1. How do I buy a couple of square feet in my own damned bed?
2. How can I then I secure it from trespassers and wanderers?
I tried not to get to this point. When you buy a house you get a decent-sized bed so everyone has their space. When you have kids and dogs you train them properly. From day one. There are books on this in dog and child training land. I read them all. I obeyed them. Even while breastfeeding, I never let The Boy sleep with me. Back in your own crib! The dog–aka “the 70 pound furnace,” often got in. But she kept the heating bills down.
Then we moved. I assumed there was a certain psychology to moving with kids and dogs. We assigned Declan the farthest bedroom from us–As he grows, I won’t have to listen to his crappy music and loud friends. He can make all the noise he wants, and the only time I’ll see the two-foot pile of things encroaching on the world is when I use the bathroom nearby. He can sleep in his own room. It’s why I pay the mortgage.
Bedtime was always a ritual in the old house. We had “the secret knock” and the minion spray. Minion Spray, when sprayed directly before bed, conquers anything, like monsters, evil minions and bad dreams. It has the added benefit of smelling good (Mrs. Meyer’s lavender room freshener if you need some). If Declan woke up, he did “the secret knock,” on the wall between our rooms. I rolled over and knocked back. He went back to sleep.
Now our rooms are far away. The Secret Knock doesn’t work. He does “the secret sprint” and jumps in my bed. A little 40 pound squatter with heat-producing properties who talks in his sleep. I am left with six-inches of my own space, rolled over on my arm which goes to asleep so I’m convinced it was amputated by body snatchers.
When Declan cycles through his REM sleep, he asks me questions about the meaning of life, laughs like a hyena, and falling asleep before hearing my reply. I am awake.
“I am sleeping.”
“No you’re not.”
“I should be.”
“Well, can you tell me which dinosaur is faster, a (insert two dinos I can’t spell here…)?” Snore.
“Go to sleep.”
“I want some apple juice.”
“It’s not apple season. Go to bed. Go to your bed.”
“I love YOU, Mommy. Yours is better.”
The problem with putting him back in his bed is that I am asleep. If I leave the subconscious space where I’m trying to return to my dream, I might as well just get up and stay up the night. It’s a little like sleep deprivation training or POW camp, neither of which, I imagine, is cool.
This week I’m trying stickers. If he goes to bed and stays there, he gets a sticker on his folder. “How about if you give me money, Mommy.”
“Fine, for each sticker you can have a quarter.”
“I need more for my junior bow. How about a dollar.” He’s been saving for this junior bow for a while.
“How about 50 cents for every three. That’s two quarters.”
“How about three.” What does this kid think he’s doing, negotiating a business deal?
“Two. If you want more, work harder.”
I gave out my first two quarters yesterday. “Is that where you keep the money, Mommy?” He can find money anywhere. And he can find chocolate chips.
This morning, however, I’m looking at the clock. I’m drinking coffee, watching the sun rise having slept alone in my own bed. Maybe I needed to have paid him off from day one. The peace and quiet is definitely worth the cost. Maybe I can have my accountant peg that to the cost of the mortgage. Maybe there’s even a tax dedication for that. But even if there’s not, I’ll take what little peace and quiet I can get in the middle of the night… it’s priceless.
[images: mrsmeyers.com, betterparentinginstitute.com, sodahead.com]