Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sleeping Around

I bed hop.

Although it may be a more typical life path to settle down once one has children, for me, bedroom monogamy ended with the birth of my first child.

At the time my son was born, we lived in a place with two bedrooms. However, since my husband and I only needed one bedroom, and no out-of-town guests ever visited us, we had one official "bed" in the place, and a horrifically uncomfortable Ikea sleep sofa in the room our future realtor would identify as the second bedroom. There was no apparent need for a bed in my son's room because everyone knows babies quietly sleep in cribs in nurseries far away from the bedroom of their parents.

Sure, for the first six months of my baby's life, he snoozed within a two-foot radius of our bed. Not so much because I was a follower of "AP" (Attachment Parenting... sigh), but because I was too perpetually exhausted to leave the bed for any reason having to do with my baby or otherwise. I am practical, if nothing else.

However, once he hit the six-month mark, it occurred to my husband and me that at some point this kid was supposed to sleep in the pristine, six-month-old crib with the organic, gender-neutral sheet set that the baby's mommy obsessed for months over buying. So one night, I took my son in my arms and walked to "his room" and sort of plopped him in the crib. He looked so little and was flailing around. And since I had heard all the horror stories about providing a baby with actual bedding to keep him warm, my poor son was sweating it out in footed pajamas in August in Los Angeles. I just couldn't leave him alone like that. The combination of perspiration and loneliness would scar him for life.

Since he didn't seem entirely euphoric in his crib, I thought I would sit on the Ikea couch, still in its sofa-mode, until he fell asleep. Perhaps you can imagine how tiring it might be for an exhausted person to watch another being attempt to sleep. So I grabbed a throw pillow and lay down on the wood floor next to the crib. This way, he wouldn't see me and be distracted, but if he cried I wouldn't have to haul my butt across the entire house. Good call, because my son would wake at 9:18 p.m. every night in an inconsolable state, and seconds counted when soothing him. It just would not do if  I were several hundred feet away and had to be aroused from sleep, orient myself, make my way to the nursery in the dark, and attempted to bend over the crib rail without rupturing an internal organ. So the nightly ritual of camping on hardwood floors continued.

When my second child was born, we moved for a year to a four-story Brownstone in Brooklyn that, despite being more than 4,000 square feet of living space, only seemed to have one large bedroom with a sliding door in between. Since we were only going to be there for a short time and it is an enormous pain in the ass to acquire and move furniture into a quirky four-story Brownstone in Brooklyn, we cleverly devised a bedroom plan that involved various futons, mattresses and a crib left over from the house's owners. FYI: Cheap futons are uncomfortably lumpy. And, to this day, my daughter has never seen the inside of a crib. At least it will give her something to write about for her college essays.

When we moved into our current home, with defined bedrooms with doors and everything, I was so out of practice at staying put in a designated bed that it seemed natural to switch it up every night. What is the point of having a home with multiple bedroom options if I am not going to sample them all? We have never purchased a mattress smaller than a queen size. I can only imagine what my children's playmates report back to their parents after visiting my children. But since my daughter was the world's most dedicated nurser, she needed a bed with plenty of room for boobs attached to a 5'5" person. When my son had nightmares, believe me when I say I was not going to re-live the trauma of sleeping on the hardwood floor again. The adult bedroom has a TV, so those nights when my son falls asleep watching a baseball game, it is easier to leave him in the bed than to lug gangly, 10-year-old dead weight across the house. The beauty of a house full of large, comfortable beds is that one can get an equally good or bad night's sleep in any room in the house. While it may be true that as we make our beds, we are supposed to lie in them; but in our house, no one makes their beds. So we are free to lie in any bed we want.


  1. Do you ever sleep with your feet at the head of the bed and your head at the foot of the bed? Because that can be kind of fun.

  2. Hi, Doug--Hmmm, a little risque (pretend I am inserting an accent ague here), but next time I need to mix it up a bit, I'll give it a try! Hope the bed-hopping with your family is all good! Take care, Karen :)