This book is not even published and I already love it:
Admit it. You’ve had this thought before. More than you may choose to admit. Embrace it, I say. Revel in the liberation of wailing loudly (inside your head of course – – it’s just rude to curse at a toddler, yo), GO THE FUCK TO SLEEP.
Right now Mary Tyler Son is generally pretty considerate of his folks. Yes, there is the bed time dance. A ritual involving undressing, dressing, teeth brushing, ear cleaning, water sipping, reading (three books, board books if we’re tired), three songs, then “loving,” our word for hugging and canoodling just before dropping Mary Tyler Son into his crib. This dance takes 45 minutes, start to finish, and from what I understand, we get off easy. I’ve heard tale of 90-120 minute dances. Nightly. Damn.
But seeing the chatter on facebook today about this book transports me to a different time, in the not too distant past when I wasn’t so lucky with the bed time dance. The Spring of 2009 was spent in the lovely environs of Bloomington, Indiana where my beautiful three year old Donna was having her brain and spine irradiated five days a week for twelve weeks at their proton beam center. There I was with Donna, and newborn Mary Tyler Son, just eight weeks old at the time. Four of the seven bedtimes weekly I managed alone as Mr. Mary Tyler Mom spent half the week working in Chicago. He came down for extended weekends.
Like clockwork, Donna somehow stopped going to bed at a reasonable hour the day we arrived. Imma talking midnight or later each and every night. I don’t know what it was, but there was no fixing it. It was like a light switch went off every night at 8. Bing! Wakey-wakey! Honestly, folks, some of my least favorite parenting moments occured during those hours between 10pm and midnight. Lights were out. Newborn sleeping in a car seat in the bathroom with the fan on (Lordy, that’s a whole ‘nother post), me lying in bed next to my beautiful, cancer ridden daughter, knowing she would have to be awoken in just seven short hours to dash to the proton center where they would use drugs to induce her back to sleep so they could irradiate her tender, battered brain.
All of this is happening, the reality of cancer thick between us, and all I could think was, GO THE FUCK TO SLEEP, CHILD. I didn’t use those words, but they brought me some internal comfort, expressing them silently, like a mantra, in my head. Instead, I would hiss at my girl in the darkened room, “go to sleep right now, missy, or you will be in BIG TROUBLE.” Do you know what it’s like to have evil thoughts about your poor daughter who is smiling up at you so sweetly, with such innocence, despite her cancer?
See, when you have a very sick child, you don’t have the privilege of losing your cool. Your time together is limited, you know this on some deep and painful level, and trust me when I say you do NOT want to be THAT MOTHER to such a vulnerable soul.
But, alas, sometimes I was THAT MOTHER, minus the language. Despite our best intentions, sometimes we are all THAT MOTHER or THAT FATHER, which brings me to the genius of Adam Mansbach’s book. I think it’s okay to be THAT PARENT. Think it, embrace it, let it go. And for the love of God, go the fuck to sleep, already.