Thursday, 7 April 2011

Universal truths

Michelle walked down the stairs with the baby on her hip. Jake was sitting on the couch flipping channels while the twins played on the living room floor.

No coffee.

“Do you want to hold the baby so I can make the coffee or do you want to make it?” she asked.

“Here, I’ll take her.” Jake reached for the baby, ogled the bra strap peeking out from under his wife’s blue tank and raised an eyebrow.

“Don’t even think about it.” She snapped and headed into the kitchen.

“It’s been like six months, you know.”

“It’s been two, exaggerator.”

“Well it feels like six.” There was an edge in his voice.

“Listen” she turned the grinder off, “when I get some sleep, when I’m not exhausted, then I’ll think about that.”

“Whatever.” He muttered to himself.

“I can hear you.” Michelle called out.

The tension between them had been escalating all week. The baby had an ear infection and she was teething again. The boys wrestling on the floor, fighting over who was going to use Gordon, suddenly felt unbearable.

“Cut it out or I’ll take the train away and neither of you will use it!” She yelled, a wave of fatigue diminishing any bit of patience she had.

Jake put the baby in the excersaucer and walked to the kitchen. He put an arm around his wife, squeezing her shoulder. “Calm down, they’re just playing.”

Michelle pushed him away. “Fine, sorry. I just need coffee. I don’t know how much longer I can function on no sleep. I don’t think you understand what I’m going through here.”

Jake tried to keep the irritation out of his voice. “I know, I know. Tell me what to do. What can I do for you?”

“Nothing, you need to get sleep for work.” She was sobbing now and collapsed onto one of the wooden chairs. “I feel like you think I sound like a broken record, Jay, but this is so hard. Why won’t this baby sleep?”

“I don’t know, but I think there’s something wrong with her.” He wished he could take it back as soon as it was out of his mouth.

“Something wrong with her? What a thing to say! There’s nothing wrong with our baby!”
Michelle stood up, and walked to the coffee maker.

“You know that’s not what I meant. I mean, why’s Simon’s kid sleeping six hours already and he’s three months younger than Janey? And didn’t you say Courtney’s baby was doing ten hours straight?”

“So? That doesn’t mean Janey is abnormal. There’s nothing wrong with her!” Michelle set her steaming mug on the side table, grabbed the baby and sat down to nurse.

Jake grabbed his coffee and headed upstairs to get ready for work.

This is a piece of fiction based on the Red Writing Hood prompt someone has stolen something from you of tremendous value.


  1. This is such an original take on this prompt-and it brought back so many memories too.

    What I love about your writing is how real your characters are. Like this part:

    There’s nothing wrong with her!” Michelle set her steaming mug on the side table, grabbed the baby and sat down to nurse.

    Jake grabbed his coffee and headed upstairs to get ready for work.

    Perfect scene and a perfect ending.

    Great writing Kim!

  2. This definitely feels very real to me. I cringe just remembering those days.

  3. I remember those days too! You suck me into your stories...I kind of feel like I'm peeking in a neighbour's window.

  4. Surviving on very little sleep makes everything harder to take. That was beautifully written.

  5. This just about sums it up. That exersaucer was a Godsend!

  6. Very unique perspective on the prompt and as always amazing writing.

  7. So you're saying that someone stole sleep from you and it's a very valuable thing? Indeed.

    As someone who is only 3 days sleep-deprived from a teething baby and not many months deprived, I feel for you and the young woman in this tale.

    Lovely writing. Great use of adjectives to really make me see what you're writing about.

  8. I think almost every mother can relate to this one, so this felt very real for me. Every time our little girl was teething my husband use to say he thnks she's broken.
    I remember not to long ago, sitting and sobbing in the bathroom, not having cried like this for anything that wasn't a movie before.
    I felt better after that.
    Now I can hardly even remember it.

    If this is fictional, great story. If this is real, hang in there. It will pass.

  9. Wow, this sounded like my life! It's so well written I could feel the tension in the room!

  10. I agree. Your characters resonate truthfully, both in this rdc entry and your others. It is my fav. part about this.

  11. This is so real, and the dialogue sounds so natural - which is something many writers can't achieve no matter how hard they try. And who doesn't know that feeling of escalating tension between a couple? Great stuff.

  12. Wonderful job capturing the tension that arises from lack of sleep. The dialogue is very tight and moves the scene along, which is tough to do!

  13. I think this is a universal problem for most moms at some point. And usually most men, don't get it. It puts a lot of stress on everyone. Great job-

  14. Great take on the prompt...and oh so familiar. I can remember feeling exactly like that!

  15. I can remember crying for lack of sleep.
    As I was a single mom, the marital tension can only imagine. But your writing sounds spot on.

    Good job.

  16. You really have a gift for dialogue that moves the action forward. That is very difficult to do!

    Great job!

  17. The dialogue is "spot on" as Gordon Ramsey would say. Great job with this prompt. You touched on feelings that many of us can relate to.

  18. WOW I think you were spying on my life after my 1st son was born!

    You never know how much you miss sleep until you don't have it!

    Great job!

  19. Oh wow. This was perfect. I've SO been there. You nailed that feeling of frustration. Logically, Michelle knows her husband needs to sleep so he can function for work. Emotionally...not so much.

  20. I feel like you wrote my mommy bio. I felt so robbed (of sleep, of time). You captured that sense of being deprived so well!

  21. Yeah, it's been years bu I remember it like it was yesterday.

  22. Even though Noah is almost 9, it is not sleep that I'm lacking but me-time. Actually, it is frustration that I don't see Devin SACRIFICING and struggling as much as I do to parent Noah. Well done, and man this brought up some emotion...


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