Friday, March 5, 2010

Pillow Talk

Sometime after a child manages to climb out of the crib, he or she decides that Mom and Dad’s bed is the only place to hang out after dark. Consider our latest two-year-old, who views head butts as a means of greeting a sleeping adult. At four in the morning, usually one is only dimly aware of having the covers invaded. Most of our earlier two year olds were content to snuggle up to the parent of their choice and hope general fatigue would prevent eviction.

Not so this one. She Who Would Be Two must have an audience on which to work her kewpie doll toddler magic, so Mom or Dad must wake up.


Curiously, the intensity of pain increases as one becomes more alert.

Oh, ow, ow, Ow, Ow, OW, OW, OW! I’m up. I’m up. Ow! I’m up.

She Who Would Be Two, having accomplished objective one, has started phase two of her plan, singing a soft sweet lullaby as if nothing happened. She hopes to melt any potential irritation brought on by a throbbing head and tender nose with cuteness. She looks at me and giggles. It works. Her Father and I the Mom have a standing rotation of alternate nights as to who gets to handle wandering monsters. Nothing happened last night.

It figures.

“Come here.” I the Mom take her in my arms and pull the covers over us both, hoping she will drop off quickly and then I can carry her to her own bed. I the Mom am completely gone in less than a minute.

It’s boring sitting in the dark with two sleeping adults who should be up and playing games with She Who Would Be Two.

She dimly recognizes that if she pushes too hard, either Her Father or I the Mom will carry her back to her own bed. So She Who Would be Two tries finding a comfortable position. For the uninitiated to the world of toddlers, this involves stretching to one’s maximum height and lying down perpendicular to the adults, ensuring that most of the real estate of the mattress is in the toddler’s domain. (It’s just more comfortable that way).

Adults vaguely aware of losing property rights, scoot and contort their bodies in an effort to remain unconscious for as long as possible, even allowing legs or arms to drape off the edge or surrendering all covers and pillows as a concession for being allowed to continue sleeping. Alas, appeasement seldom works. She Who Would Be Two remains listless.

There is a phone next to the alarm clock, keys, wallet, a CD player and a lap top. She Who Would Be Two has watched her parents use these. They look like fun. I the Mom somehow register that in the middle of the night, something is not right and open one eye to discover the wallet has been emptied. She Who Would Be Two has also turned off the alarm and placed a call. She is still talking on the phone. Someone is answering her back.

Fully alert, I snatch the phone from her hands. "Hello." I say into the phone a bit too loudly. "I'm sorry my daughter..." It is a recording. I hand the phone back to my tearful daughter and tell her to hang up. She is satisfied with an "How Rude." look at me as she hangs the phone up.

Taking back the keys and the wallet, she pouts at me. She's in the wrong and I feel bad. She sucks her thumb and shuts her eyes in a contented smile and pulls the covers up. I was going to move her. Looking at her sweetly almost sleeping, I can't believe I would be so cruel. Then I'm mad I'm such a sap.

BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! The early get up and agoing alarm has sounded, waking She Who Would Be Two but not Her Father. She cries.

The conscious adult I the Mom must then make the calculated judgment, difficult at a predawn time. Should I get up? Should I take her to her bed? Can I go back to sleep? If I get up now I could….insert tedious task here.

Changing diapers, offering water and tucking in doesn’t earn much time in the morning, but it does stand the outside chance of predisposing She Who Would Be Two to go to sleep or at least lie quietly in the bed for a little while. Following the dutiful adult routine, the now completely zombified I the Mom returns to bed, just in time for the second nag alarms to sound their evil call. Hitting the snooze, I crawl under the covers, sleep is coming fast, I the Mom can feel it.

BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! I wake again, feeling the tender part of my nose, a parting gift from She Who Would Be Two. Making a fist to smash the alarm, I the Mom blink and survey the room. There is a new trail of toys showing the path the toddler took to get to Mom and Dad’s room. Picking up a stuffed monkey puppet, naked Barbie, three shoes, sippy cup and bed spread, I the Mom swallow a yawn while considering the morning ahead.

Can I collapse the schedule to grab another fifteen minutes or will slowness now result in a hectic day where every event would be easy if only I had fifteen more minutes then. Just as I’ve abandoned common sense and put my feet into the cave of the still warm blankets, She Who Would Be Two is back.

“Breakfast.” She Who Would Be Two says expectantly with all the innocent sweetness and full sincerity she can muster.

It’s not going to work this time I the Mom think as I set my will. I’m going to sleep.

“Breakfast.” She Who Would Be Two repeats.

When she ages, maybe I'll rechristen myself I The Mom Who Sleeps.


Christine said...

Our oldest boy used to pull that "sleep in Mom's bed like the crossbar of an H" routine.

I nearly lost my soul, from lack of sleep.

He is now 16. He is considering pursuing a driver's license.

Guess who's not going to be sleeping, again?

JimmyV said...

Love this story. I hadn't heard anyone mention the headbutts before. I'm sad to discover that we are not alone in that regard.

Anonymous said...

Wait until you look up from a stooper, and wonder how long your daughter/son has been standing over you 1" from your face!

jill said...

Another fun nighttime activity: sleeping in H formation with a child who must, must where his shoes at all times. Just in case. And who wakes up when you try to take them off.

But I love the family bed. I don't think we ever had more than 6 people in our bed at one time.

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