I Want My Epidural Back, page 9
. . . I’M STILL CRYING
OKAY, YOU KNOW WHAT I HATE? WHEN LITTLE Miss Braggypants decides to tell me how her badass kids slept through the night at like two months old and how she doesn’t understand why all these parents bitch and moan about not getting enough sleep. I’m like, hellllllo brainiac, there’s a reason Starbucks is popping up on every block all over the world. It’s not because people like to spend half their paychecks on fancy coffee drinks. It’s because most parents are so F’ing tired every morning they literally can’t function enough to make a 16-cent cup of coffee in their house. And I know you think you’re all high and mighty because your brilliant techniques made your baby sleep through the night, but I am 200% convinced that you just got a good sleeper. Because guess what? I sleep trained too. And one of my kids sleeps like a narcoleptic who downed a bottle of Ambien, and the other one wakes me up like every ten minutes.
Bedtime is for succccckers
SO I KNOW I’M SUPPOSED TO BE writing my own book and shit, but my three-year-old son, Holden, offered to write a chapter and I’d be an idiot not to say yes. I mean writing this thing has been a bitch, and I don’t get paid unless it’s a certain number of words, which means I might have to start writing really long sentences and saying things that don’t matter like talking about random stuff like the trees and superheroes and toys and unicorns and making it weave into the story somehow so you can’t tell that I’m just attempting to reach a certain number of words by going on and on and on and on a lot longer than I should about subjects so that I hit the number of words this is supposed to be and they pay me. Shit, that sentence was so long and pointless I can’t remember WTF I was saying. Oh yeah, Holden offered to write a chapter and I said yes. I mean I basically give all my money to my kids anyways, so let’s let him earn it. And I know you’re only three, kiddo, but it better be a long chapter, like at least one thousand words. So anyways, here goes. A little chapter written by Holden Alpert:
Okay, even though we’re toddlers and think stupid shit like eleventeen is a real number and rainbow is an actual color and Caillou isn’t a whiny douchebag, we’re pretty much geniuses (geniae???) when it comes to stalling tactics at bedtime. I’m talking about some seriously brilliant shit. So I’ve polled a bunch of my toddler buddies and come up with a list of awesome ways to avoid going to bed at night. If you’re a toddler and your mommy was stupid enough to leave this book within your reach, get ready to take some notes. Here is a bunch of kickass ways to stall at bedtime:
1. Let’s start with a good one. After your mommy tucks you in and leaves, drop something on the floor, like a book or a toy or something. Something that’ll make a large THUD. Then come out of your room complaining that you bumped your head and you need a kiss. Your mommy’ll be all panicky and won’t want you to go back to sleep until she’s watched you a while to make sure you’re behaving okay. Just don’t push it and act too tipsy because the last thing you want is a trip to the ER.
2. Step one: Say you’re thirsty. Step two: Watch your mommy cave because she can’t deny you water without feeling like a total child abuser. Step three: Tip back that dinky cup of water and drink. And drink. And drink. And drink. Until she finally realizes you’ve been drinking nothing but air for the past thirty seconds. Muhahahahaha, you have now gotten to stay up thirty seconds longer. Suckkkkker.
3. So have you ever noticed that human beings do not come in the color clear? And you know what’s awesome about that? Your mom can’t see inside your body. And that’s awesome because your mom will have no idea whether there’s poop in you or not. So just back that tush up onto the toilet and cop a squat for as long as you want. And then grunt a little and say stuff like, “It feels like there’s still poop inside me.” And there’s nothing she can do but wait.
4. Okay, I just got out my stopwatch and timed myself, so listen up, buttmunches. Do you know that it is physically impossible to do “Five Little Monkeys” in less than 28 seconds? But “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” can be sung in 3.5 seconds. I shit you not. Whatever you do, do NOT whine and beg for “one more song.” Whine and beg for one more specific song.
5. When you call Mommy back into your room and she sounds totally pissed off because she hasn’t had a moment to herself all day, just say this.
MOMMY: (through gritted teeth) What?!
TODDLER: Can I have one more kiss?
Watch her soften up like a stale Chips Ahoy in the microwave. She’s not allowed to get mad or say no. It’s the law.
6. To those of you brainiacs who aren’t potty trained yet but should be, nice work ’cause you’ve got a weapon in your ARSEnal. Yup, it’s poop, and here’s what you’ve gotta do. Hold that shit in (it’s a skill that only the most professional toddlers have mastered) until right when your mommy is shutting your bedroom door. And as soon as she starts to leave, let out a grunt or two to let her know you’re serious. Bada-bing bada-BM, you’ve bought yourself at least five more minutes while she cleans that shit up and puts on a new pull-up.
7. Speaking of tushies, flaunt it if you’ve got it. You know how if you swing a pocket watch in front of someone’s eyes, it can hypnotize them? Mommies are basically the same way if you wiggle a naked tushy in front of them. So drop those diapers and wiggle, wiggle, wiggle. Before she knows it, it’ll be midnight and she’ll be like, “Aggghhh, it’s so late! Damn that cute tushy!!”
