People who equate truth with fact are missing the point.

Random Pee-er

Pssst…come close…a little closer. That’s good. Now listen carefully because I’m going to whisper this next part; you know how I hate to tempt the universe.

Things are good here. Like, freaky good. Awesome, even. All is quiet and lovely and about as peaceful as things have been in a year and a half.

With things fairly quiet, we’re paying attention to some of the things that we don’t usually.

The human brain is wired to pay attention to the most salient stimuli. When I was in labor with Jacob and the contractions were rolling over me with almost no break in between, I didn’t even feel the nurse who was digging around in my arm, trying to place an IV. After he was born and I noticed the HUGE bruises on my arm, I asked, “What happened there?”

So when we’re busy keeping Carter from collapsing into a wormhole built of his own anxiety or fending off his violent attacks, the fact that he sleeps in our room is not something we even notice all that much.

Now? We notice.

Now that we’re not stressed right up to our eyeballs, we would like a little more freedom to do things that adults sometimes do in private. The fact that the boy is asleep on the futon just a few feet from our bed is making that difficult.

Trouble is, his illness is cyclical and a dozen times (probably more, but who can remember?), we’ve done the necessary work to help him sleep comfortably in his own room.

And just as many times, as he cycles out of stability and back to acute anxiety or the insomnia that comes with mania, he ends up back in our bedroom. Getting him back out? Challenging.

Complicating things these days is that something in his med cocktail is causing an abundance of sleepwalking. Confused, bizarre sleepwalking.

When he sleepwalks? Carter is a random pee-er. In recent weeks, he has peed on my shoes; in the cabinet under the sink; in a laundry basket; on the full-length mirror in the bathroom (so close!); and, memorably, in the little refrigerator that’s in one of our bedroom closets.*

He gets up, stumbling like a tiny, red-headed version of Frankenstein’s monster, looking for a toilet. Seeing as how he’s asleep? Finding the toilet isn’t easy.

We keep moving it around, of course, because that’s just good fun right there.

All this middle of the night stumbling can be fun sometimes, too. I find Carter asleep, sitting up on the futon in our room. When I try to lay him down, he shrieks at me like I poked him with tongs, swinging and fighting until I decide to let him sleep any old place he wants.

Perhaps he should sleep in the bathtub? Easy to clean up the pee from in there.

And sometimes, when I try to move him from a cold, uncomfortable, or unsafe sleeping place, I interrupt a dream and there is much screaming, like so: NO! DON’T LET THE UGLY CROCODILES EAT MY ELBOWS! I DON’T WANT TO SEE THEIR UGLY EYES AND FEET!

And of course I never let the crocodiles (ugly or otherwise) eat his elbows because what kind of mother would I be if I let such a thing happen?


So the boy is stumbling around the house, peeing on things, and where does he always end up? Our room.


I would be more eager (maybe even a little excited) about moving him to his room if we hadn’t already run this drill so many times.

Only the promise of privacy for aforementioned adult activities gives me the least little bit of motivation.

So now? I’m going to put the futon away.


And I’m going to help him clean his room and arrange everything just the way he likes it.


And we will hope and pray that he’s stable enough to sleep in there for longer than a few weeks this time.


Also? I’m locking my closet because nobody wants to wear pee shoes.

*That little fridge is leftover from the years when Carter was underweight and constantly on the brink of needing a surgical feeding tube. If he woke at 3 am and wanted yogurt? We weren’t about to deny him but it was way nice not to have to go downstairs to get it.

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36 comments to Random Pee-er

  • Best wishes for sleep for Carter, more adult activities for you and your hubby and pee-free shoes for one and all!

    There are so many things I take for granted. This post points them out. No pee in my shoes or other spots around the house is just the beginning. Thank you!

  • Best of luck with this adventure. Does it at least get easier each time?

    • Unfortunately, no. It gets worse. Or it has gotten worse since the hallucinations entered the picture. That’s understandable, of course, but it’s mostly a matter of getting him out of the habit of wandering to the futon after he pees on something in the night!

