I made a rookie parenting mistake last night. It’s the kind of mistake I don’t expect to make after over six years of parenting. But it was late and I was tired.
It was about 1:30 in the morning and I hear the familiar cadence of, “Mommy, Daddy,” that comes from my son Jack’s room when he wakes up in the middle of the night and is too scared to go back to sleep. Can I just say that the boy has no patience? The sweet calls of “Mommy, Daddy,” with slight pauses in between quickly turn to, “MOMMYDADDYMOMMYDADDYMOMMYDADDY!” I burst through his door, explaining to him that it takes me a minute to attach my head at 1:30 in the morning so I can find my way to his room.
He informs me that he has had a bad dream, which he hasn’t I know but he figures that is the only way I will stay with him when he wakes up scared, so I climb into bed with him for the obligatory 5 minutes of laying that usually stretches to 10 or 15.
“I feel your leg with my foot,” he says.
“That’s not my leg,” I say.
“That’s your leg,” he says.
“That’s not my leg.” At this point, for a seasoned parent, alarms should be going off in my head and I should be slapping my tired self across the face and shouting in my brain to snap out of it before it’s too late to turn back. Too late.
Jack’s eyes grow wide and he immediately pulls his legs up from under the covers and tucks them under his chin as he sits up and presses himself against his wall.
I spend the next 20 minutes pulling off blankets and explaining to him that there is no monster in his bed. No giant spider either. I must have been mistaken. That was my leg. I just didn’t feel his foot because of all of the covers bunched up and blocking it. Yep. BIG rookie mistake.
And they are off!
3 days ago