It is three o’clock in the morning. My eyeballs are stinging and lack their necessary moisture. The smell of pungent urine assaults my nostrils.
I was awoken several minutes ago by a waif-looking four-year-old staring into my soul from the side of the bed. Her hair perpendicular, astray. Her eyes are wild and unpredictable.
“What are you doing baby?” I am hoarse and a disenchanted reality glides over my conscious brain. I was having the most delightful dream that Margaret Atwood and I were chumming it up, talking about all kinds of amazing literary stuff. Tough break, Lindsay, she says in the cool way she would as the last of her presence flits out of my mind.
“ Mama,” Sophie is crying.
“What’s wrong?” I ask, but as I reach towards the girl to pull her up to snuggle I feel the cold devastation of pee-pants. She hasn’t peed the bed in months.
However, the evening prior I was at Red Deer Collage listening to a captivating talk by Margaret Atwood, hence the dream, on the creative process. The kids were already in bed when I arrived home but according to Jamie’s account, Sophie was not pleased with my forsaking her at bedtime.
I stumble into her room with an armful of fresh sheets and un-peed-upon blankets.
As soon as my big toe crosses the threshold of daughter darling’s room, the soft under skin of my foot is molested by something squashy, soggy, and that possesses too much give on impact.
I hear the slight sound of a POP. I look down to find I have ruptured the splatter toy that she often throws at my walls, leaving a darkened stain on the tan paint. The carpet is soaking wet with a fluid from the toy I cannot identify. It will have to wait until tomorrow. I need to focus on more pressing matters at the moment.
In the amount of time it takes me to cross from one side of the room to the other, I trip over a deconstructed Barbie house, three Bratz dolls with obscenely pointed features that bite at the already sopping sole of my foot, and an oversized wicker Easter basket that holds all sorts of half-eaten treasures.
I pull off the bedding and bundle it in a tight ball then chuck it to the hallway. I want to let out a she-woman war cry to vindicate my swelling frustrations but before I let loose, I see something. Sophie’s closet is full, jam-packed really, of odds and ends. I drop the clean sheets on the bed and move closer.
For some reason an ominous film darkens my mind and for a second I become concerned I am going to see someone eyeing me from deep within the collection of objects in the closet.
This is what happens when you’re awakened in the dead of night with residual thoughts of Atwood and her superb storytelling abilities circling your peripheral intellect.
I don’t see anything in the end, which is OK by me. Instead, I note the excess of stuff crammed lovingly all over my kid’s room. Things like old cardboard boxes, thousands of scribbled-on sheets of paper, Barbies with their heads popped off and those heads peppered throughout space and time.
I turn back to my task, realizing what it is that must be done in the morning hours. I will have to come and clean this place. No longer can I shut the door and pretend my ignorance to this problem of unpleasant proportions.
Sophie stumbles back into the room from the bathroom. Her eyes are beginning to weigh their lids down and sleep will most likely come easy once I finish making the bed.
I realize I have forgotten to grab a pillowcase, because yes, the pee has indeed reached the corners of the pillow. I must incoherently say what I need aloud because next thing I know Sophie is digging through the disaster that is also beneath her bed and pulls out a pink flowered pillow.
Of course she had one stashed away, what four-year-old doesn’t have a reserve head cushion on hand?
I still think a good old-fashioned purge and clean would be good for the girl child’s room. I’m a little concerned that next time the dog ventures in there he may just get swallowed up and lost forever.
As I finally am able to close my eyes and return to dreamland, I briefly wonder if Margaret ever had to stumble over pointed toys and mayhem messes. If so, she probably wouldn’t have lost sleep over it, so neither will I.
Lindsay Brown is a Sylvan Lake mother of two and freelance columnist.