  • My brother was a sleepwalker. One time, he walked into the living room where my parents were playing bridge with 3 other couples, and peed in the fireplace, then went back to bed. Hilarious when it happens once; grueling when it’s happening all the time. Can I just say how grateful I am that you’re able to laugh at it all, and share the amusement with us? I hope this time works, and that he can get some relief from the monsters for a while. Hang in there.

    • Oh, that is too funny! My sister used to sleepwalk occasionally and that was plenty funny (I need a fish, Mommy!), but the peeing is a whole new dimension.

      Last night he woke up and was looking for a toilet, but I was still awake to steer him. And thank you; we are ready (SO ready) for a nice, long break. And this blog and all my wonderful blogger friends? I give them much credit with helping me rediscover humor. No hyperbole: that has changed my life. I could not possibly be more grateful.

  • Best of luck reintroducing Carter to sleeping in his own room. PS: Your blog is amazing! 🙂

  • CDG

    Enjoy re-discovering your adult in the bedroom time.

    That? Worth the pee shoes!

    (I knocked on wood and spit over my left shoulder to keep the universe in check for you.)

    • He slept in his own bedroom for a few hours last night – long enough for us to spend a little time on that little rediscovery project. 😉

      And thank you! As you know, I always appreciate any and all help with the fickle universe. She is the boss! I will not tempt her!

  • maybe you should put your shoes on the closet shelf?


    do adult things in the bathroom?*

    *i’m assuming the bathroom door locks and that’s not a place carter regularly uses for random peeing?

    • Hah! The image of us, old and fat as we are, doing adult things in the bathroom…very funny!

      In fact, this house is way too big for us and virtually littered with beds, so we can always find a place. We’re just looking forward to, you know, NOT finding a place and just doing what comes naturally right where we already are. Last night? Carter slept for several hours in his own room, so that’s a start.

    • Oh! Also? Yes, most of my shoes are now on the shelves.

  • I like the random peeing. Mostly because it’s not happening in my home. On the kinder side, I’m happy to hear you are getting to enjoy a bit of piece right now. I am distracted and not actually illiterate. Peace. Not piece. Sigh. Happy sleeping and privacy to you!

    • Snort! You cracked me up!

      And thank you. We co-slept with all our kids, but we were never interested in doing it with an eight year old! Fingers crossed that we’re entering a long period of stability and in-his-own-room sleeping is going to be the normal thing around here.

  • I am having a very quiet little happy dance party over here…you know, as to NOT let the universe know that good is happening so it doesn’t find it and shit all over the place. because the universe? can be a bitch. except when it is doing cool things like this. Yay Carter!

    • I’m hoping, that if I loudly express my very real gratitude, the universe will take that as an acceptable offering and let us enjoy this for a good long time.

      I have learned too often that the universe is very fond of slapping around the people whose egos are too large. Ahem.

      And thank you. So, so much.

  • How awesome that things are stable enough that you are able to give thought to private adult activities.

    I am imagining you are off doing said activities right this moment.

    Not in a creepy way.

    Just in a, “YAY for Adrienne!” way.

    Not creepy at all.

    Love you.

  • For the past month, we’ve had to wake my son up around 10 p.m. every night to pee.

    Luckily, he hates sleeping with us so my shoes are safe.

    Too bad his aren’t.

    • Turns out, it’s the lithium. Something about the effect it has on the kidneys, so he pees as often during the night as he does during the day, but the other meds make him sleep more soundly. Honestly, this random peeing is better than him wetting the bed. We don’t have carpet, so cleaning up pee on the floor (or a mirror, or a laundry basket, or whatever) is easier than getting it out of a mattress.

  • I just wandered over here from a BlogHer link, and I just want to say you’re a beautiful writer. The way you can put heartbreak and humor in the same post is amazing, and you now have a new fan.