8. Okay, maybe you don’t know it yet, but there’s a serious art form to picking the right book at bedtime.
TODDLER: Heyyy, I’m gonna pick this book because it’s the longest one.
Ennnnh, rookie mistake. Because before you know it, Mommy has skipped like nine pages and a million words and she’s saying, “The End,” and you’re like, WTF, I thought I picked a long book. The key is to pick a long book that you have MEMORIZED. That way if she skips a word, you can be like, “Heyyyy, where the F is the part where the fish falls into the teapot?!!” And make sure to wait at least five pages before you tell her she missed it so she has to go back.
9. MOMMY: Good night.
TODDLER: I forgot to say my prayers.
She can’t say no. If she does, she’s basically saying if anything happens to you or your loved ones tonight, it’s her fault and she’s okay with going to hell.
10. Alright, this one takes a little planning in advance, so it’s only for the most advanced toddlers, but here’s what you’ve gotta do. Is there something special you sleep with? Like a lovey or a blankie or that sharp sword that your mom let you sleep with once for a special treat but then you insisted on sleeping with it for the next two years. Hide that shit. Like shove it way under the couch or leave it in the trunk of the car or at the bottom of the hamper. Then when it’s time for bed, ask for it. “Wahhhhh, I can’t sleep without my Pookie Bear!!!!!” Then sit back, watch, and enjoy the show of Mommy and Daddy turning the entire house upside down searching desperately for it. And whatever you do, accept NO substitutes.
11. Yes, I know ten is a nice number to end on, but who the hell decided ten should be the magic number? So here’s #11. If it gets really bad, pull out the big guns. Say you’re worried that if you go to sleep, you’re going to die. That or cry so hard you throw up all over yourself.
ME: Holden, you did a great job sleeping last night!!
ME: What is it?
HOLDEN: I forgot to wake you up.
How NOT to keep your kiddo awake in the car
ME: Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go! Everyone to the car right now!
HOLDEN: But I’m in the middle of my ice cream.
ZOEY: And I have to go poop.
ME: Holden, take your last lick. Zoey, suck that turtlehead back in.
People in the restaurant are looking at me like I’m a total nutjob, but we are already super late and if we’re not in the car in five minutes, Holden is going to fall asleep on the car ride home and then he won’t take a real nap later and then I’m not going t
ME: No lollygagging, guys, let’s go!!
Awww crap, did I just use the word lollygagging? Excuse me while I kick my own ass for being such a dorkwad.
So I throw the kids in the car as fast as humanly possible and buckle Holden’s seat belt, but I do it too quickly and I accidentally pinch his peeper and now he’s screaming his head off and I have to slow down and turn into the nicest mommy in the whole world and apologize a thousand times to help him forget about the fact that I just scarred him for life.
ME: I’m sooooo sorry, buddy!!! I didn’t mean to!!!!
HOLDEN: Wahhhhh, kiss it!!!!!!!!!
ME: No, sweetie, I can’t kiss it.
HOLDEN: WAHHHHHHHHH, KISSSSSS ITTTTTTT!!!!
ME: Mommy cannot kiss your penis, honey.
Things I never thought I’d have to say. But after he screams for like a thousand more minutes I finally come up with a solution and I kiss my hand and I pat his peeper and I guess that’s good enough because he stops screaming finally and I get into the car and start to drive home. But when I glance in the rearview mirror that I have angled slightly down at that perfect angle that lets me see the road AND the kiddos, Holden’s eyes look totally heavy. Awwww shit, nooooo, don’t sleep yet!! I start asking him questions at a mile a minute to keep him awake.
ME: Holden, do you see that truck?! Holden, look out your window. Look at that car carrier! Holden, keep your eyes open! Oooooh, Holden, look at that blue car! It’s like a racecar. Look, it’s a puppy. Holden! Hollllldennnnn. Wake up! Wake up! Wake up! Don’t fall asleep yet, buddy. Look, it’s a cement mixer!!!
And I’m driving super fast, but I’m hitting every red light, and I’m blaring the music and I’m even pumping the brake super hard at red lights to make the car jump like one of those lowrider cars that bounces because I’m hoping that will keep him awake, but it’s totally not working and his eyes are about to close.
ZOEY: (sounding a lot like a poltergeist) RAWRRRRRRRRR, HOLDEN WAKE UPPP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
ME: Don’t do that, sweetie.
But I see his eyes open for a split second, so I change my mind.
ME: Wait, yes, do that!! Do that!!!
So Zoey keeps screaming at him and I have no idea how anyone can sleep through all this but apparently he can even though this is the same kid who wakes up in the middle of the night if the neighbor coughs next door. WTF? His eyelids flutter closed and 3, 2, 1 . . . he’s out. Shit. Now the best thing I can hope for is to drive around quietly and let him sleep for a while before we go home so he’s not a sleep-deprived maniac later today. So I turn toward the highway and give Zoey the shhhh finger in the mirror. And we’re driving quietly, until suddenly out of nowhere . . .
ZOEY: Look, Mom!! A coyote!
At first I’m like ennnnhhh, bullshit, but I look up and sure enough, standing in the middle of the circular ramp to the highway there’s a coyote on the grass.
