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In Which I Just Want To Be Alone, or The Bleeding or Barfing Clause

September 4, 2013


Someone told me once that it is wrong to shut a door between you and your child.

Like, ever. That somehow it was alienating you from your child, and making them feel isolated and rejected.

I’ve pondered this concept over the years.

I’ve pondered it during time-outs, when the kid on the other side of the door is kicking and screaming and throwing shoes.

I’ve pondered it on the occasion my husband and I find ourselves, in, like, a romantic mood.

I’ve pondered it when I’m getting dressed in the morning.

And, I’ve pondered this from the privacy of my bathroom.

In short, if this adage is true, then I am a roaringly horrible mother. ‘Cause I close doors between myself and my kids all the time.

Without closed doors…I would never sleep, get dressed with any semblance of privacy, or pee alone. Without closed doors, there would be no boundaries between me and my kids. My youngest already regards me as his personal jungle gym – which was not so bad when he was two, but not that he is six and built like a line-backer, it’s become a threat to my personal health and well-being. Given that, there are times when I just need a break, and yes, I hide. I do. Sue me.

Without closed doors, I’m pretty sure there would be no sex. (Dad, I know you’re reading my posts, so, just, you know, don’t read this bit. We can still keep up the pretense that I don’t have sex, being your little girl and all. And please don’t take this as an invitation to comment on my sex life either, because that would be terribly embarrassing in front of all of these other people reading my posts. All twelve of them.) I mean, it’s hard enough to feel lovey and romantic when you have just emerged from The Bedtime Routine (or as my friend Melissa refers to it, “The Arsenic Hour” I’m not sure if this is because you feel like you’ve been given arsenic or you would like to take some afterwards, but either way, it’s apt.) Without the door AND THE LOCK, I’m pretty sure the physical nature of our marriage would not exist.

Without closed doors, I would never sleep. I sleep lightly – this was a bonus side-effect of delivering my first child; I will wake at the slightest noise. God has blessed me with two very noisy boys, who yell and shout both when they are awake AND when they are sleeping. They grunt, shout, holler, sometimes even laugh maniacally. They speak in tongues, even. (Have I had conversations with them while they were sleeping? Yes, I have.)  They do not find sleep as a gentle and comforting friend, they wrestle with it. All night long. Were I subject to these melees through the open doors of their rooms I would never sleep a wink.

Without closed doors, I would also not be able to pee. I tend to get stage fright when someone else is nearby, and a public restroom is no exception. I have to time things to that I’m alone, or it could take me twenty minutes to finish up. If there were little people pestering me, well, I would just have to give up liquids altogether.

Without closed doors, I could never access the hidden stash of good chocolate I keep in the pantry behind yucky stuff like cans of tuna and baked beans. My six-year-old is a foodie, and if he spotted the salted caramel dark chocolate, Powerberries and Toblerones we keep hidden back there, he would most assuredly eat all of it. What six-year-old likes dark chocolate, I ask you? It’s just not normal.

This also brings to mind a family tradition we fondly refer to as The Bleeding or Barfing Clause. Why did we write this clause? It might have been after I was fiercely awakened at 3am by my older son’s urgent whisper: “Mom! There’s a disc stuck in the DVD player and I can’t get it out! Can you help?!” Um, no. No, I can’t.

Bleeding or barfing.

Perhaps it was when my younger cherub screamed bloody murder from the bathroom, a scream with which I instantly envisioned his scalp sliced open and face covered in blood. But no, it was because a LEGO just washed down the bathtub drain.

Bleeding or barfing.

Or, maybe it was one of those many, many times that they waltzed into the bedroom to dialogue with me about the misdeeds and transgressions of the other brother.  While I was in the shower. A glass shower.

As such, the Bleeding or Barfing Clause was instated. As in:

  • You do not wake up mom and dad in the middle of the night unless you are bleeding or barfing
  • You do not scream bloody murder about anything unless you are bleeding or barfing.
  • You do not pound on, yell through, kick or otherwise open a closed  bedroom door unless you are bleeding or barfing.

In short (not so very short) I’m all for doors. And locks. And limits. And boundaries. And leaving small children to their own devices in the middle of the night so I can get some actual sleep, to make up for the first five years of their lives in which I didn’t.

So basically, it’s all just payback. Momma needs sleep.

Bleeding or barfing.

The end.

Remind me sometime to tell you a story that happened recently in the benignity of In ‘N Out Burger, a story in which blood-curdling screaming occurred, coupled with the phrase “I’m BLEEDING!” and sure ’nuff, he most certainly was. 


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11 Comments leave one →
  1. September 5, 2013 5:26 am

    Love this! Laughed all the way through! I love doors. And locks. And my sleep. AND Powerberries.

  2. Nikki permalink
    September 5, 2013 6:01 am

    Love this! Thanks for sharing!

  3. September 5, 2013 8:57 am

    Love it ! We just may have to adopt this clause in our household! 🙂

  4. Robert T. Stone permalink
    September 5, 2013 9:04 am

    regarding certain paragraphs, no comment. Regarding barf and bleed, hey, I remember someone who would crawl down the hall in the middle of the night to tell us “I can’t sleep!” What goes around should come around.

    • September 5, 2013 3:32 pm

      Thank you for the ration of words, Daddy. And the reminder that the curse was, in fact, inherited. Let’s hope we can giggle about this when the next generation gets the same!

  5. September 6, 2013 8:37 am

    😂 Yet another beautiful and practical post on parenting! Thank you for closed doors; I most certainly agree!

  6. bluehousegardener permalink
    September 6, 2013 9:32 am

    So Fantastic! I have 6 children, two of whom I have graciously allowed to live all the way to early adulthood—we’ll see about the four boys. One of our rules from the very beginning was the fire, blood or barf rule. At the end of the arsenic hour—I will use this all the time now—anyone who trespassed into adult territory understood they had better be puking, bloody, or actually ON FIRE. One memorable night, I heard the desperate fierce whispers of an older sister as she crouched behind the upstairs railing while her brother came cluelessly wandering down towards me. “Fire, Blood or Barf!! Fire, Blood or Barf!!!” Disaster Averted.

    • September 6, 2013 9:53 am

      Oh, that is marvelous! Well done, you! Let me know how it goes with the four boys. I only have two, and I’m not sure about that allowing them to live into adulthood bit…

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