SEXIEST PERSONS ALIVE

Saturday, March 28, 2009

when an instruction manual would come in handy

Or The Valium Fairy.

It's 2am. Lying in bed reading. Ready to turn out the light when ...



Heart jumpstarts into angina mode. Who died? Fumble out of bed. (Damn, that's a loud ringer). Answer phone. Small, quiet voice ... "Mommy?" Aw shit, that's right. Daughters at slumber party ... "I can't sleep."

Relief. No, not relief. This will take longer than bad news call. Make a few suggestions and reassurances. Hang up.

Call number two, ten minutes later: Ask if they watched any scary movies ... "Well, yeah." Which one? ... "Disturbia." What's it about? "Something about a serial killer."

Great. (On the family room television? What the hell?) Talk her through deep breathing (searching for soothing therapy voice to replace pissed off voice).

Call number three, fifteen minutes later: Ask if anyone has scared her or done anything to make her uncomfortable (older sibling in the house). "No. Nothing like that. I promise. " More coaching on the deep breathing. Suggest she read until she falls asleep. More soothing encouragement (through gritted teeth).

Call number four: "The lazyboy chair I'm trying to lie down on? It keeps popping back up." (tears). "Can you come get me?"

No, I say. I am not picking you up. (FuckFuckFuck. Should I?) You can read until morning if you have to. Find a spot next to your sister. Keep breathing, honey, and stop thinking about calling me. "Ok. I love you."

I love you, too.

An hour later? I know she is sleeping. But I am not.

Update: As I had hoped, my daughter was asleep by 2:45a.m.
I did not get to sleep until 4:30a.m.

21 comments:

Maggie May said...

Oh God this is so me.

Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...

Ack!

We got one or two of those calls with the two older daughters. My favorite was when the oldest called to tell us that two of the girls at the slumber party were drinking alcohol. She wanted us to come and get her. My husband did, but as he was leaving our house at midnight, he said, "Why can't she just drink with the rest of the girls?" Joking, of course. I laughed. But then he added, "Seriously, couldn't she have just gone in the other room and fallen asleep?"

Should you go get her? You know your child and what is best. At a Girl Scout camping trip, I had one Brownie who was very blue and thought she might want to go home. I had her move her sleeping bag next to mine, and I suggested she close her eyes and try to rest for 20 minutes, and then if she still felt like leaving we could call her mom. She said that seemed like a good plan. She fell asleep shortly thereafter, and when she woke up in the morning, she said brightly, "I did it! I did it! I'm so happy! I made it through the night! My first sleepover!" So, we were both glad she tried it. I didn't sleep a wink that night. But I'm sure your daughter is glad she made it, too.

:-)

phd in yogurtry said...

maggie -- thanks for saying so : )

cheri -- this was a party at one of her longtime friends. sometimes she has trouble sleeping here, on nights before the standardized tests, for example. so the "I can't get to sleep" is familliar; trouble at this girl's house, not at all.

I knew she was ok (but had to ask, just in case) so I felt I made the right decision, but the doubts creep in. When I learned, next day, she was asleep within 10 minutes after the last call (when I said "no, I won't pick you up. the worst that can happen is you lay awake reading until morning.") I knew I had done right. She called one other time two years ago, with good reason. Someone left a jumbotron television on and she couldn't figure out how to manage the controls. Argh. (Note to parent hosts: please supervise all TV watching.)

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

The whole day is fuzzy after a sleepless night--I hate it.

I'm a fan of kids toughing it out, so I think you did the right thing (and asked all the right questions).

Brigit said...

And it doesn't stop. It just changes. When my daughter was young, I tried to convince her to stay. Now my daughter is 19 and I find myself saying, if you need me, or need to get home, ring me. And she has once. The kids at a party were all getting into couple situations after drinking, and she felt really uncomfortable, so I picked her up at 12.30am. Half an hour drive, along a foggy, country road. Then had to go back the next day to pick up her car.

