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Dear Jo: Rage Against the Bathroom Wall

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March 20, 3 years A.B. (after-baby)

Dear Jo,

There is a reason God designed us to not remember our first few years of life. If we did, I’m afraid that following that “honor thy father and mother” commandment would be even more difficult than it already is at times. Today was one of those days when you hoped that Emerson’s developing brain would choose to trash the memory instead of retain it.

You should’ve been at church today. You weren’t looking forward to taking the two kids there all by yourself, but you needed an escape from solo parenting, even if for only an hour. But, that all changed when a stomach bug decided to attack Emerson while Paul was still in Indiana’s airspace. You hoped it would just be a 24-hour deal, but luck was not on your side.

Dear Jo: Rage Against the Bathroom Wall

The past few days have been a constant up and down of Emerson thinking he’s fine, running around the house and then heaving a short time later. You are exhausted and spent, and yet you aren’t even the one who is sick.

You have tried to keep him calm and subdued, sitting him in front of the television for a longer stretch than he’s ever had. You’ve done your best to keep his sleep schedule as regular as possible. Unfortunately he hasn’t seen the necessity in that.

Do you remember when sleep used to be a beautiful thing? When you used to enjoy napping and sleeping in? Why didn’t Emerson get that sleep gene from you? Maybe he’ll grow into it at some point. Mom keeps saying that once he’s a teenager, you’ll be complaining that he’s sleeping too much. That’s certainly nothing you’ve been able to complain about in the first three years of his life.

He came out of the womb protesting sleep. You had always laughed at the notion of a sleep schedule until you gave birth to a child who refused to sleep. Then your world revolved around that schedule. Good nap times led to good bed times, so you arranged your schedule and your life to honor his sleep, hoping he would submit to some shut eye. You even put black-out curtains in his room to try to trick his circadian rhythms into believing it was time to sleep. You prayed earnestly for him to sleep through the night. You had always prayed for patience before he was ever born. Little did you know that the answer to that prayer would not be a magical gift of suddenly understanding how to be patient. It would instead come in the form of a high-needs, colicky baby who would test your patience until you learned to grow some.

If only you had learned by now. Then maybe today would’ve gone differently.

He looked tired. He acted tired. You had this false sense that maybe today he would just go to sleep. He had been doing better with naps. At least before he got sick. You went through the whole routine. You talked about it being nap time. You told him his body needed rest, so it could heal. You thought he understood. You read him two books that morphed into four. You sang him a song and rubbed his back. You asked him to close his eyes. Instead, he rolled onto his side, facing the wall instead of you. Every few minutes he’d fidget and move. You tried to let it go. You tried to remind him gently. The gentle reminders turned into more terse ones. You began to calculate the time in your mind. All you wanted was a few minutes to yourself. Maybe you’d even take a shower. Or maybe you’d go lie down on the couch (let’s be honest, that was the more realistic option).

But he wouldn’t sleep. He needed to sleep. He needed to heal and to do so, he needed sleep.

You reminded him again that it was nap time. With each fidget, you felt your cheeks warm and sweat form on your upper lip. Why wouldn’t he just go to sleep?! He was tired!!

And then you yelled. You yelled at him to CLOSE HIS EYES! To GO THE FRICK TO SLEEP! He looked at you. And he laughed.

You stormed out of the room and slammed the door behind you. Tears streamed down your face as you slammed the bathroom door closed. And then you punched the wall.

Why wouldn’t he just sleep? How could he not sleep? His body was so tired. Why wouldn’t he just listen?

And then you heard Lyla. You wanted to blame Emerson for waking her. Indirectly, maybe it was his fault, but really you knew it was yours. You were the one who slammed the doors and hit the wall. You were the one who yelled. You sat on the bathroom floor and cried. When you finally felt like you could open the door again, you heard both kids lying in their separate beds, singing and laughing. And you wanted to start crying all over again.

Dear Jo: A {fictional} Diary of a Modern Mom“Dear Jo: A Diary of a Modern Mom” is a serial fiction story written by Meagan Church. Stay tuned for the next diary entry of one mom’s attempt to chronicle what she has been told are the days she shouldn’t forget…spit-up, tantrums, milestones and all. Visit the Dear Jo page to catch up on the already-published entries. And, be sure to subscribe today, so you don’t miss a single installment:


Have you download my free eBook “Motherhood Doesn’t Come with Sick Days…and other lessons from parenting”? Also, be sure to join the Unexpectant Facebook community today.

Motherhood Doesn't Come with Sick Days

{Photo credit: ©Meagan Church.}

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