I have a problem. Often, I go to bed alone. This is very sad for me, as I much prefer the living heater that is my husband to join me so my feet don't get cold. What winds up being confusing for me is that I never know who will be sleeping next to me when I next open my eyes. It could be my husband, which would be the expected choice, but it could also be either one of my two children, which is much more perturbing.
A typical night in my bed requires multiple wakings to either get people into it or get people out of it. On a recent evening, I went to be at a reasonable time only to be woken at 1:30 am by the sound of power tools coming from the first floor. Usually, I wake to the sound of distant snoring as my husband likes to stay up later than I do and his "I'll be right up" inevitably results in him falling asleep on the couch. On the night in question, it was the metallic, obnoxious sound of a drill. After my initial "WFT?" moment passed and I correctly identified what was going on (for the record, he chose that particular hour to hang new rods and curtains in the kitchen), I simply rolled over. My theory was simple - if he was so pissed off that he needed to use power tools in the middle of the night, I certainly wasn't going to interrupt him to tell him otherwise. However, the noise resulted in not one, but both children proceeding to join me in bed. They were kind enough to do this in intervals, but the end result was that as I dozed in and out, listening to the battle hymn of Black & Decker, I needed context clues to figure out with whom I was sleeping. Did my bed smell like zombie breath and did I have ice cold toes stabbing me in the stomach? Must be my son and his beloved blanket, Binky. Were there weird sounds and was I missing half my blankets? Must be my daughter grinding her teeth and stealing my sheets. Eventually, everyone did make it back to their respective beds, but it was a rough morning
I would love to say that this is an isolated incident, but I would be lying. My children have learned that Daddy stays up later and use this to their advantage. Their late night trips to the bathroom are more scouting missions than bladder control problems. My daughter, upon seeing an empty space in the bed, will claim that she had a nightmare and needs my comfort. Since she is usually giggling at the time, this is an obvious lie, and usually results in her being sent back to her own bed. Occasionally, when I'm especially chilled, she is allowed to climb in since she has inherited her father's heat index and can warm the whole bed (even the parts her little feet can't reach) in record time. She always gets bored quickly (as there is no tinny music box for her to listen to) and wanders back to her own room, leaving me nice and toasty. Her brother, however, finds no inclination to lie at all and simply wanders the house at midnight or later until he decides if he wants to sleep or watch TV. If he is actually tired, then he climbs in and settles right down. If, however, he's in the mood for some entertainment, he will wander down to his father and settle in for an hour of whatever crap my husband is watching. As a result, he's seen his fair share of Spike, ESPN, and the History Channel. The only good part of this arrangement is that if my husband falls sleep, my son will inevitably poke him back into consciousness. Father and son then migrate up the stairs and into their own beds. On the nights that both adults are present and accounted for, my son has been known to settle in at the bottom of the bed like a dog. I have woken to find him nestled in behind my bent knees, on my feet, or just even just curled up in a little ball, cold and uncovered, yet sound asleep.
I know I need to break him of this habit. I know that these late night wanderings often result in poor behavior the next day. Unfortunately, in the middle of the night, I don't have enough will power to fight with him. I'm tired. I'm cold. I just want to go back to sleep. About the last thing in the world I want to do is argue with a crying four-year old. So every night, we go through the cycle again. And every night, I swear to myself that the next night will be different.