Monday, July 14, 2008

Seeking a comfortable closeness

Our bed is small. Not college-dorm small, but full-size small. I have longed for a king-sized bed for years. A bed where I can stretch and roll and always find a cool spot even on the hottest summer nights.

* * *

Loaf has never been a good sleeper.

She didn’t sleep through the night until she was over two years old. And really, for the most part, she still doesn’t, though the nightly wakings are less traumatic.

Though often, sometime between 1 and 4 a.m., I hear little feet paddling down the hall. I prop myself up and wait for her head of fuzzy curls to appear at my side of the bed. I lift her up over me and plop her down between me and Mark. We are all typically back to sleep within five minutes.

And all would be right with the world except our little bed feels even smaller when she’s in it. Complicating matters is the fact that Loaf is the twistiest, turniest, floppiest, kickiest sleeper in the land. She likes to doze parallel to the headboard with her feet pushed firmly into Mark’s back and her skull pressed uncomfortably against mine. Forming a big capital “H” on the bed, Mark and I struggle to sleep on a sliver of mattress only an inch or two wider than our bodies while Miss Thang lounges luxuriously across the pillows.

As Loaf grows, the problem with this sleeping arrangement has grown with her. Any night now, I’m going to fall out of bed onto the hard floor or worse, get clocked in the nose by her rock-hard head as she flops around like a fish out of water.

So last week we decided that something had to give. Loaf has got to learn to sleep – all night – in her own bed.

Last night at 4:12 a.m. I heard her trademark paddling and before she could even reach my bedside I was up. I scooped her back up and lay her on my shoulder.

“You’re just too big to keep sleeping in Mommy and Daddy’s bed,” I murmured to her. “It’s time to sleep in your own room, but I’ll sit with you for a minute.”

She was almost back to sleep by the time I returned to her room. I laid her down and curled up next to her. In seconds, her breathing slowed and I knew she was asleep. I lay next to her, studying her long lashes and the way her wispy curls framed her face. I propped myself up on my elbow and ran a finger gently along her cubby forearm, one of the few parts of her that still bears close resemblance to her baby pictures.

She is growing up so fast.

After a few minutes, I slowly rose from her bed and walked back to my own, but I couldn’t sleep. Mark, unable to go back to sleep, had gotten up. I could hear him clicking on the computer down the hall. The bed was cool and quiet,. but also very, very empty.

This morning when she woke up, I praised her for sleeping in her own room. She stared at me blankly, her lips drawn into a pout.

"I like sleeping next to you, Mommy. I want to be with you."

My heart clenched and my eyes filled with tears. I sat next to her and folded her into my arms. She rested her head against my chest and gently clasped my index finger with her hand.

* * *

I have longed for a king-sized bed for years. A bed where a small girl could stretch out next to me in peace and comfort for as long as she'd like.

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Blogger ryssee said...

Was Mark clicking on "click-to-buy-a- king-sized-bed on a furniture website??? :-)

7:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi - I'm here from Thursday Drive.

I thought your post was beautiful.

And I laughed out loud at "the uncomfortable capital H" arrangements. We have that around here, too. Even in a king sized bed.

9:23 PM  
Blogger Jennifer H said...

I love this. And it's amazing that we both posted about this on the same day!

My daughter does sleep a little crazy at times, with kicking and taking up every inch of bed real estate. A king-sized bed would make me very happy, too. Looks like our girls aren't sleeping on their own any time soon.

Whew. :-)

9:39 PM  
Blogger Kelley said...

We have a king size bed. When the Girl comes to our bed, I move to her bed or the guest bed. Because, even though it's a big bed, she's all flippy floppy until she falls asleep.

10:22 PM  
Blogger Maureen said...

I can tell you from first hand experience how painful it is to receive a headbutt to the nose. Not fun!

Even in a bigger bed kids make it seem too small. You will still wind up on the outer edges and she'll still be making the letter "H" with you!

What you need to do is dump your full size bed in one of their rooms and let them battle it out at night while you and Mark sleep in a nice comfy King size bed ;)

2:06 PM  
Blogger CrazyCath said...

Oh! You made me cry.... That is a beautiful post. I so remember sitting waiting with bated breath for the breathing to slow, the clasped hand on your fingers to relax, watching him sleep, watching him breathe, and dream.

Mine are older than that now but oh! what memories. Beautiful memories. Treasure them. She will be too big for your bed too soon.

Over from Jennifer's.

8:57 PM  
Blogger Chris Curtin said...

When we found out Deb was pregnant with our second child, we knew we had to get a king size bed. With the queen our first daughter would fit nicely against my back and not bother us to much, but add a pregnancy in the GA summer heat and we needed something big.

Getting them to sleep in their own bed was a major task. Both daughters took years to stop getting us up when the had to go to the bathroom or for whatever other reason. Used to drive me crazy that they would walk past thier bathroom to wake us up.

The 'H' comment was great. The other was the 'spooning' when the child is up against your back. Funny how you're not quite asleep, but not awake either so you know not to roll over and crush them.

One other thing I notice: I can go from dead asleep to rushing the sick child to the sink in 0.4 seconds now. Used to take hours to get me functional in the morning.

9:20 PM  
Blogger Carolyn said...

Found you via Jennifer at Thursday Drive. What a beautifully written post. Absolutely divine.

Thanks for sharing.

1:52 AM  

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