Several months ago when my son was just a brand new baby I desperately needed to get out of the house and we desperately needed some necessities so a perfect storm was created and I was sent to Target. Alone. *cue angels singing*
Except it wasn’t exactly as perfect as you might imagine. At that point we had a very hangry, fussy baby, who could usually only be calmed by nursing. Not bottle feeding; nursing. Believe me, we tried that damn bottle. My husband would get a little sweaty at the thought of my boobs being away from our little fuss bucket and thus I felt immediately “on the clock” at Target.
One of the items on the list was new sheets. We had recently donated my lovely jersey knit lime green college sheets as I felt we needed something more “adult”. Because we were parents now. We were left with one set of good Spring/Summer sheets, and we needed a back-up set for when I was washing the other.
The Target list was long, and I kept getting distracted by all the beautiful, fun, necessary other Target eye candy in every aisle and endcap until before I knew it, I got The Text. The SOS text. The Come Home Now Your Boobs Are Needed Immediately and Not in a Fun Way text.
My eyes rapidly scanned the sheets, looking for the cheapest of the same brand we had at home and loved. I saw one that looked similar, barely noting the description of “cool and crisp” (I mean who doesn’t want to sleep on cool sheets? That’s the dream, right?),threw it in the cart and rushed my boobs home to my baby.
Later that day I took the new sheets out of the package and as I unfolded them and carried them to the washer I started to feel that feeling that you get when you slowly start to realize you maybe did something very, very wrong. That maybe you didn’t buy what you thought you bought. The sheets felt a little stiff. Like, more than a little. Nothing a good wash couldn’t fix though, right?
Wrong. Those sheets were legit wax paper. I nervously put them on our bed hoping they would feel more “CRISP” and less “HORRIBLE.” I didn’t say a word about them. Despite their awfulness, they were $49 and that wasn’t an amount of money we could just “oh well” and buy again the next day. Not when we were spending $49 on diapers every couple weeks for the foreseeable future. (And side note – what are you supposed to spend on sheets? I missed this life knowledge somewhere along the way. $50 seems like it should buy you a decent piece of fabric cut into two big squares and 2 small squares. How is that hard? How does that require hundreds of dollars?) Anyway, these $49 wax sheets were going to have to cut it for the next several years or until I decided I would forfeit my bubble bath budget on sheets. So basically they were going to have to last forever, because I can sleep in stiff sheets but I CANNOT sit in plain old stress water for my baths. I need potions and smells and entertainment and bubbles and to not have to stare at my own naked body clearly through plain water where I will inevitably also see little bits of like hair or soap scum floating around or something else that will totally ruin my zen. I pictured the sheets becoming silky with time. This is a thing, right? Aren’t they supposed to get softer with time? In my head this was a thing.
That night after my husband completed the painstakingly delicate impossible task of depositing sleeping baby from arms to basinet, we began the task of silently stripping down the bed so we could get inside.
It sounded like we were waving a ream of paper in the wind during a sleet storm.
We froze. Held our breath. Ducked silently beneath his viewpoint.
Repeat about 15 times until we were finally lying on top of the sheets like mummies, terrified to make a single move. Tonight was not going to be a night where we got to sprawl out generously, to wiggle our toes around and adjust our pillows. Tonight was a night of DO NOT DARE MOVE A SINGLE MUSCLE UNTIL THE SUN HAS RISEN.
Needless to say, the sheets came off the next morning.
I googled every kind of remedy for stiff sheets and was certain each would be the fix. I washed those sheets over and over. Still “CRISP”*
*creative marketing term used to describe horrible sheets
We lived in our old sheets, wearing holes in the corners and going a disturbingly long time between washings because we couldn’t bear the thought of the wax paper sheets caressing our skin like sandpaper each night.
On Monday, months later, I pulled the new sheets back out. Our son is now sleeping in his own room and we no longer have to hold our breath in silence from the moment he falls asleep until the moment he wakes up. I looked at them with curiosity. Surely they weren’t as bad as I had imagined.
As my husband turned down the comforter I could feel the PTSD memories flashing before his eyes. He looked at me like I had thrown his golf clubs to the bottom of the ocean. Like what the hell have you done to me? Why are you trying to ruin my life?
“Maybe they will be different now …” I offered hopefully.
They were not.
“Remember when you bought the worst sheets in the world?” my husband asked.
And suddenly I realized something. The true villain in the story wasn’t the sheets themselves, but the lack of unrestrained free-time in the Mecca land of shopping.
“Remember when you rushed me and my boobs home from Target?” I asked. “This is what happens when you rush me at Target,” I said waving my hands over our bed, shrouded in the CRISP* sheets of regret. “This is what happens. Let this be a lesson.”
Let it be a lesson to all mankind. Never rush a woman at Target.