from bad to worse

It is a truth universally acknowledged that when it rains, it pours, and when you are sleep deprived, you need every second of sleep available because your day will inevitably go to hell.

It's Murhpy's law. It's science. Or something like that.

Allow me to elaborate.

I learned this lesson last Friday when I got three hours of sleep the night before and then had the worst day of my life. It ended with me dodging old coworkers in a store, hiding from them in a dressing room, and then walking out of the dressing room and directly into them. I'm still not ready to talk about it.

But Friday was just preparing me for the purgatory that was yesterday.

Allow me to elaborate even more.

If you remember, about 6 months ago I tested the theory that babysitting is the best form of birth control. It was proved correct because there are no annoying "bumpdate" posts on my blog (nor will there ever be), and I have no baby/fruit comparisons to show you. There is, however, a food baby the size of a BLT sandwich in my belly right now, but I'm getting sidetracked.

I've had a touch of insonmia the past week and I've only been getting several hours of sleep a night, no matter how early I go to bed (Nyquil, where are you?). This is bad, because I'm that person that doesn't function on anything less than 8 hours of sleep. Tuesday night was brutal; I was beyond exhausted from several nights of no sleep, but I laid awake for hours. I woke up yesterday morning so tired the room was spinning.

By the power of Jesus and coffee, I made it to work, but things went downhill fast. Everything was a crisis. Everything went wrong. It was an awful day. It was one of those days were every single gosh darn thing went wrong, and it went as wrong as possible. I fought off tears more than once.

By the end of the day, all I wanted to do was go home and hide under the covers. I felt like I had been repeatedly beaten up all day long, and I just needed rest and I needed it immediately. But it was not to be. You see, even though James and I are childless and are not ones to voluntarily put ourselves in the path of children, our small group at church forces us to babysit the kids once this summer term. I won't go into the ins and outs of why I think this is a terrible rule and how we have made it clear we are not comfortable doing this, but suffice it to say we were forced into it at the last minute. And it could not have been on a worse day. I may have 13 years of solid babysitting experience, but unless I watch the same kid over and over, I just do not feel comfortable around kids. I really do love kids and want my own someday, but I love them from afar. I love them in the arms of their mother.

Against my better judgment, we got to our small group last night and were instantly thrust onto a screened porch the size of a closet. I gave the parents a look of "are you sure you want me to do this?" and they were all "it's fine. It'll be fine!" We walked in to find two toddlers under the age of two, a play kitchen, and a bag of goldfish crackers that eventually turned the floor orange. If you have kids, you know what happened. I just pretended it didn't happen. I can only handle so much in one day.

So there we were. I was exhausted to the point of nausea and dizziness, barely able to stand up, and one of the girls was screaming bloody murder because her mom walked out of the room. I held her, played with her, fed her, and eventually she calmed down. Sometimes I need someone to do that for me too, you know? Anyway, the girls quietly played and I looked at James and said "ok, maybe this won't be as bad as we thought. It should only be about 30 more minutes, right?"

(Spoiler: LOL no)

A few minutes later James looked at me and said "Uh, Michelle? Do you smell like that? I think...I think she filled her diaper." I was in the middle of saying "no, I don't thi-" when the ripest, foulest smell I've ever smelled took me out like I was a mobile home in an EF5 tornado. I was unable to function for several minutes due to the shock. And unfortunately nothing could be done, because we were isolated with no diapers in the shoebox of a porch, and the parents were all busy in another room.

It was around this time that the girl with the rancid diaper needed to be held, or else. This was the same kid we watched the last time we did this, so I knew if I didn't pick her up and fast the entire state of Ohio would hear her scream. I picked her up and her diaper full of jewels. I was wearing a new shirt and praying to God above the diaper held tight and didn't leak. I tried desperately to find a ball or toy to interest her so I could put her down and distance myself from the diaper situation, but she wouldn't have it. I could feel a smidge of moisture on my shirt, and I knew it was all downhill from here.

Out of sheer despair, James opened the door and ushered the mutant ninja toddlers outside. We made it 5 steps before the youngest WAILED in the way a 25 year old woman would if you told her she could no longer go to Target. She screamed and she cried and she wailed. I took her back inside, but nothing would make her stop. The screams kept coming, and they were getting louder. Every time I thought her vocal chords would snap, they only got stronger. I was in a panic because I know her parents could hear her and probably thought she was being abused, and I had no clue what to do. I am not this child's mother! I don't know where the off button is or the secret code I need to push it! I was one more scream away from putting the kid down, grabbing my car keys, and bolting.

