The Long Goodnight

Sometimes only a few words is all it takes to completely change a situation. Whether you are trying to diffuse a disagreement, tell someone how much you care, or get another driver’s attention, it just takes a few well chosen words.

One of the first words the munchkin could say clearly was, “help.” This word can definitely pack a punch in the right circumstances. For example, the munchkin whipped out this great word one time in the grocery store parking lot. I was trying to get the munchkin into his car seat, but he was disinclined to acquiesce. To show his displeasure he was holding himself as stiff as a board, and I was trying to get him to bend at the waist enough to get strapped in to his seat.

So, there we were in the grocery store parking lot, me karate-chopping the munchkin’s middle, and all of the sudden he throws his head out the window and lets out in his little voice, “Help! Help!” Those two words made a big difference. Where previously the scene had appeared innocuous enough, now I was frantically stuffing a fighting child into a van while he yelled, “Help!” in a little squeaky toddler voice. Thankfully I was able to get him safely strapped in before anyone thought I was abducting him.

Last week we had a situation where the hubs spoke just a few words in his sleep, but it changed my night completely. I woke up to the hubs sitting up and tapping me gently.

Me: Huh? What’s wrong?

Hubs: Goodnight, love.

Me: What do you mean? What’s going on?

Then the hubs rolled back over and went right on sleeping, never waking up. As he slept peacefully, I laid there staring at the ceiling, noticing how much I really need to dust the ceiling fan. The hubs can normally brighten my day with just a few words, but this time his two words made me miss out on a good night’s sleep!

Seat Lock

When I married the hubs, there was the normal blending of family traditions and idiosyncrasies. One thing his family does that I was not familiar with is “seat lock.” Seat lock is when a person leaves a place where they are sitting, if they yell, “seat lock,” then they get to sit there when they come back. If, say, they don’t know about seat lock because they’ve only been on three dates with a member of the family, they lose their comfortable spot on the couch and have to sit on the floor. Thankfully, it didn’t take me too long to figure out the rules, so I can now defend my comfy chair at family events.

Our little dog is the queen of “seat lock.” Mainly because she only has a few places she likes to sit, and she has made those places so covered with dog hair that no one would want to sit there unless armed with a jumbo lint roller.

The dog lounging in her favorite spot on the couch.

The dog lounging in her favorite spot on the couch.

I think it’s normal to be attached to a particular place, and claim it as your own. This last week I even talked to the hubs about this in my sleep. That’s right, I am the one sleep talking this time.

Apparently, the hubs woke up in the middle of the night to me yelling. He said that our conversation went like this:

Me: It’s my spot…. MY SPOTTTTT!!!!

Hubs: You’re ok, honey, just go back to sleep.

Me: You’re not listening to me. This is my spot!

Hubs: Yes, honey, you’re sleep talking. 

Me: It’s my spot, my spot, my spot!!!

I asked him what he did after all of this commotion, and he said, “I rolled over and went back to sleep as you continued to repeat ‘my spot,’ over and over…. There was no winning.”

Well, ok then. I guess he knew that I would definitely call “seat lock” on this spot that I apparently cared about so much!

Packaging Problems

Packaging is very important in our house – both literally and figuratively. Literally, the hubs works for a packaging company. He loves his job, and I am very grateful for it, but it does make it difficult to go shopping with him. As we walk through the grocery store he gets distracted by mascara and air compressors and dry erase markers, examining their packages.

There is another not-quite-so-literal way that packaging is important in our home: how I package my morning coffee. In the morning as the munchkin and I get going, I have a nice hot drink in a mug. It’s either coffee, or tea, or chai, but whatever it is the munchkin can’t have any of it. He has learned this, and it only took two years of asking for some almost every day. He now associates mugs with something that he is not allowed to touch or taste. I definitely use this to my advantage. If I want some juice all to myself and don’t want to share, or maybe want to sneak a special little piece of chocolate on a long day, I just have to put it in a mug. As long as whatever I want to keep the munchkin away from is “packaged” in a mug, it is safe. It is magic!

