Saturday, November 19, 2011

Walking after midnight

Just like Patsy Cline, our dear Eli has begun to go walking after midnight; specifically around 4 or 5 AM. Instead of looking for love, he’s looking for food. He usually crashes out around 7 each night, and is apparently up and at ‘em bright and early, playing on the computer, trying to work the Wii, waking up his sister, making messes in the bathroom… you know, the typical stuff you do in the early hours of the day. He woke up the other day and helped himself to one of his sister’s leftover birthday cupcakes. The insanely tinted pink frosting is now ground into the carpeting on our stairs. We found a somewhat eaten ice cream sandwich in the sink the other morning, melting away down the drain. He couldn’t get the wrapper off, so he gnawed away at what he could and (thankfully) put it in the sink instead of chucking it on the floor.
We have put a lock on his door, for both his safety and for our sanity. The mornings are crazy, and being able to keep him OUT of his room is a good thing while we are getting ready. It is also used to keep his sister at bay, although she has figured out how to jump up and free the lock, letting herself in to wake him up or harass him. He is adamant about us NOT locking him in his room each night, and after his hollow promises to stay in his room until we wake him up, we have begun securing him (sounds better than locking him up) in his room.

Please do not call Child Protective Services on us, and Grandmas, calm down. It is for his safety. I have checked with our friend who is a child psychologist and he said it is okay. I pressed him about post-traumatic stress issues or repressed memories and he assured me that his young mind won’t remember anything but cupcakes and puppies from this time in his life. I feel bad we have to do this, but with his nocturnal activities, we need to make sure he is safe. I was thinking about the amazing, feel-good movie “Mommie Dearest” and I did a quick search for bed restraints. Dear Joan had the right idea. Kiss your kiddies goodnight, and then strap them in, Hannibal Lecter style to ensure sweet dreams and a peaceful night for Mommie, Daddie, and Papa Dearest. Apparently the only people using such devices now are prisons and mental institutions, so no go on that idea.
So we are left with a stern warning each night, and a tentative promise of no wondering. We have kept the door locked, and each morning, we hear him rattle the door to try and get out around 4 a.m. Putting him back in bed only generates howls and screams from him, which generates howls and screams from sleeping beauty next door, roused way too early to begin her hectic day.

It’s a no win situation for any of us. Please cancel any nominations for Parents of the Year. I am secretly excited for their teenage years when they spend all day in their rooms and sleep until noon. Until then, I will rely on our $1.00 solution for a good night’s sleep.