Hi there, readers. This is another one of those slightly over-share-y type posts so if you are prudish, easily offended or my dad, look away now.
No bedroom door.
This is also a story of the perils of a town-house where the master bedroom has no door. Seriously, our bedroom has no door. It’s at the top of the stairs, on the third floor, it’s a bit lofty. It looks cute, but I remember thinking, “hmmm… this might be problematic for the old marital relations“, when we viewed the house. But we’d just moved back to Australia from the UK and needed a place to live, so I pushed that worry away and blithely congratulated myself on the fact that my kids know how to stay in their beds.
I was smug.
Now, I’m not gonna lie, I was smug. Smug, smug, smug. After I had my first child, Ollie, I turned into one of those obsessive, over-protective parents. I just did. He didn’t even sniff chocolate till he was three-years-old. He ate all the vegetables. I was all over the sodium, the sugar, the additives. I mean, when my Dad gave him a Malteser, I s-t the bed. Grandma and Grandpa gave him Coco Pops? I took that like a declaration of war. If he was at a soft-play centre I was right there having an actual nervous break-down in case the padding wasn’t padded enough.
I monitored everything. I observed everything. And I agonised over everything. There was most certainly no getting into our bed every night once he was in his own big-boy bed. And my firstborn son went along with all of this and complied with it and in my head I was a supremely superior parent. Oh, your kid bites other people/won’t eat his dinner/refuses to sleep in his bed? Well, you must be doing it wrong, I thought, merrily judging away. I really did.
Then I had my second child.
And then, along came son number two, Joshie. To be fair he was placid and sweet for the first year. He ate well, he slept well, he played well. I continued on in my smug parent fashion convinced that if everyone could just be firm, but fair, and consistent like me, they too would find this parenting lark as easy as pie. But then Josh turned one and started refusing every single food. He began asserting his considerable will. He started biting me, his father and his brother. And he started refusing to stay in his goddamn bed at night.
Needless to say I quickly realised that child number one, Ollie, has a naturally easy-going disposition. So he was and is happy to go along with what mummy thinks is best. Child number two, Joshie, to put it mildly, has his own ideas about stuff. You can't convince him, meeting him head-on is like asking for nuclear war and parenting him has been a lesson in compromise and co-operation. So, um... Sorry to all those poor parents that I judged for having strong-willed kids. Really, sorry, I get it now, and again, sorry.
Josh got into the habit of night visiting.
All of this is to say that Josh got into the habit of night visits and frankly we were powerless to stop it. He was still using dummies at the time and his habit was to have one in his mouth and one in each hand. So I would hear "click, click, click, suck, suck, suck" as he trudged up the stairs. I think the fact that I could always hear him lulled me into a false sense of security. Now look, my husband and I are adults. Grown up married adults. Yes, we are parents, we're always tired, no, we don't do it often but every now and then, we do it. OK? It's a fact.
Anyway, there we were, it was the middle of the night, the kids were sound asleep, or so we thought. And my husband was just as happy as a lamb in spring. I mean marital relations really make him happy. If the poor bugger could get it away every night he would but are you f-cking kidding me? I have two small kids, I'm exhausted, there's no chance. Anyway, husband was about to arrive at his really happy place. I mean he was Just. About. There. And I was encouraging him to get there, really encouraging him. Cheering him on, if you will. And just as he was reaching his destination, just as the train was almost at the station, just as rainbows and unicorns were about to explode... He turned his head and shouted, "JOSHIE."
No two people have ever sprung apart so fast.
There Joshie stood, like Damien from The Omen, like a child of the f-cking corn. Standing by the side of the bed staring...clicking and sucking. How long had he been there? When did he walk in? How did we not hear him coming? What did he see? What did he hear? Will he remember it? Why the f-ck did we rent a house with no master bedroom door? So many questions. Josh got into bed and fell soundly asleep in about 10 seconds. My husband and I had a furiously whispered conversation full of the above questions. There were recriminations, there was remonstrating, there were blue balls.
So, has our sex life been affected by this? Yes it f-cking has. I challenge anyone to get into sexy time mood when you're terrified your kid's gonna turn up and watch. But it's ok. We're buying a baby gate. And maybe we'll alarm the bedroom. And put a small bell on his ankle and attach a flashlight to his head.
This post was originally published on Samantha Castle's blog, The Fox and The Mask, and was republished here with permission.