Within minutes, the other girl started screaming. It was a chain reaction. I was panicking. The nervous sweats kicked in, and soon I couldn't distinguish poopy diaper moisture on my shirt from nervous sweat moisture. Things were getting dire. I thought surely they were done with the lesson, but from what I could hear, they weren't. By this time sweat was pouring down my face from panic, and I learned what it is to pray fervently. And I would like to make this suggestion to all churches: don't have Bible studies. Just put people in a closet with two toddlers past their bedtime. They'll pray more than they have their entire life. They will plead with God for mercy on their souls. Trial by fire, am I right?!

Eventually poopy diaper mom came out. I was humiliated at my baby fail but so thrilled someone was going to make it stop. Her kid calmed down, but not mine. She continued to scream like she was on fire. I held her and bounced her and talked to her all while diaper mom talked to me about who knows what and asking me questions and I wanted to cry harder than the kid because THERE'S A SCREAMING BABY IN MY ARMS I CAN'T EVEN HEAR YOU RIGHT NOW. My eyes were welling up with the tears of a girl at the end of her rope when the mom finally walked out. It was about time because I was way more exhausted than this kid could ever dream of being. I was running on fumes here. I was .2 seconds from crashing and burning. Had the mom waited any longer, my screams would've outdone the toddlers'. But the kid continued to scream. For another hour, because apparently it was a good night for small group to go an hour over.

I threw the crying kid in the mom's arms, and we all walked into the backyard for an encore of more crying and screaming and swarming mosquitos and the moms telling me about their pregnancy symptoms. It was well past time for this shindig to wrap up, but they were taking prayer requests. It's too bad I wasn't able to participate, because my prayer request was that they would stop taking prayer requests and let me go the heck home.

The younger girl continued to scream, and the mom finally said well, her bedtime was an hour ago...THANKS FOR THE HEADS UP. I don't know a lot about parenting, but I do know that keeping a 2 year old up past their bedtime and then putting them in the hands of the childless is a recipe for disaster. That piece of information would've been helpful when the kid was in my arms and screaming like I was ruining her life. Also, I would've stayed home.

Eventually things wrapped up. I was on the verge of a meltdown the mutant ninja toddlers would've been proud of, so James and I got in the car and drove through people's yards and over sidewalks to get out of there. I am not even kidding. Nothing was going to stop us from getting as far away as possible. Nothing was going to stop me from hugging my cat. She is so much less annoying now.

If you ever want to ruin someone's day (especially non-parents), make sure they're sleep deprived and then hand them toddlers past their bedtimes. I cannot stress this enough. It's like the worst form of culture shock. They will never speak to you again.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to get my tubes tied.


  1. Awww, poor girl. You know, I absolutely don't like watching other peoples kids. I just feel really awkward and sweaty and I don't know what to do/say. Its weird that your church would make you do something like that. Our pastor recently did a sermon on how some people are called to different ministries, and have different gifts. That is why we work on the volunteer system. I don't watch kids. But I would stay and help clean up, or cook dinner for my church (used to do this at my old church). But no kids. No thanks.

  2. I will say that your own child doesn't scream as bad when they're with you... usually. Haha. But seriously, I don't ever put my sleep-deprived toddler in someone else's hands. That's just cruel!

  3. Michelle. I am exhausted just READING this. Ugh, babies. So cute, but so evil. I'm sure I will have a totally different outlook when I am ready to be a mother, but that day is not today. I am retroactively praying for you and James, because it sounded like you two needed a miracle!!!!

    "We made it 5 steps before the youngest WAILED in the way a 25 year old woman would if you told her she could no longer go to Target" <---- THAT IS ABOUT ME

  4. Children crying is TOTALLY a chain reaction...you are correct about that. When I used to work at a daycare and they stuck me in the toddler room, I made sure if a kid started to cry, they were facing the wall. No one else was allowed to see tears in fear of more tears!

    That is a terrible way to spend your Wednesday night. Wednesdays, in general, are bad. I'm sorry.

    Cheers to Thursday!

    1. PS: "I have no baby/fruit comparisons to show you." DYING. I mean, that's great that you're baby is the size of an apple, but no one really needs to know that.

