Previous to our marriage, Noel and I had roommates complain about our excessive tossing and turning and as newlyweds we’d often joke that mysterious bumps and bruises were casualties of sleeping in the same bed. These days we sleep like the dead, but when it sounds like an all-out brawl has commenced in our kids’ bedrooms, we repeatedly find ourselves wild-eyed and out of breath facing the calm exhalations of their dreams and not the intruder we expected. With us as their parents though, should it really come as any surprise? We’re a family of thrashers.
The kids have been like this from the beginning. While pregnant, I’d often wake up in the middle of the night to the strange sensation of someone doing somersaults in my belly. When they were babies, I would often bring them into bed hoping at least one of us could get some rest (and at that point I would have slept nude in the front yard if it would have made a difference), but they’d just kick me in the ribs, poke me in the eye, or scream in my face. Sleep just wasn’t in the cards no matter what configuration our pillows took.
Sleep is much improved from the baby days, but when the pitter-patter of little feet makes it’s way across my bedroom floor in the twilight hours, I cringe and pretend I can’t feel the eyeballs that are locked on me like a target. But they never go away, so I always relent and pull a little person into bed with me. It’s sweet for about the first 10 seconds when I wrap my arms around them and nuzzle my nose into their soft hair, but the tender moment rapidly dematerializes as I turn into a human punching bag. Even if it’s 5:30am we’ve learned by now that trying to sleep is futile so we surrender our pillows and start the day. The child (or children on particularly fabulous mornings) snuggles under our covers delighted to have the big bed all to themselves, which I think was their devious plan all along.