Still I'd rather she was safe than sorry.

Rachel Cotterill said...

I don't have kids so I've never felt this for myself, but you describe it so well that I could have been there. She's lucky to have such a great mum.

Alison said...

Parenting is such hard work sometimes. But I would never have known the true meaning of "patience" without it. Well done!

blognut said...

You know your kid; I think you did the right thing, too.

I was on the "parent host" end of that question just last week. My son had a little guy over for the night and he started the, "I wanna go home," whine at around midnight when my son fell asleep. I tried once or twice to get him settled down and off to sleep, then I had to let him call home because it was becoming very clear to me that I would never go to sleep that night unless this child left our house.

AnnD said...

Awwwwww! What a sweet kid!!! My heart melted when I read that!

I remember being so homesick at slumber parties. My parents finally but an end to coming to get me but I wasn't at a party...I was at gymnastics camp two states away!

I even got homesick my first night of college. My parents dropped me off, they went out to dinner and found me waiting in the living room when they got back home. But, I eventually got over it.

Orion said...

it's always crazy shit that keeps those kids up. last night 2 hours after "bed time" Mr. 5 was crying like there was some slimy monster about to drop into bed with him. i ventured up there to drag the beast out with a fury only to find Mr. 5 was upset he didn't get to eat a piece of string cheese before bed time.

here's to keeping your sanity... at least you're out of the sippy-cup adventures.

Heather T said...

oh, jeez, I hate movies like that. And the kids can't pull themselves away for fear of looking scared. Not me, man. I learned way early that I hated movies that scared me. I just walked out of the room or hid my eyes or something. There was bound to be at least one other person at the party who would come along with me.

How was she the next day?

Andrea's Sweet Life said...

I think you handled it really well! Especially since she took it well when you said you wouldn't be picking her up.

And I'm in my 30's and even I had trouble falling asleep after watching Disturbia!

Mark said...

There are no easy answers. Been there, done that and done it again and again ...

Deb said...

I think you did the right thing. She needed to hear your voice, that's all. Sounds like neither one of you got enough sleep!!

Health Psych said...

My daughter just had her first camp. I maintained a good degree of composure until I got home and kept noticing little things she'd made for me or drawings...She seemed to depart without a care in the world...she confessed, on return, that she was in tears as soon as the bus went around the corner..but she recovered and had a great time.

These things are so hard at times!

phd in yogurtry said...

heather -- she stayed horizontal the entire day, amazingly (so did I). hit the sack early without any prodding.

Alison said...

Oh and that's an Australian phone/ringtone too.PMG = Postmaster General.Telecom is now Telstra and one of the evil phone companies of the world. My dad was a postmaster in the 60's.

JCK said...

Ugh...Is THIS what I have to look forward to?

Reluctant Blogger said...

Like Jenn, I favour children doing what they agreed to do when it comes to staying overnight (well, up to a point - not if people are being very mean or something) but I have to confess that I did go and fetch my son the first time he went on a sleepover. But the next time he was fine. But it was a selfish action - I wanted to be able to sleep myself and I wanted a glass of wine!

therapydoc said...

That was so funny. Thanks.

phd in yogurtry said...

alison -- I had no idea. Now that I think about it, that our old standard-issue phones didn't have a double ring. These days with "buy your own" cordless phones, there are all sorts of rings to choose from.

jck -- In all the nights of my kids spending the night away, this was the third time. Twice were slumber parties (mentioned). The other time, my other daughter was spending the night with a friend, she invited a third, they all squeezed into a full sized bed, and my dau called when she became squeezed against the wall, stuck pinched under the covers, and the heater was blasting her in the face. We had a long talk the day following this post, where I laid down some guidelines about when it's ok to call and when I expect them to tough it out. But we'll see.

rb -- I did go retrieve the daughter who was three-in-a-bed. She'd spent the night there a dozen times, probably, so I knew the mom wouldn't take it personally, and I hadn't gotten to sleep yet so it wasn't a tough decision.