until about 3, so we were pretty darn exhausted. So I wake up to a slight noise of, “Whoosh! Brrrr! Zhoom!” Jake looks at the alarm clock as I go to check on Doodle. He frantically looks at me, “What time is it?! The clock says 12:40!” Doodle sounds fine, so I don’t even open the door to check on him real quick. I check the digital heater box thingy, it says 11:40, but I can never be too sure about it since we don’t typically change it with daylight savings and it’s really difficult to decide whether it was spring forward or fall backward and was it right before that or after it and do I add an hour or take an hour away to figure out what time it is when I’ve just woken up. So I go downstairs and check the microwave and stove. 12:40.
I go back up, whooshes and zhooms are still going in Doodle’s room. I crack the door open, and Doodle has taken every article of clothing out of his dresser and made a huge pile of it. He is laying on said pile of clothing, fully dressed in a mismatched set of pajamas that I did not put him in the night before, and he’s got a pair of socks on his hands. He’s holding an old hat of his (we typically have all of his special baby clothes folded neatly in the bottom drawer of his dresser for safe-keeping – we should probably do something about that now…) and he’s playing with it as though it is a rocket or airplane of sorts. “Whoosh! Brrr! Zhoom!” At 12:40. In the afternoon. We just woke up. I have NO FLIPPIN’ IDEA HOW LONG HE’S BEEN AWAKE!
So Jake and I feel like awful parents, obviously. We’re neglecting our poor son, what would happen if he silently (yeah right!) hurt himself or needed something?! How will we ever work on nighttime potty training if we leave him locked in his room for hours after he wakes up?! We should be working on letters and numbers and crafts with him, not sleeping the day away as though we did not have a small person who depended on us for all of his upbringing. We’ve GOT to get that lock off the door and just be able to hear him if he were to get up. I’ve got to throw out my fears of him falling down the stairs, try to get some kind of nightlight set up in that hallway to where he can see if he does happen to get up in the middle of the night. We can do this, right?
I promptly forget to actually take the lock off the door as I get him dressed in something other than the inside-out and backwards pajama “set” that he’s gotten himself into and get him downstairs for some milk and brunch. We go through our day without a hitch (or a nap, because, you know, who flippin’ knows when he woke up and I don’t want to put him down for a nap an hour after we get up with him…) and I put him to bed at the end of the night. I don’t even think about the lock on the door when I put him to bed, but then Jake gets home, we hang out for a few, and we start heading to bed. We giggle again about our random sleep-in day, and I luckily remember at that point that I should probably take off the lock from the door as I go in to check on him.
I get in his room, notice that he’s laying sideways on his bed all wrapped up awkwardly in his blanket, and he’ll likely fall off his bed at some point if I leave him in this position, so I adjust him nicely, tell him I love him, re-tuck him in his bed, and proceed to take off the lock so I can close the door and he won’t be trapped in there when he wakes up. Only, a funny thing happened. The lock was not on his door.
I go and ask Jake, “Did you take the lock off his door earlier today?” “No, I haven’t touched it. Did you maybe take it off when you got him this afternoon?” “No, I can’t remember touching it since a few days ago when Ling and Hippie Mama came over to play and I took it off so they could play in there and not be locked in…”
That’s right, people… My son was NOT locked in his room, and he stayed IN HIS ROOM all morning, until 12:40, and likely would have stayed there for GOD ONLY KNOWS HOW LONG had we not heard him whooshing and zhooming his airplane-hat. UNTIL 12:40! In the afternoon! Fully able to leave his room and come wake us up whenever the eff he wanted to.
Now, ya’ll, don’t get all jealous-like. Last night we didn’t get to bed ’til about 2 as Jake was working on another final paper and getting a speech ready for some classes this morning. 7:45 in the morning Jude was bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, and opening that door, begging me to get up and get him milk and bananas and yogurt and a bagel and a “shandwich” and an apple and every other type of food he might want first thing in the morning. He’s so sweet, though. “Mommy, you make some coffee first?” Yes, I make some coffee first, I’m freakin’ tired.