I’ve become rather familiar with my bedside cabinet from many nights with my face pressed against its cold smoothness. It provides some surety that I won’t end up tumbling out of the bed during the night.
‘You’ll miss him when he stops’ is my familiar refrain to hubs when he complains about our five-year-old coming into our bed during the night.
Anyone who has shared a bed with a child knows that it is a mixed blessing. On the one hand I get to bury my head in the soft candy floss of my son’s hair and feel the warmth radiating from his little hot-water bottle body. On the other, he becomes a sleep snow angel in the night, flailing his arms and legs out as wide as they’ll go while his dad and I are pressed to the edges of the bed clinging like climbers to a crevasse, hanging on to the quilt that he habitually kicks off him in the night.
For the last three years at around 3am he has crept into our bedroom. Up goes the teddy on to the bed first alerting me to his presence, followed by a little tap on my arm, indicating that he wants lifting into bed. As he falls instantly to sleep once he’s been levered into the bed we’ve only tried twice, unsuccessfully, to return him to his own bed. It’s just too much like hard work to deal with night after night of crying and battling. Far easier to suffer the odd kick in the back or slap across the head as a sleepy wayward hand flaps around sail-like during the wee small hours.
A couple of weeks ago I went away for work, and had to have an overnight stay. I had been fantasizing about pristine white sheets and a king-size bed. All To Myself. But fantasy didn’t live up to reality. I couldn’t sleep, I missed my snoring hubs and the small boy’s nocturnal jiffling.
But one night, he, and we, will sleep undisturbed, and then it will become two nights, then three, then we will have the bed back to ourselves, and he will have taken another step on the path to growing up, and he will no longer want to be in bed with us ‘because he misses mummy and daddy’.
I have a funny feeling that it will take a long time for the gap we’ve left for so long in the middle of the bed to close up, but a night away from the bedside cabinet would be welcome!