ME: Wow, that’s weird, it is a coyote! Cool.
HOLDEN: What? What is it?!!
Awww shit, look who just woke up after a very restful three-minute nap.
ZOEY: It’s a coyote, Holden!
No, no, noooo, don’t say it!!! Because I don’t know how highways are where you live, but where we live, you drive very fast on them, and we’re already flying at fifty miles per hour on the highway and that coyote is lonnnnng gone. Shit.
HOLDEN: Where is it? I wanna see it!!
ZOEY: You missed it!
ME: Ohhh, I’m sorry buddy, we already passed it.
Shit shit shit. This is not going to go well at all.
ZOEY: It was sooooo cool, Holden!!! It was GIANT! And it was growling.
Ummm, no it wasn’t. It was standing there doing nothing.
ZOEY: He was like this, “Grrrrrrrrrr,” and he was as big as a lion!
HOLDEN: Go back!!! I wanna see the coyote!!!
Yeah, okay, I’ll just get off at the next exit in two miles and turn around and travel three miles back and then get off to turn around again and then go back to the entrance ramp and he’ll probably still be standing there in the same spot. Not.
ME: I’m sorry, Holden, we can’t.
HOLDEN: GOOOO BACKKKK!!!!
ME: We can’t, buddy. But let’s keep our eyes out for another one!!
Because you know, the highways are just lined with random coyotes.
HOLDEN: NOOOOO, GOOOOO BACK!!!!!! I (air suck) WANT (air suck) TO (air suck) SEE (air suck) THE (air suck) COYOTEEEEE (air suck)!!! WAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! (huge-ass air suck)
And in case it isn’t clear based on the number of H’s in the word wah, this goes on for the rest of the ride until we’re four blocks from home, at which point he suddenly stops screaming and the car goes silent and he falls asleep. Phew, finally. And at least he’ll get a two-minute nap in now. No wait, F that, I’ll just park the car and stay with him while he naps and surf on my phone and Zoey can go inside and watch TV. Brilliant! I pull up the driveway and open the garage door. The garage door that really never seemed very loud until this moment.
GARAGE DOOR: EERRRRGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!
HOLDEN: WAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH, I WANT TO SEE THE COYOTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I lovvvvvve sleepovers . . . when they’re at somebody else’s house
Dear friend who’s taking my kiddo for a sleepover tonight,
Here are some rules for it. Yeah, that’s right, rules for YOUR house. Because she’s coming back home to MY house tomorrow, and I don’t need you F’ing up all the hard work I’ve put into her over the past six years. So here goes.
1. If she wakes up in the middle of the night, you have my permission to tell her to “go the F back to sleep.” Just make sure the last words you say as you shut the door are something nice like, “night night, honey” or “sweet dreams.” You know, just in case it’s the last thing she hears. That’s what I do.
2. Please do not cuddle with her or rub her back while she falls asleep. (a) That’s creepy, and (b) she’s gonna come back to my house asking for that shit and, well, homey don’t play that.
3. Please don’t show her any scary movies or TV shows. Because if she comes home having nightmares about Chucky or Freddy or the Zombiepocalypse, I’ll tell you what I’m gonna do. The next time your kid comes to our house for a sleepover, I’m going to get her nice and addicted to Caillou before I send her back.
4. If your kid doesn’t sleep in underwear, that’s cool. For your kid. My kid sleeps in underwear. Period. There are three orifices down there and they need to be contained.
5. If she says something like, “My mommy doesn’t make me brush my teeth” or “At home I’m allowed to,” I fully expect you to send her home where she can do these things. And by “do these things,” what I really mean is get her ass kicked by me for lying and making me look like a shitty mom.
6. Please do not let her drink a gallon of water before bed. She will try. She will complain that she’s thirsty. She will be relentless. She will not, however, pay you back for the mattress she ruins if you can’t tell her no.
7. Don’t cook her like the biggest, bestest breakfast in the whole wide world, like chocolate chip pancakes with extra chocolate chips buried under a mountain of whipped cream. The goal is to make her like you, not to make her like you MORE than she likes me.
8. Please do not let her sleep with the lights on. Unless you are in fact offering to pay our electric bill for the next two years, in which case, do whatever the hell you want.
9. Yeah, I know that she might stay up a little late giggling and shit, but please don’t let her stay up till all hours of the night. ’Cause if she
10. If I forgot to pack her an extra pair of underwear and you lend her a pair, don’t expect them back for a while. Even if I see you a bunch of times. Because if we’re in front of other people, I’m not handing you a pair of little girl’s panties. That’s how rumors get started.
11. If you need me to pick her up for any reason, don’t hesitate to call me. AFTER 8:00 a.m. tomorrow.
That’s it. Hope it’s a blast!!
The mom whose ringer will be off tonight
Sometimes he transitions to his bed no problem. And sometimes I desperately need my afternoon “me” time and hell if I’m taking the risk.
HOLDEN: I don’t want these sheets!
ME: I’ll change them tomorrow buddy.
HOLDEN: I HATE them!