Up All Night

It happens at least twice a week. I am slumbering soundly when I am jolted awake by an outcry from my offspring.

It’s 1, 2, or 3 a.m. and one of them needs something. Usually it’s something simple, something they could easily fix on their own, but they seem to forget how to do anything in the dark, cold night.

My husband and I end up taking them to the potty or tucking them back in. Don’t get me wrong, I’d rather they holler out than wet the bed, but I am left wondering where I went wrong.

I have failed to teach my children how to climb out of bed, walk five feet to the bathroom and go potty on their own. I have also failed to show them how to tug on their sheet corner to pull covers back over their little cold bodies.

They just can’t seem to do it without help.

Every once in a while they actually NEED help from a parent. But they cry wolf so many times I don’t know when to believe them.

The worst is when they wake up sick. I am ashamed to say I am not a good parent when it comes to helping them feel better in the wee hours of the morning.

I should be patient, loving and consoling. Instead I transform into a grizzly she bear who is woken from hibernation and just might devour her cubs.

I can’t help myself and normally after I go back to bed and get a couple of winks of sleep in, I wake up feeling like a complete jerk.

A few weeks a go my oldest went to bed with an earache. He ended up sleeping a record of 2 hours before hollering out for help. At 10:30 p.m., when I was just getting ready to tuck myself in, he shouted out in pain.

We tried relieving the pressure and pain by using an old home remedy of steamed onions and a warm rag. That helped for about five seconds. At 11:30 my husband ran to the nearest Wal-Mart and got numbing eardrops.

By midnight he was a whole new kid. And we were ready to go back to bed. Well at least my husband and I were. My oldest was wide awake. We set him up downstairs watching Netflix on the LoveSac. Thirty minutes later he was up by our bed wide eyed and whining.

We forced him back onto his bed but he wasn’t going to go to sleep. He wasn’t tired and he wasn’t happy. I lied in bed listening to him scream at us for 30 minutes. He wanted me to sleep by him.

We hollered back and forth to each other for what felt like forever. I was so tired I was delusional and immature. I had some pretty stupid comebacks including something like, “Don’t you realize that I have to get up in less than 5 hours?”

Yeah, I am sure that my 5-year-old with an earache can calculate his mother’s sleep total.

My husband hit the breaking point at 1 a.m. and went to lie by him.

We got about 4.5 hours of sleep that night – way too little for a tired, pregnant mother.

But it’s sort of my fault. I should have gone to bed an hour earlier. And, had I laid by him when he was wide awake at midnight, I could have got at least six hours.

I just can’t think clearly in the moonlight. All the sick little boy wanted was his mommy to lay by him while he fell asleep. I should have done that.

I’ve got to learn to control myself when jolted from bed in the night. My boys are 5 and 3. It’s okay for them to holler for help in the night.

But I think I might try having cover-pulling-up contests and potty-break practices to get them trained on what to do when they wake up with minor incidents.

Then maybe we can all go a couple of weeks between nighttime episodes. Until we have a newborn that is.

I’m dying to know, how do you keep your cool when woken up by your babies at night?

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sarah Moon
    Mar 08, 2012 @ 15:04:38

    o man…that is hard. I know that feeling of feeling like a jerk when you are finally with it and ready to start the day after being snappy and rude cause we’re so tired!
    What has worked for us in the past is just praying about it before bed. With the kids and without. That way, they know how important it is for you to get the rest you need in order to be happy! I think the worst thing I could have done during some sleepless nights is turn on the T.V. Completely stimulating, and will probably make it so the kids doesn’t go back to sleep for an even longer period of time. But it’s so tempting when all I want to do is crawl back in bed. I think your idea of practicing is genius. Good Luck!


    • Natalie
      Mar 08, 2012 @ 21:23:03

      Sarah, you are right! The TV is a total stimulant. When my oldest was a tiny baby and would wake up in the night, I would take him into the living room and turn on the TV. Who knew Sesame Street came on in the middle of the night? Well, I would fall asleep on the couch, but it totally woke him up. I don’t know why I didn’t remember that during our most recent incident. I guess I was too tired to think 🙂 I am going to start saying some major prayers, hopefully that will help. Thanks!


  2. Jess
    Mar 08, 2012 @ 17:47:44

    I don’t have any advice, just sympathy. My oldest can take himself to the bathroom in the middle of the night, but my own 3 year old just wails for us to come and get her. I only keep my cool because I know just getting it over with will get me back in bed sooner. 🙂


    • Natalie
      Mar 08, 2012 @ 21:25:04

      Jessica – You are totally right. If I can keep my cool and help them quickly, then I can fall back asleep quicker. I just have to remind myself of that in the wee hours of the night. Hopefully someday I can keep my cool like you 🙂


  3. Trackback: What Boogers Taught Me This Year « Boogers on the Wall

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