    2. PPS: Brace yourself for hate mail.

    3. those fruit comparisons freak me out to no end.

  5. I just.. I just cannot believe someone did this to you. You should have punched her in the uterus. I am just... wow.

  6. Although this is the worst possible thing to ever happen to you, I LOVE THIS POST. You nailed it. And by nailed it I mean I am also on the phone making an appointment to get some tubes tied.

  7. I CANNOT BELIEVE they KNEW their kid was screaming for an hour and didn't move a muscle to come and rescue you. That is just so ridiculously rude, I can't stand it. I honestly think some parents completely forget what it's like to NOT have kids, so they really don't mind just dumping their kid off on someone else in an inappropriate way like that. It's different if you're getting paid and you volunteered to babysit. And honestly if I had a 2 year old and my babysitter called and said my kid wouldn't stop screaming for over an hour, I'd probably go home. Because that's what parents DO...they take care of their kids.

    Ugh. I could rant forever about my feelings on rude parents like that. I hope you got some good sleep last night. :-/

  8. I think it's time for a new small group.
    And by small group, I mean you and James only.

  9. never. having. kids.

    I keep trying to get Landon on board with just adopting 17 year olds and sending them on their merry way when they turn 18. he is so not down with that.

    this whole post literally made me want to cry.

  10. Nightmare. Actually. I can't believe you didn't flip out. This whole story makes me uncomfortable just reading it. Oh dear.

  11. Oh dear. Hope that doesn't happen again any time soon.

  12. 1. They FORCE you to babysit? That's cruel.
    2. I'm pregnant but really not looking forward to the toddler years.
    3. No hate mail from a woman who does do weekly pregnancy posts because... to each her own. That, and my blog is mostly read by friends and family. Fairly sure no one else reads it, haha.
    4. You have incredible self control. I probably would have freaked the hell out at the mom who left her screaming banshee with you.

  13. Forcing you to babysit is just plain mean. I'd understand if you had kids and parents had to take turns babysitting but the people with no kids? that's just...MEAN.

    I hope you get some sleep soon. I can't function without 8 hours either.

  14. Wow, that is a totally unfair system. Maybe only the people who HAVE kids should have to take a turn baby-sitting? Or better yet, wrangle some delusional high school girls into it who are not jaded by life yet, and still LOVE! BABIES! That's what my church does :-)

    I'm like you...I love other people's babies/toddlers, but from afar. I feel so awkward holding them and interacting with them. I think this will be different with my own. :-)

    Also, sorry for the "annoying" bumpdates. But you don't have to read them :-) I figure, it's my blog and I want to remember this. After 3 years of waiting, you don't really care if your posts become annoying. Or maybe I kind of do, or I wouldn't be writing this right now. Haha...my family members love reading them, and I think Scarlett will someday too!

  15. You are SO much nicer than I am...it is probably all the Jesus and coffee powers, I don't do either of those. :P

    That small group sounds like a conspiracy of forced babysitting, there's no amount of rested that would have me cuddling a feces-laden sticky mini-banshee. I would've stared dispassionately at that monstrous vision for about two seconds, then gone indoors to do a full-on What Are You Going To Do About This stare at the maker of that emergency on legs. If you don't have the tools (spare diapers, cot) or the information (this thing was supposed to be unconscious an hour ago) there is NO onus on you to perform -- you are not the one who failed the tiny person that night. You did your best, and it was an amazing best, not even considering the sleep deprivation.

    Ask your doctor about sleep aids. You deserve it.

  16. That most certainly sounds like a bad day. I'm also one of those people who needs 8-9 hours of sleep every night or I am a zombie. And I can definitely relate to work days that bring you to tears.

    And oh kids....I feel like you'll always love and have much more sympathy and care for your own kids than anyone else's ragamuffins. Everyone seems to think my Mom loves children because she had seven of them, but that's not entirely true. She loves her own children. Most other people's kids cannot compare, in her eyes at least. But I can so relate to forced babysitting. When I was a teenager, my parents ran a small group for...all the families with small children in our church. And I was the free babysitter for two years worth of Sunday afternoons for what amounted to 15 children between the ages of 1 and 10. It was a character-building experience, which is the phrase my Mom taught me to use to describe all such experiences.

    Of course, I'm quite convinced that when I have kids they will be amazing and cute and well-behaved.


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