Apparently, long ago I chose to go to sleep on the wrong side of the bed. As a result I often wake up on the wrong side of the bed. In the early years of my marriage, before I even realized the implications, I selected the left side. It was closer to the door (in the event that I needed to make a speedy getaway) and the bathroom (for those frequent middle of the night trips).
Now, a decade and a half into my marriage, I realize the error of my ways, for I am the parent who is most likely awakened for middle of the night visits from one of our three darling children. Need some more water? Ask mom! Had a bad dream? Crawl in next to mom and steal her pillow. Climb over her in horror to go back to your own bed as you say, “How do you sleep when Dad snores like that?” It’s tough kid.
If you need Motrin in the middle of the night, don’t bother taking the extra five steps to Dad’s side of the bed, it’s not worth the trip. Just ask Mom. She will be delighted to get up at 2:50 in the AM, sway and stumble like a drunkard into your bathroom to search in vain for the Motrin which is actually in the kitchen. She will then dance down the stairs barefoot and nearly naked in this coldest, darkest part of the night to retrieve the bottle. And as she measures this liquid gold, barely able to see in the bright light that her eyes have not yet adjusted to, she can only hope she has poured enough to keep you quiet until morning. And then, she will tuck you in and sing a lullaby before she effortlessly drifts back to sleep…
And since we still have one in a crib, Mom pays visits as often as she receives them. One would think that the crib could be like a cage, where its occupant would stay contained until morning. Not so when its occupant is very picky about the way his blankets are arranged and can’t seem to fix them himself. And why is it that the kid in the crib, who seems to prefer his father at all other times of day, has no problem when Mom shows up in the wee hours to situate him?
My prime real estate on the left side of the bed of also makes me the lucky recipient of my children’s well visits. A well visit in parental terms is defined as an early morning wake up call from someone entirely too noisy and too enthusiastic for a time of day when the sun’s first rays have just appeared on the horizon. These drop- ins usually involve a loud voice, that must share his brilliant insight about how funny Sponge Bob is at 5:45 AM.
This unfortunate circumstance of my parenting adventure has become particularly clear to me over the last two weeks as my family has battled strep throat. I can’t recall the last night I slept uninterrupted by my offspring. I mentioned this to my husband in a “it’s funny, haven’t you ever noticed how the kids only wake me up in the middle of the night?” way.
He shrugged, “What can I tell you. They want their Mommy.” I suppose this is supposed to appeal to my ego, but it doesn’t. I’ll test the theory, though. Next time I get into bed first, I am going to commandeer the right side of the bed. He will have no choice but to sleep on my side. If the kids walk around to wake me, I will make a minefield with their toys so they trip as they walk around the bed in the dark to fetch me. And if they decide to climb over Dad to reach me, then I will be able to say, “You really shouldn’t have woken up your dad, but he’s up, closer to the door, and happy to help you.” Finally, if my theory on bedroom real estate is true, and they wake their dad, out of sheer convenience, then I suspect there will be a bidding war for the best plot of land in our king size bed. And to the winner, a lot more sleep.