  • I was able to successfully break the sleeping-in-my-room cycle, but my son’s anxiety has been high and he insists on sleeping with his sister. Even if I put them to bed separately and threaten them with death, in the morning, there he is in her bed. He needs to feel safe and she wants to protect him. It could be a lot worse though, at least when he gets up in the middle of the night he manages to pee in the toilet. :/

    • That anxiety is a kick in the pants, isn’t it? It’s not good for Carter to be in our bedroom (boundary issues and all that), but I’m not willing to force him to do something that’s terrifying. So we’re a little bit stuck. When Spencer is here (3 nights a week), Carter will sometimes sleep with him, but that doesn’t often work.

      I think that’s very sweet that your daughter wants to protect him! How much worse if he wanted that and she was screaming at him to go away, huh?

  • You are awesome. You are an awesome mama. That must be really tough dealing with the sleep walking. Terrors and sleep walking are a scary thing. Sometimes my husband has insomnia, so for a poor kid to have to deal with it? That must be rough.

    Good luck with the adult activities. Try the bathroom or something.

    • Thank you! I think we’ll be able to get him back into his own room over the next couple of weeks. Just hoping that it lasts for awhile this time!

      Yeah, sleep issues have been a huge problem with Carter, right from his birth. He has always had terrible trouble falling and staying asleep, plus nightmares and now the sleepwalking. But it’s better than it was, so I’ll take any improvement and cross my fingers for more!

  • as someone who has suffered from mental illness, i totally know what you mean when you say you don’t want to tempt the universe. those periods of quiet are so…unexpected and just joyful. thank you for this post; it is so good to know that there ARE people in this world who are dealing with some crazy stuff and still are able to find the funny. it’s so refreshing.

    good luck with the sleeppeeing. at least it’s not sleepsharting.

    • Thank you! I think that, without finding the humor, without looking for the funny? I might not survive. We look for ways to laugh around here, and if we can’t find any, we’ll invent some.

  • AmyLynn

    Ahhhh I remember these kind of days with my child. We used her vacated room for meeting up for adult needs. We had a lock on the door and a futon in there….

    Later we would stumble sleepily back into our room, step over her (sleeping in her sleeping bag at the end of our bed) and fall asleep peacefully

  • It’s interesting to see mental illness from the point of view of the parent. I’m 36, and while I don’t sleepwalk and pee around our house, I do have severe bouts of insomnia where I won’t sleep for days and then crash for 24 hours. If I do manage sleep, I have terrible nightmares and have been told that I talk and struggle with an invisible attacker. Who has to put up with this? My husband often sleeps in his lazy boy in the living room as a result. I feel bad too sometimes because every once in a while I catch my 8 year old parenting me instead of the other way around. “Mommy, have you taken your meds this morning?” Me=Oops.

    • Oh, ouch. Yeah, that’s really hard.

      I, too, have pretty severe insomnia, and in combination with Carter’s sleep issues, I miss a LOT of sleep. That part sucks, but when I DO get to sleep? Pure heaven.

  • Ant Judy

    A couple of weeks ago your grandfather was dawdling over his breakfast and the other 5 lady residents had finished and left the table. CeeCee, the caregiver (Dad responds to her that he’s a caretaker) was helping one of the ladies bathe and Dad had to pee. He took off his shoes, his pants, his Depends and peed on the floor under the dining table. An ombuds was on the way so by the time CeeCee discovered him, she just had time to wipe the (hardwood) floor, toss him back into his clothes and smile.

    Could just run in the family. Only Dad wasn’t sleeping.

    Are you well-invested in flipflops?

    My mental fingers are quietly but firmly crossed for continued serenity-your-style.

    • I about choked reading this! I’m a little flummoxed at the notion of an immodest Roland.

      Yes, I can wash most of my shoes in the bathtub. And thank you! We’re very (VERY) ready for a long rest from all the chaos.

  • I moved my husband’s bed into daughter’s room, and moved daughter’s bed and stuff into the main bedroom with me. That way daughter can sleep with me. She has terrible anxiety and nightmares, too (also a sleepwalker). When we need some grownup time, I just go into husband’s room for a while, and then I go back to my room to sleep.

    This way I get the double bonus of not having to hear husband’s snoring, too!

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