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Sunday, September 02, 2012

This is a test... this is only a test!

People who came of age during the Cold War certainly remember the weekly broadcast interruptions on radio and TV stations which would follow one of the following formats:

  • "This is a test. For the next sixty (or thirty) seconds, this station will conduct a test of the Emergency Broadcast System. This is only a test."
  • "(name of host station in a particular market) is conducting a test of the Emergency Broadcast System. This is only a test." (Mainly radio stations used this particular format)
  • "This is a test. (Name of Host Station) is conducting a test of the Emergency Broadcast System. This is only a test."
  • "This is a test. This station is conducting a test of the Emergency Broadcast System. This is only a test."

What these regular announcements shared was that they began and ended by assuring the public that there was no actual emergency.  In other words; 'stay calm... no need to panic'. 

In the Cold War years of 'duck & cover' drills, fallout shelters and the like, it was understood that the requirement to test the Emergency Broadcast System couldn't be done at the expense of stressing-out the already jittery public.

I mention this bit of trivia today because our youngest child seems to have intuitively internalized this lesson, and successfully applied it to his night-time forays into the parental bedroom.

It must be stressed that with all of our children, the primary reason for a night-time visit to our bedroom has traditionally been to announce an imminent, or just completed, bout of vomiting. 

And as Zahava doesn't 'do' vomit, the protocol requires that the announcement be delivered on my side of the parental bed.

Now, the problem for me as the primary POC for night-time visits, is that I'm a very sound sleeper, and often have no idea what is going on... and little or no recollection of said visit afterwards.

This means I tend to rely almost entirely on my subconscious mind and instinct to manage these little night-time 'emergencies'. 

All of our kids can report that within nano-seconds of my becoming aware of their presence next to my side of the bed, they are generally given the bum's rush (i.e. gripped firmly by the collar and seat of their pajamas) to the toilet with the business end of the child pointed away from their still mostly sleeping father. 

In most cases, their feet never actually touch the floor during this nocturnal dash!

Any parent who has ever had their side of the bed (or themselves!) splashed with the partially digested contents of a child's stomach will understand this instinct for self-preservation.

So back to the present.

Presumably because he's the baby, Yonah has come down to our bedroom in the middle of the night more frequently than his older sibs ever did; usually for one or more of the following reasons (unrelated to vomiting):

  • Wants a drink
  • Wants a snack
  • Wants itchy pajamas changed for more comfy ones
  • Wants dislodged bedding (sheets, blankets, etc.) re-made
  • Wants strange noise(s) investigated
  • Wants dog to keep him company in bed
  • Wants dog removed from his bed
  • Wants to talk

... and the all-time, hands down, most common reason for a midnight visit from Yonah:

  • Wants to snuggle

The problem here (as Yonah has discovered the hard way), is that it's hard to buck the conditioning gained during the formative years of our two older children.  When a child appears at my bedside, I tend to 'scoop and run' first... and ask questions later. 

This has resulted on more than one occasion in my coming awake to find a thrashing Yonah suspended over the toilet at arms reach, when all he wanted was a drink of water or a hug!

[Yup, that kid is gonna get his money's worth out of any future therapy sessions!]

As a result, the following is the approximately what transpired last night:

The Scene:  Our darkened master bedroom

The Time:  00:42 (12:42 AM for you civilians)

The Nocturnal Intruder Visitor: Our eight-year-old son, Yonah

The Announcement:  "Abba, I'm okay... I just want to snuggle you.  Can I snuggle you for a little while?  I'm okay."

This morning at breakfast he thanked me for letting him come into my bed and snuggle for a little while... and for not dragging him into the bathroom.

Smart boy. 

Posted by David Bogner on September 2, 2012 | Permalink

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Thank you for the smile! I'd love to meet Yonah one day. He really sounds adorable.

Posted by: Kiwi Noa | Sep 2, 2012 12:50:59 PM

Precious!

Posted by: SaraK | Sep 2, 2012 1:19:54 PM

I love that even though I (more often than not) witness these little interludes, that reading your "take" on them still makes me laugh out loud!

Posted by: zahava | Sep 2, 2012 4:50:43 PM

GREAT POST. I can totally relate.

Posted by: anon | Sep 2, 2012 9:48:18 PM

I also LOL'd. :)

Posted by: Yaron | Sep 3, 2012 12:03:02 AM

i'm reading this now in the middle of the night as i wait for the wash to finish . . . because my son threw up in bed, woke me up and i'm washing his bedding

Posted by: abba's rantings | Sep 3, 2012 1:21:58 PM

Then you and I must be about the same age, because I remember very well the Emergency Broadcast System alerts (with the long beep in the middle between the announcer's speech).

Posted by: sheldan | Sep 3, 2012 4:56:46 PM

OMG! LOL! I really had a good chuckle at this......

Posted by: rickismom | Sep 4, 2012 12:58:20 AM

I can totally relate when our three boys were little. throw up popcorn was THE worst. (on the carpet on my side of the bed, of course)

Now they are all grown and gone, with babies of their own waking up in the night crying. Grandmother (my Mother) suggested checking them for worms. yes, that was a lovely email to write.

Posted by: joyce | Sep 4, 2012 2:42:21 PM

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