Yay!

He’s so sweet that I am normally happy to share with him, but sometimes I just want to drink my own cup of orange juice. Crazy, huh?

This past week the hubs’ own packaging (aka, his clothes) was the subject of his sleep talking. I was completely asleep when all of the sudden I was jolted awake by somebody moving in the bedroom. I sat up, and saw that the hubs was standing next to the bed, taking off his hoodie.

Me (looking at the clock and seeing it was almost 2:30 am): What on earth are you doing?

Hubs (continuing to shed clothing): Getting comfortable.

Me: Really?

Hubs: HEY! Don’t be grumpy!

Me: Yeah, I’m not being grum…

Hubs (still shedding clothing, and interrupting me): Oh, don’t be grumpy! No grumpy!

Me: Fine, no grumpy. I’m going back to sleep.

Hubs (climbing back in bed with significantly less clothing on than when he originally went to bed): Yep, yep, no grumpy.

In the morning he had no idea what he had done in the night. Apparently sleeping hubs decided his original nighttime packaging was just too constrictive. Thankfully the hubs is a master at fixing any packaging problem, he can do it even in his sleep!

Game Time

In our house, after the holiday season of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the New Year comes the season of athletic competition. Bowl games, Super Bowl, and March Madness come in rapid succession. All are significant holidays in the hubs’ life. We kicked off the sports season yesterday by watching a nail-biter of a bowl game.

Perhaps all of this athletic competition might have been on the hubs’ mind when he was talking in his sleep last week. I was climbing back in bed from refilling my water cup when the hubs threw off his blankets suddenly.

Me: You all right?

Hubs: I don’t know.

Me: Ok, well is something wrong?

Hubs: Your team is screwing up my team.

Me: Oh? How am I doing that?

Hubs: Oh, I don’t know.

Me: Alright, well, go back to bed.

The hubs listened to me, and rolled over and was quiet for the rest of the night. I am not sure what team he was talking about, but I trust that he got it straightened out in the end. If not, though, he will have plenty more opportunities to dream about sports teams in the coming days. After all, ’tis the season!

Family Ties

One of my favorite family activities around this time of year is the family gathering together to watch Christmas movies. My favorite is White Christmas, the hubs’ is Elf, and the munchkin has a special love of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. We can watch the same videos year after year, and we love spending family time with these great films.

Over a year ago the hubs and I actually were extras in a Christmas movie which was filming near our house. We had a nice afternoon seeing how movies are made and following directions as part of a crowd of extras. When the movie was released on December 1 this year, I searched it out, eager to see if we made it into the film.

I hesitated to purchase the film, however, after I read the reviews of our cinematic debut. These are actual reviews for the movie. Seriously.

“You aren’t going to recognize anyone else in this movie unless you attended church with or went to school with the group of friends behind the production of this low-budget Christmas movie.”

“This movie was painful to get through.”

“[I]f you’re looking for family-friendly, you found it. Only the most puritan of minds would find fault with this well-intended film where every story in the movie gets a happy ending. In fact, the only thing offensive about it is the writing, acting, and production values, which are below the scale of a bad made-for-tv movie.”

“Santa plays more like a dirty old man than a kindly old elf.”

“That is time I can never get back…But please don’t waste your money or time on this lousy movie!”

“Looks like it was shot in a church basement with a camcorder. Awful.”

That last one is my personal favorite because we shot our scenes at a church, including some time in a church basement, although not with a camcorder.

Now, I know that these reviews do not speak to our performances as we sat motionless in the background. However, based on the reviews of our first foray into professional acting, I guess we don’t need to be holding our breath for Hollywood to come knocking. I suppose it is for the best, because I do not think the family canine, delicate princess that she is, would handle fame very well.

