The [Toddler]

Once upon a midnight dreary
As I Netflixed, weak and weary
Over many a quaint and curious series, watching seasons one through four–
While I nodded, nearly sleeping, suddenly there came a peeping
As of someone gently weeping, weeping through the nursery door–
“‘Tis just the wind,” I muttered, “howling through the nursery door–
Only this and nothing more.”

Ah, distinctly in denial it had been quite a while
And each episode’s conclusion begging me to watch some more.
Eagerly I wished the morrow;– vainly I had sought to borrow
From my Netflix surcease of sorrow–sorrow for pre-parenting days of yore–
For the rare and radiant indulgence of going solo to the store–
Sadly gone forever more.

And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each IKEA curtain
Thrilled me–filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the pounding in my head, I stood resounding
“‘Tis some broken toy with dying batteries at the nursery door,
Some failing plaything in its death throes at the nursery door;–
That is it and nothing more.”

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
“Toy,” said I, “or toddler, truly your abeyance I implore;
But the fact is I was sleeping, and so gently you came weeping,
And so faintly you came peeping, peeping at the nursery door,
That I scared, was sure I woke you” –here I opened wide the door;–
Silence there and nothing more.

Deep into the darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no child-free person ever dreamt;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken were the whispered words, “I’m spent.”
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the words, “I’m spent.”
Merely this, and diaper scent.

Back to the TV turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a peeping somewhat louder than before.
“Surely,” said I, “surely that is something I’ve imagined;
Let me see, then, what is pageant, and this mystery explore–
Let me check the nanny-cam a moment and this mystery explore;–
‘Tis a toy and nothing more!”

Standing there my heart did shudder, as only known to tired mother,
In there stood a pissed off toddler, favorite bear thrown on the floor;
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of feral beast from Hades, standing tall in crib beside the door–
Standing tall in fiercely gnawed on wooden crib just by the door–
Poised, and pissed, and nothing more.

Then this pouting tot beguiling my scared fancy into smiling,
By the pissed and stern decorum of the countenance he wore,
“Though thy bear be tossed and yonder, thou,” I said, “aren’t free to wander,
Tis your bedtime and lie down and go to sleep young one, I must implore,
Lie down and close your eyes as you were before!”
Quoth the toddler “Sleep no more.”

Much I marveled this unruly child to hear discourse so plainly,
Though it’s answer, though frustrating–little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet gave toddlers power, power over bedtime’s lure–
Stubborn toddler standing tall in crib just beside the door,
With his declaration, “Sleep no more.”

And the child, standing lonely in the unmade crib, spoke only
Those three words, as if his soul in those three words he did outpour.
Nothing farther then he uttered–not an eyelid even fluttered–
Till I scarcely more than muttered, “Other kids have tried before–
In a minute he will be sleepy, watch my show will I, once more.”
Then the spawn said, “Sleep no more.”

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
“Doubtless,” said I, “what he utters is precursor to a snore
Exhaustion will come fast or else this spells disaster
Oh Sandman come and cast your spell, let us end our mental tug of war–
Give me this, glimmer of hope, let this not become a nightly chore,
This game of, “Sleep no more.”

But the toddler still beguiling my frustration into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of child, and crib and door;
Then, with smartphone’s browser blinking, I betook myself to linking
Google searching, “How to lull this f$&@ing child to a snore”
End this game of “Sleep no more.”

This I sat engaged in browsing, willing tot to start his drowsing
While his fiery eyes now burning a hole right through the door;
This and more I sat there typing, tears of laughter I sat wiping
Fleeting ghosts of sanity scurrying out across the floor
Ah these last few bits of sanity scurrying out across the floor,
I shall have, ah, nevermore!

Then, methought, the air grew riper, perfumed by an unseen diaper
Hung from derrière of toddler tinkling just beyond the door.
“Ugh!” I cried, “why God this scent, please–by this toddler’s working kidneys
Respite–respite and no more pee and forget this foul odor;
Barf, oh barf this does kill me please forget this foul odor!”
Quoth the toddler “Sleep no more.”

“Stop it!” said I, “thing of evil!–stop it kid, I fear that we will
Weather diaper’s scent, and whether tempers tossed that bear to floor,
It’s so late and I’m exhausted, it matters not, the bear, who tossed it–
The edge of lunacy, I’ve crossed it–tell me truly, I implore–
Are you–ARE you getting sleepy?–tell me–tell me, I implore!”
Quoth the toddler, “Sleep no more.”

“Dammit!” said I, “thing of evil!–dammit kid, I dread that we will
See the Heavens dawn before us– as that sun ascends the shore–
Tell this mom so sleep-debt laden if, these memories will fade and
Night shall pass with my bed lain in with resounding bark of snores–
Get a rare and radiant dream in as I loudly start to snore.”
Quoth the toddler, “Sleep no more.”

“Say those words again I dare you, crotch goblin!” I spoke and glared, too–
“Get thee back into the covers and the nightlight’s gentle glow!
Leave your dreamscape so unbroken you’ll forget these words you’ve spoken!
Leave my Netflixing alone!–quit so I can watch my show!
Take thy bear from off the floor, and take thyself to dreamland, go!”
Quoth the toddler “Sleep no more.”

And the toddler, never bending, still is standing, STILL is standing
In the fiercely gnawed on wooden crib just beside the door;
And his eyes have all the gleaming of a demon who is scheming,
And the nightlight ‘side him beaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul so weak and weary await that toddler’s subtle snore,
Until then–I sleep no more.

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