The Day I Found My Kids Playing House. In Bed.  

Posted by Heidi in

This title might sound intentionally titillating but I assure you, it is the absolute truth. I swung the bedroom door open on my then 12 year old son and 7 year old daughter to find them in bed. Under the covers. Lying still as statues, frozen in fear of discovery.

I was horrified. Where had I gone wrong? Had I been too neglectful of their needs while taking care of the new baby? Sure, I had been tired, beyond tired, and so had The Spouse. The baby was premature and needed to eat every two hours and I was suffering from undiagnosed fibromyalgia. The Spouse was taking on at least one feeding a night and though he had been on meds for quite a while at this point, it was taking a long time to overcome the affects of 30 years of untreated depression and anxiety. Every time I turned around, he was napping. And most of the time, I was napping right beside him. Was it any wonder my children felt deprived? Unattended? Free to lead a life of sin and depravity while their parents slept off another night of high living?

These were the thoughts that crowded my sleep-deprived (read: dead) brain. Of course I didn’t think they were really doing something wrong. They were far too innocent for that, even the 12 year old whose developmental age was very close to his sister’s at the time. I was more concerned with what they might have seen, heard or simply discerned. True, it had been a while . . . Attempting to put my lackluster brain to work, my mind waded through the murky past; I had a newborn so needless to say, not much action there, prior to that I had had a difficult pregnancy, even less action there, but the baby was in my arms so I knew something had to have happened in the not too distant past. Undeniably, there had been opportunity for exposure.

Consumed with guilt, my brain flooded with all the reasons I was a rotten mom. I drudged up the courage to ask as casually as I could manage, “What are you guys doing?” I think my voice might have quavered just a little but I’m not sure. Many details of my youngest child’s first year still elude me.

My mildness reassured them and the Middle Child dared to look at me. “We’re playing house,” she said in a voice that quivered.

Now came the hard question. “Ummm, and just exactly what is it you are supposed to be doing in that there bed an’ all?” I asked, wincing in anticipation of an answer that would reveal my total failure as a mother.

The Big Guy, who knew he was in potential trouble and therefore had been hiding under the sheet, flipped it away and with a big smile on his face shouted, “Taking a nap, of course!”

Things went a bit off-kilter for a second as my upside down world re-righted itself and I could make sense of his reply. Shaking the dizzy out of my brain and the temptation to sag in relief out of my bones, I squeezed the baby tighter in my arms in renewed hope for a bright tomorrow. A nap! Well, I’ll be!

And then, because Mom Guilt is a demanding master and must be fed at all times, I thought, A nap!?! My kids were playing house by pretending to take a nap? Wandering aimlessly down the hall to my waiting bed, I questioned the legitimacy of my role as wife, mother and even woman. Could we have been napping too much? Would this excess of napping mar my children for life? Would their relationships with their spouses be nothing but a nap fest? Frantically I scanned my memory for any mention in any book I had read, parenting or otherwise, that mentioned a connection between the excessive napping of parents and the potential for becoming a mass murderer in adulthood.

I put the baby on the bed next to my husband as I fell into my usual spot next to him, a place where the three of us had spent a lot of quality time together. Not conscious time, but still.

My husband stirred and mumbled, “Are the kids okay?”

“Sure,” I said, “they’re fine. You know, honey, I think they are going to grow up to be just like us.”

“That’s nice,” he murmured into his heavily drooled-upon pillow.

Plumping up my own pillow, I thought about what just happened and what the fruits might be. After all, it's the fruits that matter. I know! I am teaching them that when they are tired, they should rest! Hey, Heidi, you’re good! I thought just before I tumbled into sleep. The Mom Guilt was appeased for another day.

This entry was posted on Saturday, July 26, 2008 at Saturday, July 26, 2008 and is filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

4 wise, witty and wonderful comments

I remember the day that my eight and four year old girls played pregnant with the doll up their shirts and my eight year old authoritatively told her little sister. "No...you have to lay down on the couch if you're going to have a baby. Like mom always does." Then they asked me to move so they could get to the couch.

July 26, 2008 at 6:06 PM

That's funny! It would be nice to have two girls . . .that I can relate to!

July 26, 2008 at 7:08 PM

Heidi,
I was just wondering, don't any of your other siblings have blogs? Like Barb for example, you say she reads yours but doesn't she have one also? Ok Barb, it's time to kick in so that I can see what is happening with your family also. Surely Heidi isn't the only with a talent for writing and keeping in touch.
Roxanne

July 28, 2008 at 6:30 AM

I would love it if Barb had a blog--she's such a funny gal. She used to write home a letter to M&D every week that had me laughing so hard tears would roll down my cheeks. But now she calls--also, we gals have an email list where you send an email to the group and we all get it.

July 28, 2008 at 7:53 AM

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