In the early days of this blog, I wrote a post about how my son would stand beside my bed and wake me up with his heavy breathing whenever he needed something in the middle of the night. It was pretty unnerving. Since then, he has changed his methods a couple of times, leading me to the conclusion that there is no good way for him to wake me up in the middle of the night.
For a while, the boy gave up coming into the room at all when he wanted to wake me. We leave our door ajar at night. He would stand in the hall and put his mouth up to the crack and urgently whisper, “Daddy!” as many times as necessary to rouse me. This resulted in a higher than normal rate of bad dreams for me.
Even when his call did not penetrate my dream world, it woke me with disturbing thoughts. You’d be surprised how similar a child’s loud whisper of “Daddy!” sounds to the gravelly bellow of a demon-possessed house commanding you to “Get out!” when you are half asleep.
He must have trained me to become a heavier sleeper. You can only lie on pins and needles for so long, waiting for an unearthly voice either to ask for a drink of water or demand that you offer your soul to Satan. Eventually, you learn to sleep through it.
Consequently, the boy doesn’t stop at the door anymore. He’s back to standing beside the bed. Only now, he is more direct about waking me up.
My wife sleeps on a particular side of our bed. That is the only side of me that somebody should be on. When a finger taps me from the other direction at 3 a.m., it can lead to some instant wakefulness.
When this exact event occurred, the other night, I did a remarkably athletic 180 degree flip beneath the covers. Thankfully, I recognized the silhouette of my pint-sized tormentor in the darkness. “What the hell are you doing here?” I bellowed. The curse must be blamed upon my semi-conscious condition. The fact that I was able to refrain from dropping an F-bomb must be credited to my superior parenting instincts.
My wife was bolted awake by my jujitsu move. “You scared the hell out me!” she shouted at one or both of us. She was also semi-conscious, and is a superior parent.
“I want you to make my bad dream go away,” the boy explained.
“Well, you shouldn’t have it anymore, because you just passed it on to me.” I didn’t say this; my wife didn’t say this; we were both thinking it.
We let him lie down with us until he fell asleep. Then we put him in his own bed. He reported no more bad dreams. I guess that means everything worked out okay, except that now I have to sleep always facing toward the outside of the bed.