The last thing you want to hear when you’ve just gone to bed and starting in on some quality snuggle time with the hubs is a dog barking. Especially when the dog is your dog, barking to go outside, and you know that the only thing keeping that dog from making a god awful bio-mess on your living room carpet is getting yourself out of your nice warm bed and letting her out.
Normally we call our gorgeous golden retriever Abbey, and when we’re feeling particularly affectionate toward her, it’s Abbey Doo-Dah. For the purposes of this post, and to further clarify my feelings toward this particular family pet, on this particular hellish night, she will be referred to from here on out as That Freaking Horrible Animal.
And since our one-year-old also decided to get in on the action (keep reading), little Evan will be referred to as The Baby Who is Trying to Kill Us.
I know, they both look really sweet, right? Just wait…
So here’s a run-down of what should have been the sleepy time hours at our house two nights ago. If I slide into some barely-intelligible stream-of-consciousness language, I apologize. I still haven’t made up the hours of sleep the dynamic duo stole.
We're just getting comfy and That Freaking Horrible Animal starts up with the bark that I know to be her “my stomach is feeling rumbly so let me out ASAP or I shall shite all over your house” bark. I wimper (pitifully) and Joe (heroically) gets up.
I hear the front door open and shut, a pause and then it opens again. “Go out and go poop so I can go back to bed!” Joe stage-whispers at TFHA, who is apparently just standing on the front porch staring at him through the window.
A minute later the door opens and shuts and Joe comes back to bed, muttering about TFHA not knowing what the hell she wants. Snuggling resumes until 30 seconds later when TFHA starts barking AGAIN. Same bark, same insistent “I need to goooooo” tone.
The husband is heroed-out by this point and makes it clear it’s my turn to get up. So I do and this time TFHA actually makes it off the porch! And doesn’t come back. For a very long time.
I stand on the front porch in my jammies whisper-yelling for her to get back in the house. Just when I’ve almost decided to turn on the TV and watch one of the kajillion shows I have recorded, she turns up with a look on her face like, “oh, are you waiting for me?” Grrrr…
Snuggling begins again only to be interrupted by That Freaking Horrible Animal’s cohort, The Baby Who is Trying to Kill Us. Eight times out of ten he’s making noises in his sleep and will nod back off if we ignore him. We wait, both of us holding our breath. This is obviously one of the other two times because TBWITTKU cranks it up to an ear-splitting scream.
Since he shares a room with his older brother who has to get up for school in the morning, we have no other option but to go spring TBWITTKU from his crib. If you’re keeping track, it’s Joe’s turn. He goes in and lays the baby back down and rubs his back, cooing sweetly to him until he settles down. The hubs comes back to bed, looking smug and feeling like Super Dad.
If you’re a mom reading this, you know that there’s no way in hell this will last. A baby who not ten seconds ago was screaming to high heaven is very unlikely to slide right back into REM sleep. I wait, and sure enough, about a minute and a half later TBWITTKU is hollering again. Amid the high-pitched tones he throws in a vague “M” sound. “Awww, he wants his mommy,” Joe says. “That’s sweet.”
At this point “mommy” is starting to feel that creeping, “oh-my-God-I’m-never-going-to-sleep” panic and doesn’t think there’s anything even remotely sweet about TBWITTKU. In fact, he and the dog are now acting more like this:
But in Joe’s mind, it’s legitimately my turn, so instead of launching into a full-scale debate, I get myself together to go take care of the baby. I count to ten, think of how truly sweet he can be when he’s NOT screaming in the middle of the night, and remind myself of all the good stuff on the DVR. It works and I don’t kill him. I just snuggle him on the couch and watch “Ace of Cakes” until he drops off.
Baby back in crib, mom back in bed. I actually fall asleep for awhile. I’m not sure for how long, because by this point of the night I’m so exhausted I’m not thinking straight. I can definitely say it's short enough that I'm absolutely infuriated when THFA starts up again. So infuriated, I shock Joe by not only getting up (even though it's not my turn), but leaping out of bed and running toward the dog at a full sprint.
I’m positively screeching by now, completely forgetting my middle-of-the-night etiquette in a fit of rage. “THIS IS THE LAST TIME YOU’RE GOING OUT OR I WILL LEAVE YOUR DUMB ASS IN THE YARD ALL NIGHT!!!!!”
TFHA sits down on the carpet, cocks her head and looks at me as if to say, “Let’s talk about how you really feel.”
You know those news stories about women summoning amazing amounts of strength to do something heroic, like lifting a car off a baby? Yeah, I’m here to tell you that it also works when you’re not being particularly heroic. Say, for example, you need the strength to heft a 75-pound retriever, carry her across the entryway of your house and toss her out into the middle of the front yard. With the right amount of rage, it can be done. s
That wasn’t the very end of the shenanigans that night, but it’s all that I can even somewhat clearly remember. There was more barking and more screaming (from both the baby AND his parents). Sometime close to dawn everyone settled down and Joe and I managed about 45 seconds of solid sleep time before the alarm went off.
The next morning the dog looked normal and totally healthy. If she had truly been sick in the night, she must have passed some serious baggage during one of her 47,000 trips outside. The baby looked happy and rested. The only ones who looked like they fought a battle all night were the adult humans of the house, who will from this point forward be known as “Those Poor People Who Can No Longer Function During Daylight Hours.”