Losing the War: The Family Bed

December 28, 2015

We held off as long as possible, but at this point, we’re fighting a futile war. It is safe to say that we officially have lost the war on the family bed front.

The battle began when I was in the middle of a migraine bender. Husband had to tutor that night and it was too short notice to cancel. The She-Babe saw her opening and took it. With mom incapacitated and dad not there, she came in to my room. Through my migraine haze, I took her back to her room. She came back. Again. Then again. Then again. (Because dictators are smart and unrelenting.) Until finally, I let the little tyrant in. In hindsight, giving into dictatorships is never a good idea; I know this, but in my defense, I was tired and if you’ve ever had a migraine, well, you just don’t care.

The Family Bed

It wasn’t terrible at first because, as I mentioned, Husband wasn’t home so it was just me and the tyrant. Secretly, I liked it. I liked rolling over and catching a quick glimpse of her chubby-cheeked, sleepy cherub face before dozing off again. I liked her cuddling up so close that I could smell her clean, baby hair.

In the days that followed, she would wake up in the middle of the night, creep out of her room, careful to not wake her brother up and gently tap on our door, “Mami? Mami? Papi?” I’d look at the time, “2:59 am! What the…” That’s guerrilla warfare type strategy. Not letting people sleep is a form of torture, ya know. And so, we’d open the door and let her in. At first, I thought appeasing her might help. (I also once won a Schnapps shot contest the night before a bike ride in the Alps, so clearly, I don’t always make the best decisions.) But dictators don’t respond to submission and neither do 3-year-olds.

The Dictator

As a kid, I slept with my mom for a long time. A looooong time. And when my mom wasn’t home, I would, show up in my grandmother’s room, pillow under arm, and sleep with her. So, I felt like a hypocrite saying our little dictator couldn’t sleep with us. What I didn’t think about was that our bed territory is not a large one. In the scale of things, our bed is Finland large, not Mother Russia large, so our queen bed fits two people… barely. Not three. And certainly not when “Three” spreads her Inspector Gadget limbs at full capacity without concern for anyone else.

I finally decided enough was enough. When she left her room one night and I heard the gentle tapping – as of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door. I was all, “Nevermore. Hell no.”

“I’m sorry but you have to sleep in your room.”

“But I want to sleep with you.” This wasn’t going to be easy.

“Yes but you have your room.”

“I want to sleep with you and papi. I want to sleep in your room with you.” The dictator was laying it on thick.

“I’m sorry, my love, you have your room and your bed. Let’s go. I’ll bring you.”

I opened her door and walked her in. Of course, there were tears. Loud crying tears. Sniffles and self-mumbling about wanting to sleep with us. It was fucking heartbreaking…. and terrifying since she sleeps in a room with her brother and the thought of him waking up and having two kids up at 3:37 a.m. was horrifying but I stuck to my guns. I could hear her whimpers in my room for a few more minutes before it was quiet and she was back asleep. I had done it. The next night there came a tapping. This time it was Husband’s turn to stand up against tyranny.

45 seconds later, the dictator was in our bed. And the war was lost.


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    1. We have since been able to “tweak” that situation by bringing her kid mattress into our room so she will sleep in the room but on the mattress on the floor. It seems to work for all parties involved. 🙂

    1. Oh boy. We never started that tradition so didn’t have an issue. My parents have two dogs and a cat sleeping with them, haha. No way for me!

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