All In A Night’s Work

The cry for “Mommy” shook just enough of me awake to see the digital display, “4:00 a.m.” floating double on the dresser, and I zombied myself to the child in question.

“What’s wrong, honey?”

“I waked!”

The 12 percent of me that responded to his call, heard this as a proclamation of the end of a night – the beginning of a bedraggled, sleep-deprived, cranky day, and I strongly defended my position.

(It hadn’t occurred to me that his chosen words “I waked” would surely mean a rather unsettling regression in language skills, but I repeat, the largest portion of my brain was still happily dreaming under her covers.

“Oh no, honey. It is not time to be awake”

“I waked!” he yelled again, anger and tears escalating.

“Zachary, it is the middle of the night. We are not waking up now, but I will lie down with you for a few minutes.”

At this generous offer, his frustration spiked into spastic kicks and pushes thrust into my knees and thighs.

Enforcing the “Abuse will not be tolerated no matter what time of day or night” rule, I said with stern authority,

“Zachary, I will not be kicked and pushed. If you continue to do that, I will not stay in here with you.”

He lay still next to me, but continued to quietly whimper.

“Honey, what is wrong? Are you cold? Do you need warmer jammie’s?”


This shocking news jolted the remaining 88 percent of me from her lazy slumber in the room across the hall, and she bolted to join us in a soggy bed. Gasping in a giant swig of guilt, I grabbed my (wet from the waist down) son out of his bed and smothered him in a hug.

“Zachary! I am so sorry! I misunderstood you! Sweetheart! I am so so so sorry!”

He giggled, (probably out of relief that he is not the spawn of a satanic entity forcing him to sleep in his own urine) and answered,

“It’s ok, Mommy. You didn’t understand me. Don’t worry.”

The rigmarole of changing diapers, pants, fitted sheets, blankets, and a rattling chain of remorseful apologies, served to eradicate any sleepy inclinations either myself or the three old had left, so we engaged in some reading and slumber party chatting until the urge to curl up and drift off returned.

Which it did.

At 6:00 a.m.

So both of us did just that…

…In dry clothes and sheets.

Because, contrary to what my initial reaction might indicate, I do NOT believe that shame and discomfort are appropriate or acceptable toilet training tools.


Have a click!


18 responses to “All In A Night’s Work

  1. Laura Dysarczyk

    You are a great mommy. Bedraggled or not….:)

  2. I wish every Mom embarking on the potty training adventure could read that post, especially the last sentence. Great Mothering Em!

  3. You can only train with shame. The best mothers in the world know that.

  4. You are such a wonderful mommy. When mine awoke wet in the middle of the night/too early in the morning for me to want to function, I would just strip the bed, change their clothes, and then take them to my warm bed where the remaining 88% of me was still sleeping. I rationalized this in my head as the right course of action since my children have always shared bedrooms and I was trying to avoid anyone else waking up. Of course, in reality, I was really just too tired and wanted to return to my bed as quickly as possible before the warm imprint of my body had disappeared.

    • Here’s the funny thing, Rita…Until you wrote this, it hadn’t occurred to me to do that. Which is so weird because now that Z is in a big boy bed, he sometimes joins us around 5 am. Totally fine with both of us because he goes back to sleep until about 7. So, I’m not sure if it was the OCD portion of me that couldn’t leave the sheets on the bed in their wet state (although i had no problem with them sitting in the clothes basket in the room in that same state). So, not exactly sure. Your way would have made much more sense. And the most ironic part of this is that Isabelle has NEVER leaked in her bed and last night, after posting this, she did. Steve said she was playing with her diaper before bed and it wasn’t on right. Changing her sheets is much more of an ordeal with her bed being a crib, but we couldn’t bring her in with us because every time we try that, she thinks its a fantastic party with Mommy and Daddy and not at all a place to sleep!

  5. I bet he’ll remember that special two-hour time with mommy forever:) xoxo Katie

  6. I therapy school!

  7. That was supposed to say “I heart therapy school.” REALLY need my coffee, apparently.

  8. There is nothing sadder than a tiny person in the middle of the night all cold and wet with urine.

    Poor pumpkin. No harm done. You hugged and apologized. You made a mistake. Come over here and witness real therapy-savings-account conversations.

    • oh, yes. Those conversations are bountiful in our weekly round-up too. We’ve had at least seven since the urine incident. In what order shall I save? Therapy, Retirement, College? College, Therapy, Retirement? Retirem….or, wait. Should I put off this decision for when we are actually saving?

      • Retirement. Then talk when you’re actually saving. College is loanable. Therapy is optional. Retirement, especially when your uneducated kids are in therapy, is paramount.

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