Waking up in the middle of the night used to be business as usual. Most often the cause was related to my pregnancy woes. Sometimes it would be from a noise or my husband selfishly encroaching on my side of the bed and hogging the blankets.
Recently, a new culprit has emerged catching me completely off-guard.
It all started a couple of weeks ago when out of a dead sleep, a tiny hand grabbed me in an attempt to climb my body as if I was a rock wall obstacle on American Ninja Warrior. In a dazed confusion, I was startled to find my tiny tot standing beside my bed. As I tried to gather my thoughts and decide whether or not I was dreaming, he proceeded to hand me my glasses off my bedside table. His high-pitched voice then said, “Wake up Mommy. Get up.”
Can you guess what time it was? 1:30 a.m.!
Ummmmm no, it is absolutely NOT time for mommy to wake up.
This was my toddler’s first attempt at escaping the confines of his room at night. Before this, he was too afraid to step foot off his bed almost as if some terrible fate waited for him. After my husband and I tucked him into bed for the night, I wouldn’t hear or see him until he called for me the following morning. I was naive to think this would last
I’ve always heard horror stories about this happening and the potential result of children who take over their parent’s beds, never to return to their own. That sounds like my worst nightmare. My bed is my sanctuary, my safe haven, whatever you want to call it. But it’s mine, all mine – besides the small section I allow my husband to occupy.
Nothing gives me greater pleasure than burying myself underneath the covers in preparation for a mini-hibernation. I look forward to it all day, potentially borderlining as an unhealthy obsession.
I will admit there was something adorable about him wandering into our room carrying his favorite blanket and teddy in search of comfort. And even more so, that he chose to arrive at my side of the bed over my husband’s. Fast forward to today, and I pray he chooses to grant my husband with the privilege of escorting him back to his room instead of me.
This shit is no longer cute or funny.
My nights are now reminiscent of having a newborn waking me up every couple of hours leaving me in a barely functioning state of sleep-deprivation. What’s worse is there is no apparent reason for my son’s nocturnal nonsense.
Every time he chooses to grace us with his unexpected presence after hours, he receives the usual third degree in hopes of receiving answers behind his need for nighttime exploration.
Is something wrong?
Do you want or need something?
Why do you hate us!?!
The only response we’ll get is a taunting smile and laugh with no explanation. It’s almost as if he’s gaining amusement from torturing us.
I’ve come to terms with the notion that there isn’t a direct reason or cause, but rather he’s discovered this new talent or skill he wasn’t aware of before. This ability to leave his room at night and wander around on his own without permission or supervision is just so new and exciting he feels the need to repeat it several times a night, every night for who knows how long. He’ll soon grow tired and bored of this routine, right?
Prior to this experience, hearing noises in the middle of the night never caused me any concern. Most likely it’s the usual growing pains of an old house. Sometimes it’s an animal rummaging through the garbage outside. I never lay awake with worry that it could be something worse.
That is until now.
With every creak and every sound, I’m terrified of what might come next. No, not a burglar or someone trying to break it. But an adorable 3-foot, 40-pound human being whose little meat feat echo off the floor as they stumble across the hall into our room. This night offender who without notice or hesitation will startle you out of your peaceful slumber, forcing you to abandon the comfort and warmth of your bed.
If that’s not scary, I don’t know what is.
A good friend of mine had a similar experience with his tot and advised my husband and I to keep returning him back to his own bed and most importantly to be consistent. Night after night, we practice this and I do see some improvement with a potential light at the end of the tunnel, but oh, how I miss my nights of uninterrupted sleep.