Somnus Interruptus


“Mommy! Come quick!”

I bolted upright at my son’s cry and was two steps down the hall before I even realized I was awake. At least, I think I was awake. The jolting in my heart as a surge of adrenaline rocket-powered my body to the kids’ room conveyed a sort of nightmarish quality to the darkened scene. I raced to Caleb’s bedside, ready to confront wild-eyed marauders, foul sewer-dwelling beasts, or, at the very least, a case of the middle-of-the-night heaves.

“What is it, Caleb? What’s wrong?” I spluttered, still trying to shake the sleep from my head.

“I can’t find Shu Shu!” he wailed.

Shu Shu? My brain stripped a gear trying to process the nonsensical phrase until I remembered. Yesterday, Katie found a discarded baby doll of hers in the closet and, loftily declaring herself too old for dolls, gave it to Caleb with the magnanimous air of a queen imparting a grand favor. For his part, Caleb glommed onto Shu Shu right away*; he informed Paul and I that he was her Daddy and then spent the day poking a plastic baby bottle into her face and wrapping her up in his old baby blankets. When we tucked him in last night, he insisted on making a bed for Shu Shu down at the foot of his bed, complete with a tiny doll pillow and a small stuffed Hello Kitty Happy Meal toy for her “teddy”.

Apparently, Shu Shu didn’t show up for Caleb’s four a.m. roll call.

I have to tell you, when I found out what all the yelling was about, I was not exactly a model of motherly patience and forbearance.

Still, I am not immune to the pathetic cries of my offspring, no matter how irritated I am, so after reading Caleb a tiny riot act about how nighttime is for sleeping and not taking inventory, I felt around on the floor and found Shu Shu where she’d been kicked off the bed and into a pile of dirty clothes.

Nestling his baby back in his arms, Caleb promptly fell asleep.

I, however, lay awake until about twenty minutes before the alarm went off.

All I can say is that he better not expect me to babysit.

* And yes, Paul and I are totally cool with the whole “boys playing with dolls” thing. We figure that this way, Caleb’s future wife has a decent chance of getting him to change a diaper now and then.

12 responses »

  1. Ugh, I know EXACTLY what you’re talking about. Both of my daughters got baby Cabbage Patch dolls for Easter (from their grandma, who refused to buy one for me when I was literally the ONLY girl in fifth grade who didn’t own one…) and while the oldest has learned that it’s okay to walk away from a toy- even a doll!- for a day, week, month or year, the four-year-old has not.

    All weekend, it was “Mom, I have to go to the bathroom. Can you hold my baby?” or “Mom, I don’t want to hold her anymore, but she wants you.” (Followed by, “Mom, don’t put her on the couch. You need to PLAY with her.”) Oh, the tears and hysterics that were cried when this “grandma” refused to play caregiver indefinitely while the “mama” went outside, ate her lunch, rode her new scooter, drew with sidewalk chalk, played with other toys and generally took a break from her new baby doll.

    So funny! Besides, we’re too young to be grandmas. 😉

  2. Awww, that is so sweet! Maybe not at 4am though. I too would have to dig deep for Mama Love then.

    Funny and SO TRUE about boys and baby dolls. Caleb’s future wife will be thrilled to hear this story! And maybe falsely optimistic 🙂

  3. Good training I’d say. Not only he’ll be good at changing diapers every now and then, he can also answer the baby’s cry at 4AM or midnight – lucky future wife 🙂

    I hope you can catch a nap today 😉

  4. We gave our oldest son a doll just before his brother was born. To practice. It seemed a clever thing to do.

    Until he took the thing, cradled it in his arms, then held it by the foot and bashed it on the floor than dragged it through the house, its waxy plastic head thumping against every table leg and counter cornenr in its path.

    Then I just broke out into a cold sweat and began to fear, in earnest, for the future.

  5. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been called upstairs at those same un-Godly hours only to be told a story, or something similar to what you were faced with. I mean, come on! I don’t know many mommies that react well to such an occurrence, so don’t feel bad.

    I bought Ian a baby all his own when he kept swiping Morgann’s dolls without her knowledge. I cannot tell you how many times I had to save a doll from being torn in half due to the tug-of-war that was taking place. Michael hit the ceiling when he saw that Ian had his own Cabbage Patch baby (it was a boy named Connor for Pete’s sake!). I had allot of explaining to do, which turned into an almost-fight, until Michael’s mom told him that he too had his very own baby – and it was a girl doll! So, I simply stuck my tongue out at him, and walked away with my head held high 🙂 He was OK with it after that, though he still denies that he ever played with dolls! But, if your theory has any credence, I think his doll play worked out well since he’s a champion diaper changer 🙂

    Priceless story about Michael…lol! Maybe his mom would send his doll back to him so he and Ian could play together. 🙂

  6. Cute story! I love the way you write when you share things like this. I’m sure it’s neat to go back and read them again years down the road too.

    Thanks! I hope my kids will enjoy reading about themselves on my blog when they grow up; to confess, I’m half afraid they’ll report me to Dr. Phil.

  7. Oh, and my mother still has my brother’s doll, a Cabbage Patch kid named Clifford Clive. We like to remind him that Clifford is ready to go home with him at any time. ha.

    How hilarious! Maybe Clifford should just show up on your brother’s doorstep one day, suitcase in hand.

  8. I totally know what you mean about being halfway to their room before you even know you’re up. Those middle of the night screams are the worst.

  9. That’s hilarious – (to me, reading it, probably not to you experiencing it) – but, oh, Lord, it is!!!

    thanks for sharing!

    Came by via Gwynne at The Shallow End.

    Welcome, Janie! Thanks for stopping by!

  10. Wellabit funny lol……….. I have 4 lads and all of them had dolls and buggies around the place…. and they dont have a sister lol……… I did draw the line at buying a dolls pram though and they had to make do with a dolls buggy (stroller) and a little tikes shopping trolley (cart)…. but for 17 years there have been tons of girlie bits and bobs around the house cos of me job and in turn all the boys have played with them……. I think its up to the parents of sons to help teach them equality when it comes to the raising of kids LOL…….. hopefully their one day wives will fank us…..


    I wonder what other things I should be teaching Caleb in preparation for his future marriage…how to load the dishwasher, what women really mean when they say “nothing”, and the secret language of flowers, perhaps? Or would it be enough just to get him to pick up his underwear and put it in the hamper?

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