And the little one said, “Roll over, roll over!”

[Image from Hyperbole and a Half’s fabulously funny blog. Click here to get to the original post.]

I know what you’re thinking: we brought this on ourselves. The place we’re at, right now, is a natural, predictable consequence of implementing the Family Bed (of Pain).

But that doesn’t make it suck any less.

See, maybe the Family Bed (of Pain) works great when you don’t mind letting your kid sleep there past age 7. I do know parents of twins who have done/are doing this, along with their new infant. They have a Cal King and pushed a twin bed up next to it.

Well, a) we don’t have a Cal King and, even if we were so wedded to the idea of Eternal Cosleeping that we were willing to buy a Cal King, b) one wouldn’t fit in our room and c) it still wouldn’t be big enough for us and a three-foot-tall person who wants to sleep sideways.

Two weeks ago, fighting gravity and the kicking feet of my sweet, cherished daughter:

Ever-Suffering Mother: [eyes still closed, barely able to sit up on couch, resenting being dragged from bed for the morning’s goodbye-to-Daddy-just-one-more-hug-and-kiss-oh-last-one-wait-one-more-and-one-more ritual] I can’t do this anymore.
Husband and Z: It speaks! What is it?
ESM: I’m the Ever-Suffering Mother. Pay attention.
Husband: [realizes  Z left some pointy toys of the couch that the ESM might use as missiles] Yes dear?
ESM: I can’t do this anymore. Z, tonight if you wake up and want to come to our room, you can sleep on your cot. We’ll move it next to our bed. [looks at Husband] This has gotta work. Please let this work.
Husband: [muttering] This isn’t gonna work.
[Creepy music to foreshadow disaster.]

The Cot of Urine after its most recent hose-down.

Husband was mostly right. The cot, from here on referred to as the Cot of Urine, is only partially successful. Z’s diaper leaked on the second night, so after getting cleaned up, there was nowhere else for her to go (or was there?) except into the Family Bed (of Pain).

Henceforth (what a great, underused word), Z seems to have realized that peeing gets her into our bed. Here’s what I think goes on in her head:

Step 1: Wake up.
Step 2: Say, “Oh no! My Pull-Up leaked!” (Whether or not Pull-Up is wet.)
Step 3: Wait for grouchy parent to take me to the potty and change my Pull-Up. (Whether or not Pull-Up is wet.)
Step 4: Climb into the Family Bed (of Pain). (Even if the Cot of Urine has no urine in it. This is where Mommy and Daddy are weak, lazy parents. If they were smart/less tired, I’d be getting back into my cot (if it’s dry) or back into my bed. Mommy and Daddy are sucker parents and I shall sleep in their bed until I’m 25.)
Step 5: Talk and kick for the rest of the night/morning.
Step 6: Screech with glee and happiness and ask for a snack at 5 a.m.
Step 7: Wonder why Mommy looks like a zombie bride.

Now that I’ve analyzed her way of thinking, I see where we’re going wrong: Step 4. Things are going to change around here.

Somehow. If I ever get enough sleep to have the energy to completely shut down the Family Bed (of Pain).

The Unholy Terror of Screaming Proportions

Just when you think you’ve got a good rhythm going, when the routines are working okay, and there’s an occasional night when she sleeps in her crib until five or six in the morning. Just when you can do some dishes without her affixed to your shins like a Mighty Leech, and you can run outside to water the plants while she watches contentedly from the window. Just when you let your guard down…

The Unholy Terror of Screaming Proportions attacks.

With a vengeance.

It’s teething. Right? I mean, it’s the perfect excuse. Now we’re onto the molars, and yeah, extra painful probably. They’re the perfect scapegoat, as no one is brave enough to stick a finger back there and actually check (the UTSP bites). Teething mysteriously comes and goes, and it gives you a chance to pity the UTSP instead of resenting her (sometimes. Maybe not at 2:55 in the morning).

We’ve always done “the co-sleeping thing.” Not because it’s trendy or cool, or so down-to-earth. But because we’re lazy. L-A-Z-Y. Why rouse ourselves in the middle of the night, spend fifteen to thirty minutes soothing a child to sleep, and then try to get back to sleep? Why not just zombie-walk to the kid’s room, pluck her out of her bed, and snuggle up next to her in our own?

I’ll tell you why not. The two reasons come with five toes apiece. The UTSP has been armed with a Mighty Kick and instructed to fire at will. By employing strategies of random, rapid fire movements she has almost shattered my cheekbone and nearly ensured, via a lucky strike to a certain sensitive area on Husband, that she will be an only child.

So now: not only am I rethinking every single aspect of the beginning of my novel, but I’m currently reevaluating Child Number 2. As well as making decisions on cellular blinds, granite countertops, and paint colors. Because, of course, we couldn’t be content with only 30 pounds of upheaval in our lives. We had to go ahead and add some remodeling to the mix just to see how much we can take.

On the very bright side, our new soon-to-be-installed kitchen faucet comes with a built-in soap dispenser. I am Over The Moon about this soap dispenser. It will solve All Life’s Problems and Bring Me Happiness. As my mother-in-law said, “It’s the little things.”

And Z, our UTSP, is a little thing. She is charming, intelligent, and has a great sense of humor. And when she isn’t demonstrating her finer qualities?

Well, I can just run into the kitchen, squirt some soap from our built-in soap dispenser, and life will seem fine just fine.