The hubs was apparently tuned into the family spirit of the season this week as well when he talked in his sleep. I was having trouble staying asleep one night this week, and got up to get a glass of water. As I was trying to quietly slip out of bed, the hubs suddenly sat up, and turned to me.

Hubs: Well, that’s just unacceptable.

Me: What?

Hubs: Well, your nephew. He chose an event that is three hours long! So, now we have to wait for three hours instead of knowing now.

This was a surprising statement because the hubs and I do not have a nephew.

Me: Oh? So what are you going to do?

Hubs: I guess try to go to sleep.

Me: That sounds good. Anything I can do to help?

Hubs: Yeah, tell your people not to do that!

Me (laughing at how serious he is): Ok, I’ll try, but I don’t think they’ll listen to me.

Hubs: Yeah, I figure.

Me: You figure what?

Hubs: Bunch of crazies.

Me (feeling a little concerned that he thinks “my people” are crazy): What do you mean?

The hubs then pulled the blanket up over his head for a second, then popped his head back out.

Hubs: Just try to control your people.

Me: Ok, I will.

Hubs: I love you.

Me (leaning over and kissing his cheek): I love you, too.

Hubs: I’m all thrown off now.

Me: Oh, you are? Do you want another kiss?

Hubs: Yes, please.

The hubs held up his cheek for another peck, then rolled over.

Hubs: Ok, well goodnight.

Me: Goodnight, buddy.

After this lengthy asleep exchange, I finally got to go get my water. I am not sure why the asleep-hubs thought that I had a nephew. However, if some day we do have a nephew, I’m sure we will include him in the family tradition of watching Christmas movies. Maybe we will even show him the movie that his favorite Aunt and Uncle were extras in…maybe.

Precipitation Problems

The munchkin loves snow. When he wakes up in the morning, we throw open the shades and he looks out, calling, “Snow! SNOW!” Then when we go and run errands he points to the mounds already piling up in the parking lots, saying, “BIG snow.”

The munchkin loves snow so much that he wants to go out and play in it. This takes about twenty minutes to get both of us bundled to the point where we can go out and play. However, as soon as we get out into the snow, he realizes he has made a horrible and cold mistake and cries to go back inside. As soon as we are inside he refuses to take off his boots and hurls his body against the door, yelling, “SNOW!!” This cycle is repeated until the hubs gets home from work and it is time for dinner.

Here is the munchkin crying after I brought him inside, after he cried because he wanted to be brought inside. This is the picture I'm going to show people who ask when we are going to have a second child...

Here is the munchkin crying after I brought him inside, after he cried because he wanted to be brought inside. This is the picture I’m going to show people who ask when we are going to have a second child…

The munchkin’s hot/cold relationship with snow is not the only water problem in our home. The hubs’ sleep talking a few days ago involved precipitation as well.

I had a very bizarre dream recently. In my dream, the hubs was nonchalantly sitting next to me, pouring liquid into tiny glasses, then flinging it on me. This was one of those vivid dreams that seem like almost reality because it felt so real. At that moment, I really felt like water was sprinkling down onto me.

Flash forward to the next evening, the day after my weird dream. The hubs and I were headed out to a function and he turned to me and asked, “Do you remember me pouring water on you last night?”

I told him that I had dreamed that exact thing happening during the night, and would he please explain what he was talking about.

He explained that he, in a sort-of-awake-sort-of-asleep state, had reached over for his cup of water and grabbed it. He then raised his hand to his mouth to take a drink, but instead of the cup only his empty hand reached his face. In his still-asleep-ness he had dropped a full glass of water into the bed and did not even realize it! He said the water splashing all over in his lap woke him right up, and he quickly tried to clean it up, but not before I had gotten a little damp as well.

I have no idea how I stayed asleep through this whole escapade, but my subconscious must have known enough of what was going on to somehow incorporate it into my dream. I am hoping for a quieter week this week with less sleep talking or sleep drinking, but you know what they say: when it rains it pours!

