Love Means Never Having to Say “That Was Me You Kicked In the Head Last Night”

by Janna Qualman

Dear Diary,

I’m exhausted. I was up all night, because every time I’d nod off... I’m sore all over from…

Oh, I’m getting ahead of myself, let me back up…

It’s all because of my little girl. She of the cotton pants and cowgirl boots, with the sweet tooth and insatiable thirst for juice.

She is so special. I like it when she giggles from her belly because something tickles her so deep. Or when she puckers her tiny mouth for a kiss, and her chin is the scrunchy, wrinkly best part. She’s a good snugglebum and has a super imagination and she makes us laugh and prickles us with pride. There is so much about her to love.

It’s just… Okay, here goes… I could do without her brutal violence, that’s the thing. There, I’ve said it. I’ve been needing to talk to someone for a while now, Diary, and I’m so glad I have you.

People wouldn’t believe it if I told them. My little girl has everyone fooled with her petite cuteness, and her precocious vocabulary, those little eyes and that little nose and everything else that is so mini and adorable about her. She draws them in with her smile. She makes them love her.

But it’s true and it’s sordid. I can keep quiet about it no longer.

She is a mean little beast, and she is sneaky about it.

I never know when an attack is coming, I can’t brace myself, because—and I think she has this calculated—I’m asleep. Solid and happy and asleep. This side of her comes out after she’s climbed into my bed at night. After she’s taken the pocket of space right up next to me, Diary, even when there’s a whole huge mattress of room. She crowds me out. Her advantage is my disadvantage; I cannot protect myself against her, her strategic skills are phenomenal.

There’s the whole knee-launched-into-back thing, that’s nearly a Karate Kid kind of move. She’s only seen the movie once, but wow, she must have really paid attention. Or the elbow-whammed-into-chest, like she’s been watching Wrestlemania. Or her uncles. Maybe she’s been watching her uncles, because sometimes they act like they’re in the ring. I’ve had a hand to the eye—thwack!—and the scratch-dig-scratch at my side, like she’s trying to tickle but it’s not quite so innocent. It’s like she’s been trained or something. (What are they teaching her in kindergarten?)

This is bad, Diary, and I’m so embarrassed, because the worst part? She’s out like a light, too. She beats me up in our sleep.

I can’t say that to just anybody. Do you know what they would do? Do you know how they would laugh? This has to stay between you and me. I can’t even mention it to my little girl. What would I say? “Sweetie, come look at my puffy eyelid. Yeah, you did that.” Or, “Mommy’s just going to soak in the hot water for a while longer. You really clocked me good.” I am not going to fuel the fire. And I can’t show any sign of weakness.

But then also, I really love her too much to say anything. All those spectacular things about her outweigh this, you know, issue. And it’s true what they say: Moms have to choose their battles…

Thanks for listening, Diary.

Yours truly until next time,

Janna is a freelance and women's fiction writer. She lives with her family in the Midwest, where she captures life through writing. You can visit and learn more at her blog, Something She Wrote.


  1. Poor little thing.... oh, and you too..... Very restless sleeper. :O)

  2. Oh, I know just what you mean. I've got two of those in my house. And if you were to see them during the day, you wouldn't suspect a thing.

  3. Last week we went to visit my mom for two days and I had to sleep with my daughter. Ugh. She's horrible! It's shocking that such little people can cause such harm in their sleep.

  4. My husband and son tag team me. My son sneaks in and pushes me towards the center of the bed so there is no escape route. Then as my husband snores and turns over clocking me in the head with an elbow while my son stretched and socks me in the stomach. Really, It's like a well choreographed violent ballet.

  5. This only reinforces my firm belief that children are evil, and my cagy decision to not have any was a good one.

  6. Why is it always the cute ones? When he was just a bundle of precious, mine with the blonde hair and dimples used to climb in bed with me, fall asleep, and immediately spin sideways. It's like he was miniature Chuck Norris by night.

  7. Both of my daughters were squirmy sleepers. My eldest, who is now 18, would climb into bed with me around the age of three and rub her feet up and down my legs in the night. It was like waking up next to a warm, soft octopus. Then my youngest is a bed hog, who has mastered that whole "elbow to mom's kidney" routine. Doesn't even wake up when I'm yowling in pain at 2 am -- just snorts and rolls over.

  8. Ah yes, I remember those days! And this is why God makes them cute. :) I have found however, that they reap what they sow, as my son is experiencing this joy with his son...


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