Junior-man is apparently incapable of sleeping all night by himself. This in defiance of all recommended child-sleeping arrangements from all kinds of well-respected pediatric authors and researchers alike; he simply doesn’t care. He wants someone to snuggle with, and now that he’s capable of climbing into (and out of) any bed or crib in the house, he’s in a position to insist on his prerogatives.
Now, I get this. I really do. The poor little guy had a week in the NICU at birth where he wasn’t held enough, wasn’t cuddled enough, and was made to spend hours alone under bilirubin lights, when what he really wanted was to be asleep on someone’s chest, preferably mine, with his food source close to, as we might say, to hand. For months afterwards, he wasn’t happy unless he was being held or in the backpack. My spine will never be the same.
For the most part, he’s gotten over it. During daylight hours, he is content to roam the house, wreaking destruction and chaos, leaving opened drawers and shredded tissue in his wake.
At night, though, at night… the beast retreats and the forlorn, abandoned newborn resurfaces and he wants his peeps. He will wake up from horrendous nightmares, screaming, and only being held will comfort him. Preferably by Daddy, although Mama will do, and a sibling can fill in if absolutely no parental option is available in the Cuddles Department.
Let me assure you that, given my own preferences, there would be no one sleeping in my bed except myself and my erstwhile spouse. Our first three children were perfectly happy to indulge us in this. Junior, however, has his own requirements.
Sometimes he pre-empts the nightly struggle by simply putting himself to sleep in our bed. He’ll clamber up while we’re brushing our teeth and checking email, and spread himself allll across the top, and promptly nod off. Our pillows get kicked to the floor or simply shoved aside.
The first time this happened, Mr. Caffeinated picked him up – little toddler snores and all – and attempted to deposit him back in his own bed. The incredible din that reverberated from the boys’ room informed me that this endeavor had gone down in metaphorical flames. He – Junior- promptly sprang from his bed and climbed right back into ours, howling the entire time. After a seemingly endless protest, he finally decided that we’d been punished enough, whereupon he crawled under our covers and promptly dropped back off to sleep.
The next night, we simply tried to reposition him 90°, so that we could at least have some headroom. This did not go over well. Mr. Caffeinated, becoming wise to Junior’s ways, refused to budge. Junior, alternating attempting to push his father out of his own bed and wailing like a banshee, eventually gave up and settled for taking up half of my pillow.
This isn’t a problem merely at night.
Yesterday morning, Rosebud wanted me to Please Get Up and Log Onto The Computer So That I Can Do My Math. This is normally an activity I encourage, and so I typically will blearily stagger downstairs and indulge her attempts at sunrise scholarship.
This particular morning, Junior was present as usual, albeit somnolent (I thought). No sooner had Rosebud made her request, however, and Junior promptly wedged himself against my torso, head firmly planted in my armpit (his favorite sleeping position, which boggles my mind), and grabbed my pajamas to boot. I was obviously not going anywhere without a struggle. Rosebud was forced to do Language Arts (a workbook) instead.
I’m sure that the day will come when Junior is content to spend the entire night in his own bed with his teddy bear and blankets. I will no doubt look back on these days with maudlin sentimentality.
I just hope it happens before he turns 30.