Fear and Trembling

I hate scary movies. Really, honestly hate them. And haunted houses. Or haunted hay-rides, or really anything with “haunted” in the name. I do not like to be scared, even if I know it is all make-believe. Fear is just…scary!

It is not always even outside scary forces that make my heart race and palms sweaty. Sometimes it is my own thoughts that end up scaring me. For example, at church on Sundays we drop the munchkin off at his class, and are given a number that flashes on the screen in the service if he needs us. Whenever a number comes up in the service, I always think they mistyped it, and really it is us they are trying to contact. For example, our number is 6734 and sometimes 6834, or 7734, or 6733 come up on the screen. And then I work myself into a scared fit, convinced that the munchkin is in trouble, and I am not coming to him because the number is wrong.

Sometimes it is not even close to our number, yet my brain makes me freak out with fear that I am somehow missing out on my responsibility. The number could be 5487 and my fear convinces me that the childcare worker is dyslexic and has poor depth perception, and really meant to type 6734 and summon us.

I know I have a problem. I’m working on it.

The most fearless member of the family. Here she is, in a moment of extreme bravery, guarding the home for the ones she loves.

The most fearless member of the family. Here she is, in a moment of extreme bravery, guarding the home for the ones she loves.

Sometimes the hubs’ sleep talking scares me. I really only get truly frightened when he sits up or tries to get out of bed in his sleep. I worry that in his asleep state he will hurt himself or me.

This happened most recently a few weeks ago: I woke up to the hubs sitting up in bed, completely still. I asked if he was alright, scared he would try to get out of bed. He did not say anything, sat there for another minute, then rolled over as if nothing happened. It was a scary moment for the awake member of the family.

Just last week, though, the hubs was the one who was scared in his sleep. I woke up to him throwing his arms around wildly.

Me: What is it?

Hubs: There’s a bug!

Me, sort of concerned maybe there really was a bug: Really?!

Hubs, with more thrashing around: It’s a bug!

Me, realizing he was asleep: Yeah, well just get rid of it.

Hubs: Hate it. Hate that.

Me: Ok, me too.

Hubs: Bug. Gross.

He was quiet after that. I hope his experience with the bug in his sleep was not too frightening, because I know how awful it is to be scared!

Lost in Translation

The munchkin’s vocabulary has just exploded over the last two weeks. Almost every day he has a new word or two that he uses. Some of them I can clearly tell what he is trying to express. Some…not so much. Some are just downright awkward.

For example, the munchkin loves to go down the slide at the playground, and he likes to try to say the word, “Slide.” However, he does not quite have the pronunciation down quite right, so what he says sounds exactly like the term one might call a donkey, or refer to a person’s rump. And this word is not considered a very nice word in society, although the munchkin does not yet know that. When we go to the playground the munchkin gets so excited, he runs towards the equipment yelling, “Slide! SLIDE!!” Of course, what he’s yelling doesn’t sound like, “slide,” but sounds like that other word. And I know that he means, “slide,” and he knows that he means, “slide,” but the other parents and children at the park are not so well informed. They stand there staring as my toddler scrambles up the steps of the playground, stands triumphantly on the top platform, and bellows a mild curse-word. We are working on it.

Like the munchkin and his slight pronunciation issue, the asleep hubs is not so great at pronunciation sometimes. The other night he started mumbling in his sleep, waking me up.

Me: What’s wrong?

Hubs: Slerpinscop…

Me: Hmm? You ok?

Hubs: Beecrews…sherish…

Me: Yeah, fine, go back to sleep.

The hubs was quiet after that and I am not sure what he was trying to say. Thankfully, both he and Rory normally are better at pronouncing their words!

The Apple and the Tree

“The apple doesn’t fall from the tree.” In other words, “You will inevitably turn into your parents.”

The munchkin has certainly exemplified this statement. He is just like his daddy already, in lots of ways. They both sneak snacks before dinner. They both like to be outside. They both dislike eating vegetables.

