Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Rock A Bye Baby

Is there anything in life more adorable than a sleeping child? They always look so much younger and milder when their cheeks are red with pillow marks and their eyes are closed. I love how my daughter always throws off the blankets, no matter the temperature, and how my son will always wind up upside down and with one leg thrown off the bed entirely.

That is, until they do these things while sleeping in my bed.

My husband is away this week and instead of enjoying the full width of my bed, sleeping in the middle, using more than one pillow, etc., I get a small child and a menagerie of stuffed animals as my bedfellows. I can hear my very practical friend’s voice now, “It’s your bed, you tell her to get out.” It’s never that easy. See, she honestly believes that she is doing me a service by sleeping with me. In her mind, she is preventing me from getting lonely, scared, or cold. She knows just where to install her night light, puts a book on the bedside table, and is very proud of herself for taking care of me.

Normally, I put up with it. It’s cute, she’s still small enough that if I situate her at the far side of the bed, I still have plenty of room and she generates just enough heat to keep the bed warm, but not toasty. But last night, the boy decided to get in on the act. I put him down in his own bed only to find him up and about over and over again during the night. And let me tell you, suddenly hearing a rocking chair bounce off the walls in an otherwise silent house will jump start your heart right quick.

Now, I only have a queen-sized bed and I am pretty much a queen-sized woman. With her on one end and me on the other, that meant the little guy had to go smack dab in the middle. I need that middle as a happy median between me and the whirling dervish of arms that is my daughter in repose. By putting a living, breathing human being in that spot, I managed to avoid the arm flung across my face but gained constant elbows to my head, knees in my back, and the dead zombie smell of his beloved blanket in my nostrils as he tried unsuccessfully to turn himself feet side up in my bed. Throw in the fact that neither kid could really settle down, and were constantly moving, moaning, talking, sniffling, snoring, and grinding teeth, and the overwhelming stuffiness of a house recovering from an 80+ degree day and I was in hell.

How was my husband enjoying his night? Sleeping in a king-sized bed, with the soothing tones of ESPN as background noise, and with the thermostat set to freezing. He denies that he sleeps well away from the comforting arms of his wife but I am not buying it.

I know that as a parent, I had all the power. However, the thought of moving one or both back to their respective rooms with the ensuing tears, whining, protestations, and possible never going back to sleep (and knowing how fun that would make daylight hours) was just too much for me. I did what I had to do. I moved to the folded-up futon. Obviously, I didn’t want to flatten it out since I always lose control of it and it lands smashing to the floor. Instead, I just wrapped myself in a blanket (because sheets were out of the question at 2 a.m.) and tried to sleep.

By 4 a.m., my dozing repeatedly interrupted by that awful feeling of falling (because I kept trying to roll forward but the curve of the mattress kept rolling me backward), I realized that my children were giggling. This is never a good sound to hear in the wee hours of the night. By the time I got them back to sleep, the birds were already chirping. When the morning alarm rang and both children popped out of bed like a pair of deranged Jack-in-the-boxes, I was so tired that I could only marvel at their energy.

My goal for tonight is to keep both rugrats in their own rooms. Music boxes playing, light-blocking shades down, nightlights on, stuffed animals keeping them safe. Sleeping is my number two favorite thing to do in bed and I would really, really like to do it alone tonight.

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