shitty bedtime

You know the expression happy wife, happy life?

There's another expression I'd like to coin this evening:

Shitty bedtime, everything is shitty.

Shitty bedtime isn't like shitty rush hour. During shitty rush hour you might be like, AAAH this is terrible, but it's terrible in an acute, isolated way - there's a finish line, and when you cross it there's this rush of relief. You know, like a hard poop, or a final exam, or after you barf.

You come into the kitchen and you're like "UGH that was AWFUL," and people will listen to you. They'll pause Netflix and come in and lean against the counter to hear the harrowing tale of how you had to sit a soft seat in your air-conditioned car listening to whatever you wanted for a whole hour.

But even if you still need some time to shake it off, it's over, you're out of the car or bus, and met with sympathy from your loved ones, and now you can just relax and start your evening of freedom and tapas and wine.

Conversely, shitty bedtime shits on EVERYTHING.

Because when bedtime goes shitty, there's a cascade of shit dominoes that shits on every moment of your life until you die.

you might be
just a touch
more dramatic
slash apocalyptic
about stuff

Bedtime shitty? First of all, shut up, don't even think it, no matter what time the kid goes to sleep, of course your child won't sleep in. What, are you 7 years old? Do you still believe in Santa and the electoral college too, Otis? Sit down and listen. Or better yet, go to bed, now. Did I stutter? You're going to be up at 5 am with a lunatic rage beast on the loose in your house where there are knives and tiny Legos. GO TO BED.

Bedtime shitty? Your child will need a good hearty breakfast more than someone summiting Everest, yet he will be unable to sit still for anything other than waffles drenched in syrup but probably not even those, let's be honest. You'll cut them wrong. Like a monster.

Bedtime shitty? Hope you didn't have anything fun or important planned tomorrow! Reschedule the kid haircut and call off the zoo trip, because your kid is going to be a manic poltergeist and you will call this day a win if you both get through it with all your fingernails still attached.

His daily to-do list will be like:

- clear all the counters onto the floor with one long sweep of the arm
- hit someone with a broom
- draw blood
- scream for a snack that isn't regionally available
   (who told him about pralines)
- stare into space with eyes full of tears like you're so thirsty but someone just took the last juice box and poured it on the ground right in front of you and then pooped on the puddle and Mom said we're out of straws anyway
- hit someone with a rake
- trip over nothing, fall onto a pillow, spend 27 minutes squealing, squawking, and screeching inconsolably
- start biting again, or possibly for the first time
- hit someone with a shoe, accidentally drop shoe on own foot, it's a moccasin but restart the clock on that 27 minutes, we're going again

Bedtime shitty? Hope you weren't planning to do anything with your evening tonight! Push back the yoga class and call the fruit flies in for supper - you won't be enjoying diversion or a clean kitchen! All you'll be doing tonight is sitting at the foot of your child's bed as he pokes your ear with his toe, while you grit your teeth, stare at the wall, and lovingly tend to your simmering resentment toward your spouse for impregnating you!

Bedtime shitty? Hope you're okay with this conversation, all day!

You: What do you want to eat baby?
You: Anything you want. Anything at all. I jut want to put calories in you. SAY A FOOD AND IT IS YOURS.
You: Brownie sundae!
You: Goldfish crackers smothered in maple syrup!
You: My hand. You can have my left hand, just let me get out the ketchup and take off my rings. Gnaw on my bones, baby. PLEASE JUST EAT SOMETHING FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.
Child: ... ... ...
You: Wait--

Bedtime shitty? I regret to inform you that the following will also be shitty:

- Your impulse control. All you're gonna eat is bread with cheese melted on it with a side of bread with sugar and butter smeared on it. Because vegetables are cute, but your soul is dying and D.H. Lawrence said that the human soul needs actual bread more than leafy greens.

you know what
you are--
you are just--
why do you have to--
nobody likes you, you know

i need some pancakes

- Your hydration. All you're gonna drink is coffee and liquor, bud. Because water is cute, but you need some fucking results.

- Your ability to not weep over a box of raisins that goes into the washing machine by accident. Dude, it was old towels in that load, seriously, it's not a big deal. And yet, you are clearly dead.

- Your kids' ability to say "yes" to things they want. This one's super fun:

Me: Do you want some chocolate milk?
Kid: (looks like he's having a stroke and/or might have to sneeze)
Me: OK well just let me know if you decide you want--

(and he's dead)

- Your spouse's attitude when he gets home

- Your attitude when your spouse gets home

Bedtime shitty? Nobody's pausing Game of Thrones to come brush invisible crumbs off the countertop and nod sympathetically as you talk about your crying baby. And you don't expect them to, because:

a) many of your other parent friends are also walking in the valley of the shadow of shitty bedtime and they can't even hear you over the sound of the voice in their heads sobbing, "Oh thank God, I'm not the only one"

b) you can't bear to tell any more shitty bedtime stories because you hate everything especially the sound of your own voice

c) unlike shitty rush hour, which is a tiny bit your fault but mostly the fault of everyone else occupying space on the highway, you have a sneaking suspicion that shitty bedtime is ALL YOUR FAULT.

You know you did this to yourself by choosing the sleep training you chose (it doesn't matter which one you chose; they're all wrong), or keeping the kid up too late, or trying to put him down too early, or giving him raisins with dinner, or wearing those pants today I KNOW IT SOUNDS CRAZY but when bedtime is shitty the only thing you know for sure is that there was a secret formula to easy bedtime that a better/Frencher parent could just somehow KNOW, but you just fucked it up somewhere along the line.

It's like coming home from Burning Man with crabs. You know that one of the choices you made out there in the desert was a real fuck-up, but which one was it? And you have no one to blame but yourself. And now wherever you go, you have crabs. And nobody feels bad for you. Because one day not so long ago you were like "Fuck it, let's have a baby," and it's your fault if you signed for it without reading the fine print.

Shitty bedtime is not a shit pile; it's a shit cloud. Everywhere you go, it is shit.

This is a public service announcement for anyone who didn't know:

When your friend with a kid says, "Oh, we're doing okay. Bedtime is just really hard right now," what she's really saying is:

PS, if you need the somewhat more assertive mug that was the thumbnail for this blog post:
you can get it here

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