You fix the covers, lean in for a kiss then slowly step back away from the bed. Turning, you mimic a church mouse trying to scurry across the room towards the door. The whole way your heart is beating like a bass drum while the stress makes the blood pound in your ears. With shaky hands you reach for the door and pray it doesn’t squeak.
You’re out in the hall where the fresh air of freedom begins cooling your flushed face. You turn to close the door behind you. You’re almost done. Downstairs your spouse is waiting anxiously – ready for whatever the two of you had planned for the evening (which usually involves the romantic organization of toys). The door is almost touching the frame, the crack is growing smaller, the tiny black line of the dark room within is disappearing to nothing when all of a sudden… “Daddy!?”
Well, perhaps it’s not all that bad but for those of you who currently have, or at one point had young kids, you’ll probably recognize the “bedroom dash” – that brief moment of time (directly related to the size of child’s room) that it takes to get from your sleeping child’s bed to the bedroom door right after they’ve fallen asleep.
To a parent this is one of the most nerve racking moments in daily parenting life. It’s sheer stress. Those three seconds can be either blissfully uneventful or disappointingly chaotic. When everything goes well, you leave the room and carry on with whatever you had planned for the evening, but on those random days when your child’s sixth sense kicks in, leaving the room without being noticed is next to impossible. It’s as if kids lie there waiting for you to be at the furthest point of freedom before they yank the chain of liberty and call you back into their cuddly clutches. Although it’s more than that, because only seconds ago they were happily asleep dreaming of mud pies and shaved cats when all of a sudden their subconscious magically notices the absence of your body heat in an otherwise empty room and they sound the alarm – and we all know what happens if we don’t go back into that room! Oh, the chaos!
But it doesn’t stop there. Now there are penalties involved. In a perfect world, going back in would involve picking up where you left off but we all know that kids don’t work that way. Suddenly you’ve been thrust into the defensive, needing to account for why you left. What atrocity have they committed to warrant being left stranded in the middle of a deserted bedroom with no adult supervision? The inquisition is usually followed up by a request for water or the need for a bathroom break which inevitably leaves them awake and refreshed after the short power nap they had while you were making your big break. At this point you might as well pull up a chair because it’s going to be a long night.
I debated whether or not wanting to leave my kid’s room at end of the day makes me a bad parent but the sore ribs from playing daddy trampoline made me quickly discard the thought. I realize that no matter how much we love our kids the time we have to ourselves at the end of a long day is like a miniature holiday. We pick up toys, clean up, try to convince the cat that the coast is clear and pass out quickly from exhaustion. The funny thing is that we love every masochistic minute of it.
Have you ever experienced the bedroom dash? If so share your story below.