All Sarah Cottrell wanted for Christmas was a few minutes of sleep before it was time to get up with her kids.
As the mom from Maine and Housewife Plus blogger wrote on Facebook, it was a struggle to get her two excited boys to go to sleep on Christmas Eve. After going through a series of bribes and threats, the children were snuggled in their beds and mom and dad went about arranging gifts and transforming the living room into “a magical wonderland.”
That takes time, so it was late when Cottrell finished setting up for Christmas day and tumbled into bed. That’s when her 8-year-old son appeared by her side:
He was inches from my nose so I’m glad that when he startled me awake I didn’t actually bolt upright because it would have knocked one of us out. “Mom! Is it Christmas yet?!” I tried to get him to go to bed but of course, that wasn’t going to happen without a veritable ton of bribery.
She tried snuggling him back to sleep in his own bed, only to wind up turning down an offer to check on the dogs, explaining he couldn’t get a glass of water and arguing over whether he needed to go to the bathroom.
Because it is impossible to talk an 8-year-old out of a trip to the bathroom, she was forced to resort to extreme measures in order to preserve the Christmas surprise:
I got up and found a Mason jar for him to pee into. There was no way I was going to let him go downstairs and see everything that was waiting for morning. Nope. So pee jar it was.
And so it went until it was nearly 4 a.m. Meanwhile, Cottrell’s son kept her awake with more and more questions and attempts to get out of bed. Between the Christmas Eve prep and her son’s shenanigans, she’d barely had any sleep at all. She wrote:
I was exhausted and desperate for just six minutes of rest so when I heard the coffee maker automatically go off and start brewing, I knew I had an opportunity to get my kid to quiet down and be still.
The noise coming from the coffee maker created a fantastic opportunity for the tired mom:
I turned my face toward my son and I whisper-screamed, “OHMYGAWD!!! DO YOU HEAR THAT?!” His eyes got huge. The coffee maker was making these low rumbling sounds that with a little bit of suggestion sure did sound an awful lot like a big fat jolly elf rummaging through a sack of toys.
“MOM!!!” He whisper-screamed back.
The rumbling from the coffee maker meant Cottrell would finally get the quiet she needed to sleep. Because no child would risk scaring off Santa by making noise or getting up. Sure, she would only have a brewing cycle worth of rest — about 12 minutes. But it was better than nothing.
Not to mention the fun of seeing her son’s reaction to the noises coming from downstairs:
He laid there with huge eyes and a wide open mouth. He squeezed my hand and I was trying as hard as I could to not die laughing. It was super sweet and funny.
But Cottrell had forgotten what happens when the coffee was done brewing. That meant she had to improvise quickly:
Then the coffeemaker bell went off. Dammit … I forgot about the bell. “What was that?!” He whisper-screamed at me. “Oh! That was Santa’s pager! It means his time is up and he has to get to the next house.” My eight-year-old jumped out of bed and ran to his window before I could say anything.
Fortunately, Cottrell’s family lives close enough to the airport that a low-flying plane was visible and helped sell her explanation. She wrote:
He looked out the window and saw “Santa” with blinking red and white lights flying low in the sky. “MOM!!! MOM!!! MOM!!! I SEE HIM! HE’S RIGHT THERE! OH, MY GOODNESS!!! I SAW SANTA! HE WAS HERE! HE WAS HERE!”
Of course, there was no sleep after that, and everyone was up and ready to celebrate Christmas at 5 a.m. But Cottrell’s coffee maker had given her a brief moment of rest and a memorable holiday moment with her son. She concluded:
“I didn’t get to sleep but I got to lay down for exactly 12 minutes and managed to make Christmas straight up magical for one deserving 8-year-old kid.”