Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Morning has broken (and shattered the walls): a short play



Setting: upstairs in the early morning hours

Act 1, Scene 1
Monday, 4am

The stage is silent when suddenly an earth-shattering scream breaks out from the hallway. Mommy runs to find Bug standing near his door crying and stamping his feet. (Night terrors?) Bug refuses to be held or calmed in anyway but after a few minutes Mommy gets him back in his room. Bug sits on his bed--kicking, crying, etc. still pushing Mommy away with interjections of "no, no, no," "don't wanna." (Is it possible neighbors from several blocks away are being awakened by this?)

Offstage we hear Daddy's footsteps as he enters the room to help.

Bug: [between cries] Go away, Daddy.

Daddy leaves and moments later (could his head have even hit the pillow?) we hear a soft, rhythmic snore.

Mommy gets Bug quieted down but Bug begs to sleep in Mommy & Daddy's bed. She holds firm.

Mommy: No, it's nighttime. Nighttime is for sleeping in your bed. You can come in when it's morning.
Bug: But I have to sweep in your bed.
Mommy: No, this is your bed. You have a comfy bed with a perfect pillow (clever Mommy--using Bug's own words from earlier in the evening to describe his bed)

Mommy wins. An agreement is reached...Bug will stay in his bed. As Mommy leaves to return to her room, she gets Bug's typical goodnight litany...

Sweep well
Be careful
Don't get boo-boos
Don't get sick
Don't go to the doctor
Put ice in your ginger ale but don't put ice in your wine (this one always brings a smile to Mommy's face and a question mark bubble above her head)
Sweet Dreams


Back in the bedroom Mommy is wide awake. After staring at the clock for a few minutes she gives up and goes downstairs to the computer to start her day.

[Fades to dark]

Act 2, Scene 1
Tuesday, 4:10am

Again, Mommy is awakened to Bug's piercing cry. She goes to him and quiets him down. He asks to sleep in the big bed.

Mommy: No, you stay in your big boy bed.
Bug: Then you sweep with me.
Mommy: No, there's no room. You have all your toys and cars to keep you company. Tell Winnie all about your day.
[Bug hugs Winnie and begins telling stories of the life of a two-year-old]

Mommy returns to her bed.

A big truck is heard stopping on the street. Mommy looks outside but sees nothing other than an unfinished construction project (sigh) but hears what sounds like the wood chipper scene from Fargo. Cringing, she gets back into bed and silently curses the city.

Garbage truck finishes the wood chipper scene and passes by the house...beautiful silence again.

A train whistle is heard. (Side note: The couple has lived in this home for more than seven years and on the few times a train whistle is heard in the early hours she imagines it's a train from another era--perhaps the early 1900s--carrying circus performers or gypsies or both. This time she thinks she might join them.)

Bug: [from his room] Mommy? I hear a train!
Mommy: Yes, Bug, the train is going night-night. It's still dark...go to sleep.
Bug: I can't. [crying follows]

Mommy resigns herself to the fact that Bug will be in her bed in minutes and it's likely her only hope of sleeping another hour or two. She goes to him; he asks to sleep in her bed. She agrees. He tells her he's wet (damn non-absorbent diapers--her thoughts--possibly Bug's too). A quick diaper/pajama bottom change and the two silently walk across the hall to M&D's room.

In bed Bug snuggles as close to Mommy as possible giving Mommy limited space in the big bed. They share a pillow. Bug does the toddler flop while sleeping--alternating between kicks on Mommy's tummy and arms thrown across her face with a headbutt thrown in for good measure. Often he's still and his soft breathing warms her heart. Twice he wakes up. Once she's greeted with "Oh, hi, Mommy" as though he's surprised to see her. The other is a sweet "I wuv you."

Mommy perfects her undesired and unenviable new habit of watching the clock with eyes wide open until 6am when she gets up leaving a sleeping little boy in bed.

[Fades to dark as the sun is preparing to rise]


  1. There is so much tenderness in your voice as you talk of Bug. The Toddler Flop-I know that well. Why do they turn sideways in your bed? So they can keep both of you awake?

    I have the same feelings about the train whistles! I will hear the faint sound around 10 pm and it makes me feel oddly comfortable. If I lived right next door to it I might feel differently. I think I romanticize it a bit. A LOT.

  2. Sweet. So sweet. There's nothing like a headbutt to round off a good early morning snuggle.

    Hope this(terror?)phase passes soon!

  3. I can't stand trying to sleep with a toddler, they're just as active in bed as they are out of bed!

    But I do so love those little "I wub you"s. They make all sorts of things worth while.

  4. Awww, clever mommy! I wuv you?! Oh, hi Mommy?! Those are so perfect. I love it! This is such a good story, I wonder what kept waking Bug up...poor little guy. The toddler flop had me laughing. Kicking the stomach, flopping the arm over the face and the headbutt!! LOL! You love this mommy gig, don't you? I can tell, you are smitten. :) Lucky Bug!

  5. OH yeah, and what is it with the men who go right back to sleep practically before they're in bed?? Mine does the SAME thing.

  6. I have had many of these early mornings...sometimes I still get them with my 7yo and Im sure they are just around the corner for my nearly 2yo

  7. Is this one time performance or do you perform 7x a week?

  8. You're so good to even try to keep him in his bed. I am too lazy and a crazy sleeper too so I just say okay and my poor husband gets tortured having all of us in the bed. Whatever. Mama needs her sleep.

  9. Maybe you should try an entry fee for the show! My youngest is 5 now and it still happens to him. I'm actually not looking forward to the night scenes being 'over' any more although they are less and less frequent. We don't have that adorable train whistle - just the odd foxe's mating cry that would chill the blood of any loving mother at 4am! Bonne nuit!

  10. Ugh. I know those nights well. Gremlin is a big Night Terror guy. Every time we think the phase has passed, another one crops up.

    Basically, I think it's the child's job to form an "H" in bed with you and the husband. The snuggling's not so bad though.

    "No ice with wine." Wise words.

  11. Oh, I remember those days! No more tho... they're too old and independent. Cherish those moments! They go by way to fast!

  12. I want to be a gypsy and ride on trains in the night.

    What? That wasn't your point?

    Maybe I need more sweep. :-)

    Sweet story.

  13. Supersperm used to have night terrors too!! It will pass. My boys seem to sleep through the night now. Just thunderstorms still bring them running.

  14. wish I had some advice, but mine is still sleeping on the floor in my room!