A few weeks ago we found out one more way the munchkin is like his daddy: he talks in his sleep. We were traveling, and the munchkin had missed his nap. When we finally got settled in the rental car, he fell asleep almost immediately. About 20 minutes down the road, we heard him thrashing around. Then he started babbling, too. However, he was still asleep. The munchkin was talking in his sleep. He kept it up for a few minutes, then finally went back to resting quietly.

Pics or it didn't happen.

Pics or it didn’t happen.

Talking away, complete with gestures.

Talking away, complete with gestures.

The munchkin has not talked in his sleep since then, so I think it was a one time thing because he was so tired.

The munchkin is not the only one who has talked in his sleep recently: the hubs has been talking too. Most recently, I woke up to him propped up on his elbow, mumbling.

Me: Hmm, you ok?

Hubs: It’s just everyone is panicking!

Me: What? Is everything ok?

Hubs: No! It’s just a mess, and they’re really upset.

Me: Really, who is?

Hubs: Yeah, it’s awful.

Me: Ok. Who is it?

Hubs: I mean, real panic.

Me: Oh, alright. Can I do anything?

Hubs: No, I don’t think so.

Me: Ok. I’m going back to sleep then, you should too.

Hubs: Yeah…maybe.

Then he did not say anything else. I’m not sure what was so upsetting in the hubs’ dreams, but I know it was not the fact that the munchkin is just like him. Even when asleep, the hubs loves that the munchkin is a lot like him, and I like it, too.

Not Helping

We all do it – try to make a situation better, but actually make it worse. And then the inevitable happens, whoever we are trying to help rolls their eyes and says, “Not helping!” I know I have used that phrase before too. I used it just today when the dog tried to help me put the munchkin down for a nap, but ended up getting herself stuck in the nursery and barked, waking up the munchkin. “Not, helping dog. Not. Helping.”

Sometimes I’m the one who’s very unhelpful, making life difficult for myself. When I take the munchkin to the grocery store, I tend to narrate our shopping trip, to try to build the munchkin’s vocabulary and social skills, saying things like, “Time to get some milk! Milk is white,” and other things like that. So this past week we were at the store, walking past a large display of backyard barbecue foods, and the bottom row was being stocked by a younger gentleman employee of the store.

As we walked by I continued my narration of the shopping trip for the munchkin, “Wow! Look at those BUNS!”

This made the hard working store employee jump, and look up with concern. I realized how this must have sounded to him, and tried to correct my mistake by loudly adding to the munchkin, “For eating! Hamburgers on! Brown buns! AHH, let’s go get toothpaste!”

Not helping, self. Not. Helping. Then I hustled away toward the toiletry aisle, cheeks burning, pride in smithereens on the tile floor. I am my own worst enemy.

Sometimes, albeit rarely, the hubs is the one who is unhelpful. Several weeks ago the munchkin got sick, and was getting up in the night, inconsolable. On one of these sick nights, I went to get him when he cried in the early hours of the morning and came back to the bedroom where I was bouncing him.

Hubs: Oh, he’s up?

Me: Yes, he just doesn’t feel very good.

Hubs: How about I get up and make a bottle for him?

Me: That would be really helpful, thanks.

But the hubs didn’t move, but just laid quietly, while I continued to bounce the baby.

Me: Buddy? Are you going to go make the bottle?

Silence.

Me: Hey! You aren’t asleep! Aren’t you going to get up?

Nothing.

Me: ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?

Not helping, hubs. Not. Helping.

By this time, however, the munchkin had fallen back to sleep being bounced, not actually that hungry after all. So, I maneuvered him back into his crib, where he slept until morning. In the morning when I confronted the hubs about promising to make a bottle and then not actually getting out of bed, he had no idea what I was talking about. He had been asleep for the whole conversation, and was not even aware that the munchkin had been up in the night.

When it comes to my life, sometimes sleep talking is just not helping.