There is a new epidemic in our house. We’re suffering a rash of little boys wanting to climb into bed with their parents at night. This pestilence results in tired, cranky parents, which was the primary reason for the fall of the Roman Empire.
I am not a proponent of children sleeping with their parents. Children do not know how to sleep in a civilized manner. They should be kept in their own beds, where the savagery of their slumber cannot infringe upon the sleep rights of the more peaceable members of the household.
If I do say so myself, I am a very organized sleeper. I rest in a straight line, perpendicular to the headboard. My legs stay straight and my arms are kept to myself. I don’t flail or kick at midnight apparitions. My unconscious discipline is absolutely Prussian. Periodically, my wife insists that I spread myself out a little so that I don’t so much resemble a man in a coffin. For some reason, she finds herself unnerved at sleeping next to a fellow resting in so much peace.
She does what she can to enliven my repose. A woman of normal proportions by day, she sprouts six elbows and eight knees at night. Various combinations of these many joints can be found burrowed into my side in the dark hours. This strengthens our marriage by helping us stay connected.
There is no room in our bed for extra people, yet a bonus human can all too often be found there. It’s just a little human, but little humans use up a disproportionate acreage in the execution of their slow-motion, somnambulistic cartwheels.
The big boy’s methods are tried and true. He had a bad dream and seeks refuge in his parents’ bed. I wonder if his bad dream had anything do with a spastic creature sleeping diagonally across his bed and kneeing him in the midsection on the hour, because that’s what my bad dreams are about these days.
The little boy doesn’t need an excuse. All he has to do is cry loud and long enough. Once he hits that pitch that sounds like he’s threatening to fling himself from the top rail of his crib, he’ll be taken in by Mommy and Daddy.
It would be unfair to accuse the little boy of sleeping diagonally. His layout is more nearly parallel to the headboard. Together, Mommy, Toddler, and Daddy form a big, sleepy H. This is unless Daddy falls over the edge, at which point the formation defies the western alphabet.
Little Boy only lays across the bed when he’s actually sleeping. When he decides not to sleep, he might situate himself anywhere. For example, he might sit next to Daddy’s head and punch Daddy in the ear just to inquire whether or not that gentleman is awake.
In the boy’s defense, it is often difficult to know if Daddy is awake, with all the flinching he does in his sleep lately.