Slate’s Dear Prudence answers a question from a reader whose husband is a lifelong bed wetter who wears a diaper and rubber pants to bed each night. The reader is worried about the possibility of her children discovering their father’s secret and wants to know if they should be proactive and tell the kids before they find out for themselves.
First, let me say that this woman deserves a great deal of credit and at least a nomination for Spouse of the Year. While it’s true that if you love your spouse, this would not be a deal breaker, but they way in which she has accepted and even embraced the situation is remarkable.
We are both completely comfortable with his bed-wetting and diapers and it’s actually fun getting him ready for bed. I took over getting him diapered and its really made us closer.
This is a woman who you hold onto at all costs.
The thing that Emily Yoffe rarely does in her role as Prudence is comment on issues other than those specifically addressed in the letters she receives. While I have no quibble with the advice that she offers this woman (it’s a private matter that only needs to be explained if discovered), I can’t help but think that the most important sentence in the letter (that Yoffe ignores) is this:
So far, the 8-year-old has not discovered the secret, but routinely comes to our room at 4 a.m. after waking up.
This is the real problem. Your eight year-old should not be routinely waking up at 4:00 every morning (this coming from a person routinely awake at 4:00 every morning), and he absolutely, positively shouldn’t be coming into his parents’ room at that hour.
While we can’t control the time that our children wake up (I’ve tried), we can avoid rewarding them for waking up early by insisting that they remain in their own bedrooms and not disturb our sleep.
At three years-old, this is admittedly hard, and possibly impossible.
At five years-old, it’s probably still difficult.
But an eight year-old can be stopped. An eight year-old has reached the age of reason. An eight year-old understands consequences. An eight year-old can and should be stopped.
Forget your concerns about your husband’s diapers. Your child is not sleeping enough and is being rewarded for waking up too early. He is disturbing your sleep, as well, which is no less precious,
Sometimes the perceived problem and the real problem are two entirely different things.