Greeting faithful readers. A monumental decision was made this week. It’s time for Little Mitch to sleep in his own bed. Yes, that is correct. For the past four years Little Mitch has slept in our bed with us. We have a family bed. I believe the technical term is “co-sleeping”. I call it a matter of necessity to have a sweaty, squirmy, kicky, four year old who tries to wedge himself beneath me all night in our bed.
When people find out that Little Mitch sleeps with us the response is usually one of shock and dismay followed by a “you’re never going to get him out of there, that’s such a bad habit.” First off, let me respond to these people by saying that him sleeping with us was not a matter of convenience or our laziness. It was a last resort for the sake of all of our sanity. From the first day we got Little Mitch home after his first 33 days of life in the hospital, the kid did not sleep. He did not nap, snooze, doze, siesta, power nap or do anything remotely resembling sleep. He just didn’t sleep. I don’t remember his first three weeks at home, it’s all one long hazy tired blur.
After three weeks of little to no sleep, I was hearing voices. Sadly, that’s not an exaggeration, I heard voices behind me. I turned around and said to Mrs. Mitch “Did you hear that?”, the only thing behind me was the wall. Finally one long night when Little Mitch was having one of his night wailing fits, I couldn’t take anymore and brought him into our bed placed him between us and we all had our first solid four hour sleep in over a month. That nap was damn near orgasmically good. Mrs. Mitch and I always said that our children were never going to sleep in our bed. It’s amazing how a few weeks of sleep deprivation and all around sanity desperation will change your mind. At that point in my sorry mental state if someone told me that shoving a firecracker up my ass, smearing dijon mustard on my chest, and singing ABBA tunes while spinning counterclockwise would make my kid sleep, I wouldn’t think twice to do it. Long sleep deprived story short, you name the sleep technique, and I’ll tell you how it failed miserably with Little Mitch. Four years later Little Mitch is still in our bed.
Occasionally some people will ask “So with a kid in your bed, uh…how do you guys…you know…do…’it’?” I usually respond, “well, the usual way. Insert peg A into slot B, vigorously repeat. Best of Barry White CD is optional.” There’s a few ways around this issue. Little Mitch is quite fortunate to have two sets of grandparents who love to take him for a sleepover at a moments notice. Another way is that bathrooms usually have showers and door locks. Another option is to sell Little Mitch on the idea of sleeping in his own room for a few hours by calling it as a “campout” in his room. The trick to making this work is to pitch him on the idea with the same excitement level as you would if you were telling him your taking him to Disneyland. Another option is to involve the couch. Man if that couch could talk, I’m sure the term “dynamo” would come up when referring to my performance. The couches angles work out surprisingly well. For those of you coming to my Superbowl party, don’t worry the couch is scotch-guarded and cleaned regularly.
So why now? Why get him out of our bed now? Is he ready? No, not really. Mrs. Mitch wanted him out of our bed a while ago. I admit it was me who kept him in our bed about a year longer than necessary. I liked having him in bed with me. I got used to that warm little body nestled up to my back trying to wedge itself underneath me. I enjoyed the intimacy of sleeping with my child. I liked talking to him as we held hands as he fell asleep. I loved hearing about his day, his girlfriends at school, and his jokes with punchlines that 98% of the time end up with him taking a shot to the grapes. Yes, my kid calls his testicles “grapes” and no, he didn’t learn it from me, he made that one up by himself.
I was the first one to hold him on this earth before the nurses took him from me to put him in the incubator so we’ve always had a deep unspoken connection that even Mrs. Mitch agrees is there. That forty five minutes lying in bed with Little Mitch waiting for him to fall asleep was a nice quiet way to reconnect with my son at the end of a busy day. I think I needed him in our bed more than he needed to be in our bed.
I can’t really put my finger on why I felt it was time to get him into his own bed. It just felt like the right time to do it. There were a few reasons. One being, now that Little Mitch is getting older and becoming more of his own person, Mrs. Mitch and I are reclaiming our individual identities other than “worn out parents.” I’m getting some of my hobbies back, and fulfilling my need for quiet alone time regularly and Mrs. Mitch is making her own friends outside of our circle of married friends or my friends. A very good friend of mine, Jen, put it best when she said “I need to get to know who Jen is again” when referring to her own search of balancing parenting and being an individual. As always, she gets to the heart of the matter and that’s what I love about her. It got me thinking, she’s right. I need to find who Mitch is again.
Based on this premise, I want our bed back. I want our room back. I want to lie on my bed and watch TV, I want to be able to go into our bedroom and be able to lie down with a book and just read. I want to make a move on my wife in bed without having to plan logistically the location of the physical romance. I need my own space. Sorry Little Mitch, time to hit your big boy bed.
No need to thank me. I’m an idea man. It’s what I do.