So, you’ve had a long day. Say, a field trip to the petting zoo. The kids got to ride a school bus, and a pony, and a tractor pulling a bed of hay. They fed sheep and goats, petted bunnies and ducks, while you tried to navigate the narrow path between curling up in the fetal position in some sort of OCD-induced catatonia, and cleaning their hands too many times thus spoiling their fun and revealing yourself to be THAT mother, the one that everyone hates. You came home, washed their hands (again), fed them lunch, and settled onto the couch for some TV “quiet time” that is the closest your little ones get to a nap these days.
You got up from your comfy couch nest 8 or 9 times to wipe butts, procure apples and Cheese-its, find “the mini-van with the storage thingie on top,” assist with the donning of butterfly wings, and complete various other tasks that have nothing to do with quiet resting time. But now everyone is settled, and fed, and clutching precious objects quietly while the Miss Spider’s Sunny Patch Friends sing you a little lullaby.
Fade to black.
Yup, your kids are awake. You are not. This never ends well.
Here’s what you DON’T want to hear upon blearily clawing your way back to consciousness:
1) Running water
2) “Mommy, can you buy more chocolate bunnies? These are all gone.”
3) “I pee-peed in my underpants.”
4) The sound of the front door opening
5) Laughter, while lovely, is generally not a good harbinger.
6) “I’m sorry, it was an accident.” *
7) Crying, you know, the bad kind that means something is actually wrong. Luckily, I am far more likely to wake to the whiny kind that means something is vaguely displeasurable.
8) “I made cheesy eggs. Come and see.”
9) The sound of scissors opening and closing
10) Silence. As every mom knows, silence is the scariest sound of all.
* The “accident” was related to the running water sound mentioned in #1. On the bright side, my kitchen floor is now clean.
There are, of course, scarier sounds. The smoke alarm springs to mind, or emergency sirens. Thankfully I am a relatively light sleeper, so things never progress that far around here. (She says, knocking on wood, and her head, and anything else within reach.)